Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

Oregon recently became the first state to require prescriptions for medications whose ingredients can be used to produce methamphetamine. While legislative motives were no doubt good, we now know that this law will likely backfire.

The Oregonian just reported that, according to federal data, “Two decades of government effort have failed to curb the availability of meth,” and “the drug’s potency has hit levels not seen in a decade.”

Oklahoma preceded Oregon putting the cold pills used in homemade meth behind the counter. While home lab seizures have plunged there, “the number of Oklahoma users shows no sign of falling, and property crime still keeps the Oklahoma County Jail at capacity.”

These disappointing results stem from The Iron Law of Prohibition. This law states simply that the more intense the law enforcement, the more potent the prohibited substance becomes.

We saw this law in action when America tried to outlaw alchohol in the 1920s. As the Cato Institute found, “Although consumption…fell at the beginning of Prohibition, it subsequently increased. Alcohol became more dangerous to consume; crime increased and became ‘organized’; the court and prison systems were stretched to the breaking point; and corruption of public officials was rampant.” Prohibition was repealed in 1933.

Inconveniencing consumers with head colds won’t do anything to reduce meth use or the crimes associated with its distribution. Meth is dangerous enough without misguided government policies making the problems worse.

Steve Buckstein is senior policy analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland, Oregon based think tank.

© 2005, Cascade Policy Institute. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and Cascade Policy Institute are cited. Contact Cascade at (503) 242-0900 to arrange print or broadcast interviews on this topic. For more topics visit the QuickPoint! archive.

 

Other Publications by Steve

As ObamaCare Turns Four, How’s It Working out for You?

Steve Buckstein | March 26, 2014
The Affordable Care Act turned four years old last Sunday. So how’s it working out for you? If you’re one of the millions who lost, ...  read more

As the Affordable Care Act Turns Four, Cascade’s Predictions Were on the Mark

| March 24, 2014
Sunday, March 23, was the fourth anniversary of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”). Cascade founder and senior policy analyst ...  read more

Income Inequality: A Problem That Isn’t

Steve Buckstein | March 6, 2014
The debate over “income inequality” has simmered for some time, but now seems to be upfront as a key dividing line in American politics. President ...  read more

More On These Topics

Do You Know Taxes Take 30% of Your Year?

Kathryn Hickok | April 16, 2014
If every penny earned since the beginning of the year went to pay federal, state, and local taxes, by April 21 Americans would have worked ...  read more

Elliott State Forest Management Puts Small Birds over Small Kids

John Charles | April 15, 2014
By John A. Charles, Jr. Last year the S&P 500 Index had a total return on investment of 32%. That should have been good news ...  read more

Time to Stop Throwing Money down the WES Sinkhole

John Charles | April 11, 2014
In its proposed fiscal year 2015 budget, TriMet forecasts the purchase of two additional vehicles for the Wilsonville-to-Beaverton commuter rail line known as WES. The ...  read more