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The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

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Cracking down on meth

Our foreign policies with ingredient producers and governments must change.

Many have seen or are learning about the devastating effects of methamphetamine. Production of the drug has increased greatly in rural areas across the United States since the early 1990s. The Combat Meth Act of 2005 is one way our national lawmakers are trying to reduce the amount of meth use. However, the proposal is not addressing the most prominent source of meth: Mexico.

The Combat Meth Act plans to appropriate money to educate law enforcement agencies and prosecutors about investigating and indicting offenders. Also, the bill calls for all cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine to be sold only behind store counters. The purchaser would be required to show a photo ID and record the date of purchase as well as the amount purchased. This inconveniences many sick people with colds, but it is a good way to control the amount of the substance sold to be used in meth labs.

However, 65 percent of all meth consumed in America comes from Mexico, not rural labs. If lawmakers want to lessen the prevalence of methamphetamine consumption, they need to realize that it requires a lot more than educating U.S. law enforcement agencies on cracking down on meth labs and meth-related crimes. The problem has much more to do with the supply of pseudoephedrine abroad.

Pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, key chemicals in meth production, are produced only in China, Germany, India and the Czech Republic. Drug cartels import pseudoephedrine to Mexico, and the finished product of methamphetamine is completed there and smuggled to the United States for distribution.

Therefore, this is an international problem. Changes in U.S. foreign policy likely are the only way the United States truly can “combat” the increasing methamphetamine consumption. Only when we change policy with the countries that produce pseudoephedrine and then export it to Mexico will the problem slow down.

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