January 18, 2011

Unintended-Consequences Watch

"Electronic systems that track sales of the cold medicine used to make methamphetamine have failed to curb the drug trade and instead created a vast, highly lucrative market for profiteers to buy over-the-counter pills and sell them to meth producers at a huge markup," the Associated Press reports.
Meth-related activity is on the rise again nationally, up 34 percent in 2009, the year with the most recent figures. That number includes arrests, seizures of the drug and the discovery of abandoned meth-production sites.

The increase was higher in the three states that have electronically tracked sales of medication containing pseudoephedrine since at least 2008. Meth incidents rose a combined 67 percent in those states — 34 percent in Arkansas, 65 percent in Kentucky and 164 percent in Oklahoma.

Comes now a renewed push by Oklahoma policymakers to ban texting while driving. Sounds like a good idea, to be sure, except that Patrick McGuigan reports that "a study circulated last fall by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that the effect of texting bans is not a reduction in accidents, but a slight increase."

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