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Aderall Or Nothing: Anatomy of the Great Amphetamine Drought 611

Posted by timothy
from the subtractitall-oddly-much-less-popular dept.
pigrabbitbear writes "To prevent hoarding of materials and their potential for theft and illicit use, the Drug Enforcement Agency sets quotas for the chemical precursors to drugs like Adderall. The DEA projects the need for amphetamine salts, then produces and distributes the materials to pharmaceutical companies so that they can produce their drugs. But with the number of prescriptions for Adderall jumping 13 percent in the past year, pharmaceutical companies claim that the quotas are no longer sufficient for supplying Americans with their Adderall. The DEA contends that their quotas do, in fact, meet demands, and that any shortages arise from pharmaceutical companies selectively producing only certain, typically name-brand and more expensive versions of ADHD medications."
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Aderall Or Nothing: Anatomy of the Great Amphetamine Drought

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  • by ravenshrike (808508) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:19PM (#39063131)

    Is there no enterprise you can't utterly fuck up?

    • by oh_my_080980980 (773867) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:31PM (#39063299)
      'Cuz it's not like the shortages "arise from pharmaceutical companies selectively producing only certain, typically name-brand and more expensive versions of ADHD medications."

      No, that would never happen...*eye roll*
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:40PM (#39063487)

        Yes, but that is only due to the artificial shortage. If rates of the precursor were not limited, then lower priced generic drugs would be produced destroying the advantage of overproducing the expensive medication. It is the artificial scarcity that allows for this strategy to be profitable.

        • by networkBoy (774728) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @03:16PM (#39064087) Homepage Journal

          There's no shortage...
          Just come to NorCal, where we have enough methylated Amphetamine Salts for everyone who wants some. :(
          -nB

        • You'd think, but... (Score:5, Informative)

          by doug141 (863552) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @04:12PM (#39064929)
          The current methotrexate (chemo drug for children) shortage is due to suppliers opting to make more expensive drugs on their manufacturing equipment. For some reason, the free market isn't working to keep supplying methotrexate, or numerous other generics. Just google "drug shortage" for over 100 examples.
          • by ravenshrike (808508) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @04:49PM (#39065461)

            Wrong, they opt to make the most money with a supply ordained by the government, and not any sort of actual physical restrictions. If the government didn't artificially limit the supply, the companies would opt to make more money by filling both the more and less profitable markets, because both are still profitable.

            • by doug141 (863552) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @05:13PM (#39065861)
              When you talk of gov't supply, it sounds like you are still talking about the adderall case. You have not explained the free market failing on methotrexate, which does not have the gov't precursor problem you speak of.
            • by nbauman (624611) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @05:15PM (#39065899) Homepage Journal

              The supply of methotrexate isn't exactly limited by the government.

              As I recall, there were 2 companies with the capacity to make methotrexate in the U.S., but they both had problems meeting the good manufacturing standards for pharmaceutical drugs. Injected methotrexate can be fatal if it's not manufactured properly. Yes, they weren't meeting federal standards, but no pharmaceutical manufacturer in his right mind would manufacture these drugs without meeting the same standard.

              I know a bit about the chemical processing industry, and according to the textbooks, when you have 2 manufacturers producing an unreliable supply of a specialty chemical with inelastic demand, and shortages develop, a third company is supposed to move in to the market and produce that chemical at a price which is slightly higher than the old, unsustainable price but less than the monopoly price of a patented chemical.

              Not only are there U.S. manufacturers capable of manufacturing methotrexate, but there are also capable foreign manufacturers in Europe, India, China, Israel, etc. who are regularly FDA-inspected and approved for other drugs, and even do contract manufacturing for major brands here.

              I don't understand why the free market isn't working, and why additional manufacturers aren't jumping into the market for drugs like methotrexate.

            • by vux984 (928602)

              Wrong, they opt to make the most money with a supply ordained by the government

              You do realize the demand for such prescription drugs is fairly inelastic to both price and supply controls. People don't use twice as much if the price is halved... at least they shouldn't.

              There is some price sensitivity to prescription drugs, and at some price levels some people just can't afford it and go without... which is why I say its fairly inelastic as opposed to completely inelastic.

              At the end of the day, the more profi

          • by Rich0 (548339) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @05:08PM (#39065793) Homepage

            If the supply of precursors weren't limited, then other companies could step in and manufacture the generic drugs, and thus the companies that are limiting these drugs would end up sabotaging their own sales.

            However, since supplies are very limited and there are high barriers to entry due to DEA rules, there isn't much competition and companies can lock up the entire supply of precursors.

          • by ravenscar (1662985) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @06:44PM (#39067121)

            Of course, we all know that there is no free market for drugs in this country. If you think there is, just rent some floor space and machinery, hire some chemists, and get to work manufacturing the drug. Oh wait, there's now months (if not years) of forms, inspections, permits, etc. you need before you can get started. I won't pretend that I disagree with these. I'm simply stating that the market isn't free to move as it otherwise would.

            Similarly, the pharma patents (and patents in general) are another restriction on a truly free market. Do you think it likely that existing giants like Eli Lilly or Phizer are likely to re-tool to create a cheap generic drug while a free, government-enforced monopoly (and its associated high profit margins) is available on other drugs they produce? Of course not. Again, it seems that temporary monopolies are necessary in this space simply to encourage massive R&D spend by these companies. Still, artificial monopolies don't exist in a free market.

            But what about the companies that already thrive providing cheap, generic pharma products. Why aren't they filling the gap? The answer seems simple (I'm just reasoning below - no citations available as I don't sit on the boards of these companies).
            1. Companies already producing the drug haven't ramped up production because they know that a) there is a high barrier to entry to new drug production and b)contraction in supply is likely to increase price, thus increasing their margin - at least in the short term.

            2. Existing companies won't re-tool to produce the drug right now because the cost of re-tooling and crossing the approval hurdles for production is too high to justify the effort. They can make more money selling the same generic drugs they do today. Of course, these companies will respond when the price of the drug in question rises to the level where it makes sense for these companies to go through the effort to re-tool and seek approval.
            Bottom line here is that there is a significant barrier to entry that keeps free market forces at bay.

            So, the reason free market forces aren't at work here is because the free market doesn't exist in this space. That's good for a lot of reasons (I, for one, appreciate that I can assume my pharma products are safe), but bad for the reason you see above.

      • by Freddybear (1805256) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:47PM (#39063603)

        And why shouldn't they produce certain more expensive versions of ADHD medications? Oh, right, because it throws off that finely-tuned plan from the commissar of methamphetamine.

      • by MSTCrow5429 (642744) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:59PM (#39063847)
        If the government was not interfering with the market, pharma companies would have no incentive and indeed be unable to produce more of the expensive versions and less of the less expensive versions in relation to demand; competition would force a larger supply of the less expensive versions relative to the expensive versions. If supply is constrained in relation to demand, prices will always go up. We've seen this most recently with hard drives and the Thailand floods; that was an act of god. The Adderall shortage is an act of government, and can be easily remedied.
    • by doconnor (134648) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:34PM (#39063371) Homepage

      Most industries are centrally planned, except the planning is done by two or three large oligarchical companies.

    • by sjames (1099) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:38PM (#39063433) Homepage

      The problem here is that the planning doesn't have meeting demand with supply in mind. The planning is 100% for the failing war on some drugs because they want to make sure stimulant abusers get their fix from the dirtiest and most dangerous sources possible.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @03:21PM (#39064147) Homepage Journal

      Why do I think the pharmaceutical companies' complaints about not getting enough amphetamine ingredients to allow them to make "enough Adderall" doesn't really have anything to do with Adderall at all?

      And how much fucking Adderall do we really need? All of a sudden, the US can't function without sufficient supplies of Adderall. That all those second graders who don't give a fuck about school will be fine if their parents just fork over the $1200 bucks a year for their bottles of meth.

      So if some hillbillies want to make speed, the chemicals are bad, m'kay? But when Big Pharma wants to make sure that every other second grader is lit up with enough methamphetamine to give a horse a heart attack, that's good. Because they are the "job creators". And all those yuppie parents who spend less than an hour a day with their kids believe that they're being great parents because they're making sure to fill those prescriptions so they don't have to actually be parents. Well, to be more truthful, they can't really afford to be parents because mom and dad are both working 60 hour weeks in order to have a lower middle-class lifestyle that would have only taken one parent working 40 hours just 35 years ago. Isn't a better treatment for ADHD just having actual parents who are home and not so exhausted that they are unable to be effective parents? Why is ADHD so much more prevalent in "free market" societies where health care costs are artificially inflated by the "free market" than in more "socialist" countries like Canada, Sweden, Iceland?

      And this asshole thinks that the problem is "central planning" and not a pharmaceutical industry that gets rich by selling meth to second graders. Wonderful.

      Can someone tell me why every other second grader has "ADHD" all of a sudden anyway? Was there some catastrophic event at the turn of the millennium that caused some gene mutation that has expressed itself in a psychiatric disease that is now the most widespread pediatric disorder in the nation, affecting more children than the next three childhood illnesses combined? Or is "ADHD" a marketing opportunity?

      Here are the signs and "symptoms" of ADHD (from Wikipedia). Check this shit out:

      Predominantly inattentive type symptoms may include:[29]

      Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
      Have difficulty maintaining focus on one task
      Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless doing something enjoyable
      Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new or trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
      Not seem to listen when spoken to
      Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
      Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
      Struggle to follow instructions.

      Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type symptoms may include:[29]

      Fidget and squirm in their seats
      Talk nonstop
      Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
      Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time
      Be constantly in motion
      Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.

      and also these manifestations primarily of impulsivity:[29]

      Be very impatient
      Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
      Have diffic

      • by HexaByte (817350) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @04:01PM (#39064781)

        The ADHD 'explosion" is a function of govt.

        Kids with ADHD can get a Social Security check. Also, Schools may not have to perform up to standards if they have too many kids with ADHD, so they push parents into getting their kids diagnosed with ADHD, which too many doctors are happy to do, since the govt. will pay for their treatment.

        So, in effect, it a central planning thing that caused the problem that the other central planning thing is causing a problem for.

        Why do I think the pharmaceutical companies' complaints about not getting enough amphetamine ingredients to allow them to make "enough Adderall" doesn't really have anything to do with Adderall at all?

        And how much fucking Adderall do we really need? All of a sudden, the US can't function without sufficient supplies of Adderall. That all those second graders who don't give a fuck about school will be fine if their parents just fork over the $1200 bucks a year for their bottles of meth.

        So if some hillbillies want to make speed, the chemicals are bad, m'kay? But when Big Pharma wants to make sure that every other second grader is lit up with enough methamphetamine to give a horse a heart attack, that's good. Because they are the "job creators". And all those yuppie parents who spend less than an hour a day with their kids believe that they're being great parents because they're making sure to fill those prescriptions so they don't have to actually be parents. Well, to be more truthful, they can't really afford to be parents because mom and dad are both working 60 hour weeks in order to have a lower middle-class lifestyle that would have only taken one parent working 40 hours just 35 years ago. Isn't a better treatment for ADHD just having actual parents who are home and not so exhausted that they are unable to be effective parents? Why is ADHD so much more prevalent in "free market" societies where health care costs are artificially inflated by the "free market" than in more "socialist" countries like Canada, Sweden, Iceland?

        And this asshole thinks that the problem is "central planning" and not a pharmaceutical industry that gets rich by selling meth to second graders. Wonderful.

        Can someone tell me why every other second grader has "ADHD" all of a sudden anyway? Was there some catastrophic event at the turn of the millennium that caused some gene mutation that has expressed itself in a psychiatric disease that is now the most widespread pediatric disorder in the nation, affecting more children than the next three childhood illnesses combined? Or is "ADHD" a marketing opportunity?

        Here are the signs and "symptoms" of ADHD (from Wikipedia). Check this shit out:

        Predominantly inattentive type symptoms may include:[29]

        Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another Have difficulty maintaining focus on one task Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless doing something enjoyable Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new or trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities Not seem to listen when spoken to Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others Struggle to follow instructions.

        Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type symptoms may include:[29]

        Fidget and squirm in their seats Talk nonstop Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time Be constantly in motion Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.

        and also these manifestations primarily of impulsivity:[29]

      • by LanMan04 (790429) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @04:09PM (#39064887)

        You are aware that some people who are medicated for ADHD (raises hand) are not kids?

        I wasn't diagnosed until I was in college (I entered a drug trial for people who thought they might have ADHD, and after 10 hours of structured interviews and computer tests, I was diagnosed) and I took Adderall for years. Now I'm on Strattera. Both drugs made/make a huge difference in both my work and home life. I don't know if I could have gotten my MS in CompSci without em.

        Agreed, lots of kids are "just kids", but ADHD is not a made-up disease, just an over-diagnosed one.

      • by clong83 (1468431) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @09:48PM (#39069315)
        Not every person on Aderall is a 2nd grader. I am an adult with ADHD, and I wasn't diagnosed until my second year toward getting a Ph.D. Aderall is a powerful drug, and I hope someday there will be a treatment that doesn't require me to take amphetamines. I always think about 100 years ago when cough syrup had opium in it. I'm sure it's a hell of a cough suppresant, but damn if it isn't overkill. Maybe with more research there will someday be something better for us ADDers.

        I don't disagree that ADHD is probably over-diagnosed. The symptoms can easily mistaken for laziness or general immaturity, and with kids it can be particularly difficult to get it right. There is a stunning lack of counseling ADHD children on how to deal with their symptoms. I wish someone had talked to me candidly about why I didn't fit in, why I literally couldn't sit still, always got in trouble, etc. Might not have helped my behavior much but it may have saved me some years of anguish wondering why I couldn't get it together. I got bad grades in Middle School, but I was smart, and grasped the material just fine. I just didn't do any homework. I know. All kids hate homework and blow it off now and then. Not me. I just didn't do it. Period. Couldn't, and I didn't understand how anybody else did. It was not normal. The only reason I passed most classes was that I would cheat in middle school. We'd often "exchange papers" to grade each other in 6-7th grade or so. I would keep my own, had a red pen filled with black ink, and just filedl in the answers when they were called out. I did this in one class or another almost every day. That's right. I cheated my way through 6th grade. Like I said, not normal.

        I do sympathize with your perspective. In most cases, I think medication should wait until kids are a little older and their grades actually matter. Make sure kids who have strong symptoms early on know what is happenning and why, and let the teachers know too. Then, maybe in high school start medication if it is necessary. The logistics alone are awful for dosing a kid properly with a highly psychoactive chemical. A kid's metabolism changes monthly, and their mass may double in three years. And I think it's important to let a kid explore their own native psyche, regardless of whether it is a "normal" psyche.

        To work as a professional, I rely on Aderall. Some might call me a junkie, based on my steep performance drop-off when I go unmedicated. I assure you, this isn't withdrawal and addiction. I don't even want to take the pills. I won't take them on weekends, vacations, or holidays, and I don't suffer any physical ill-effects for it. What happens when I don't is a return of my normal everyday symptoms. The shortages in supply, whatever the cause, are very real, and it is REALLY frustrating to call about 5-6 pharmacies to see if they can fill my prescription every month. Sometimes I just have to wait, and I quite frankly have better htings to do than call pharmacies all afternoon and drive halfway across the county to get my prescription only mostly filled, because they were down to their last 40 pills at the pharmacy

        Hope I don't come off as obtuse or anything. I encounter a lot of people that think ADHD is a made-up disorder and there's no legitimate reason to take medication. I don't think you fall into this category, but I am sure there are some reading who do. Just trying to spread the word.
    • It's not just a central planning problem, like having the Agriculture Department subsidizing ethanol production or the CDC guessing wrong about what kind of flu vaccine we need some years. It's mostly a political correctness problem, with the DEA trying to interfere with people using a popular type of drug (as a followon to their War on Cold Medicine that makes us have to use fake sudafed instead of the real stuff.)

      What? You're one of those Republicans who thinks "Political Correctness" is a only _Libera

  • You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:20PM (#39063143) Homepage Journal
    ...getting rid of the DEA seems like it would save the US a great deal of money, effort, red tape....and just plain PITA times.

    Perhaps we should have this dept dissolved.

    At the very least, can we start a movement to find constitutional justification for such a Federal Agency?

    • Re:You know... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Verdatum (1257828) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:35PM (#39063381)
      The DEA does do a lot of important things. As a pharmacy tech, we often worked with the DEA to put a stop to both customers passing phoney prescriptions, and doctors giving massive prescriptions for controlled substances to anyone. However, forcing low stock doesn't help any of this. CII substances are kept under active inventory. Every supplier and every pharmacy must know--to the exact pill--how much stock they have. All CII prescriptions are double counted. If some stupid pharmacy tech starts swiping pills, it gets noticed, quickly. The only benefit for keeping stock low is financial. Since comparatively, generic adderall isn't even very expensive, I can see no reason why it, among so many other things should be the scape goat for this.
      • Re:You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheCarp (96830) <sjc&carpanet,net> on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:56PM (#39063787) Homepage

        Well if it wasn't for the DEA, those customers wouldn't need to pass phoney prescriptions, nor would doctors give out massive ones. In a climate where drug use can be above board and people can be honest, its not clear that any of the real problems with meth, or any other drugs, are actually major issues....and even less evidence that prohibition and regulation to stop drug use does anything positive.

        Generally the DEA has created a climate where violent gangs thrive, legitimate patients are often under medicated for pain (do you have any idea how many people will spend the rest of their lives in daily chronic pain for no other reason than their doctor can't give them heroin? or high enough levels of other pain meds?) and desperate people are preyed upon.

        The alternative? Some doctors give some drugs to addicts? Oh my god what a horror! Above board drug use? Where it can be monitored and people can seek out help without stigma? Oh no! How terrible!

        • and people can be honest,

          Full stop. That's the issue. People are not honest. Sure, I am and you are, but your neighbor Bob isn't. Or his neighbor Sally.

          If people were honest, we wouldn't have half the laws we do. But people, being animals, aren't honest. If there is some way to game the system or make their life better by cheating someone else, humans will find a way. Not everyone, but enough to make the rest of us have to deal with their failure to be honest.

          Don't you listen to House?
          • Re:You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @03:22PM (#39064189)
            The only dishonesty that has ever been involved with drug prohibition laws has been on the part of lobbyists, politicians, and the police. Drugs are not made illegal to protect people from drug users, despite the early drug prohibition claims about black cocaine users becoming unstoppable monsters that could survive a bullet to through the heart. Drug prohibition is about increasing police power, increasing corporate profits, and attacking civil liberties.
            • by gstoddart (321705)

              Drug prohibition is about increasing police power, increasing corporate profits, and attacking civil liberties.

              And, as often as lot, it's one group of people trying to make sure the rest of the world is legally bound by their morality.

              Anytime someone passes a law about what someone else can't do -- you have to ask, are they doing it to protect people from harm, or are they doing it to impose their own morality? If anybody ever says something should be illegal because God says you shouldn't, they're trying

      • Re:You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:59PM (#39063833)

        The DEA does do a lot of important things

        I know, right..

        1. Running one of the world's largest signals intelligence operations
        2. Sending paramilitary squads into civilian homes to seize property and imprison or kill people
        3. Using important military resources like NORAD for civilian law enforcement purposes
        4. Outlawing substances without any democratic process, then arresting people for possession of those substances
        5. Helping South American dictators kill people and spy on political opponents

        Yes, this is one agency that America really needs to keep around.

      • Re:You know... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by LateArthurDent (1403947) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:59PM (#39063835)

        The DEA does do a lot of important things. As a pharmacy tech, we often worked with the DEA to put a stop to both customers passing phoney prescriptions, and doctors giving massive prescriptions for controlled substances to anyone.

        Whether that's an important thing is debatable. Some of us don't like the concept of "controlled substances" and believe that anyone who wants to take anything should have the right to take it. Yes, it might screw up their life, and even kill them. Personal responsibility is about being able to do something wrong and choosing not to do it. Alternatively, paying the consequence if you're too stupid to think ahead.

    • Re:You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:37PM (#39063413)

      I couldn't agree with you more, the DEA is nothing more than red tape.

      As a person who takes Adderall (20mg x 2 daily) daily, this shortage has made my life a living hell. Before refilling my prescription, I have to call around to all of the local drug stores to see who has Adderall in stock and if not, when it will be in. The negative part here is the doctor can't give me my monthly prescription until a few days before I am required a refill. So once I get my prescription, all I can do is hope that I can find a place that can get it filled before I run out.

      Adderall is classified in the same drug schedule as Cocaine, Opium, Morphine, Oxycodone and Methadone. I've seen tons of crap online about people becoming addicted to Adderall which honestly I believe is all bullshit. I can take my Adderall during the week and stop over the weekend without craving it. The only negative effect of doing this is I end up playing xbox all weekend and nothing gets done around the house.

  • by assertation (1255714) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:21PM (#39063163)

    Anyone notice that the shortage of adderall and the rise of the TEA party happened about the same time?

    Coincidence? I think not ....

  • Pain (Score:5, Informative)

    by Verdatum (1257828) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:27PM (#39063235)
    This has been a huge pain for me personally. I've been on adderall for over a decade and have only had problems finding in stock in the last 8 months or so. Most recently, I had to get my doctor to write an additional prescription for a higher dose and split the pills in half since this was the only strength anyone in my area had in stock. So in trying to keep supplies low, I've now got permission from my doctor to get twice as much amphetamine as before. Where is the sense in this? Having to pick the prescription up in person, since it's a CII substance added extra pain.

    FWIW, I was a pharmacy tech while working through HS and college, and the entire time, we never had such bad problems with backorders on any product (with the possible exception of when albuterol inhalers were required to switch to CFA free, another massive screwup).

  • by cs668 (89484) <cservin@cromagnon.com> on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:27PM (#39063237)

    so that we can track their killing sprees, but not let enough medication be produced for law abiding citizens. Smart move.

    • by i.r.id10t (595143) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:42PM (#39063519)

      The DEA had nothing to do with Fast-n-Furious - that was the BATFE (which should be a convienence store not a government agency)

  • by Mysticalfruit (533341) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:28PM (#39063253) Journal
    I doubt the DEA has a lab somewhere that's creating this material... or maybe they do...

    When did the DEA get into the chemical production business?
  • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:28PM (#39063261)
    The DEA imposes an artificial scarcity on a chemical, and the drug companies crank that though their models to maximize profit. What's the surprise here? That the DEA doesn't have any non-partisan economists on staff?

    Yes, the total amount of the raw material might be enough for the demand, but people have been making fortunes profiting from local shortages since, like, forever.
    • by fermion (181285)
      A big difference between a controlled market and a free market is that they free market depends on the availability of huge surpluses. In a controlled market on can say we need five units per person, there are 5 million people, so we need to make 25 million units, plus or minus for damage and the like.

      In a free, market, however there cannot be that level of control. There may be several of firms producing similar, fungible, product. Each might be trying for 50% market share. That might mean that the a

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:29PM (#39063279) Homepage

    It looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

  • Legalize and Tax (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:30PM (#39063297)

    Legalize and Tax. No more war on drugs.

    I'm 48, and I don't use any recreational drugs (including alcohol). But I've long held that legalizing and simply taxing all drugs would eliminate far more problems than drugs currently cause.

    Drug dealers? No need. Buy what you want at the local pharmacy. Made by real labs, with quality control standards. Warning label on the bottle: "This drug may kill you. Use at your own risk." No illegal pipeline if what you can buy at CVS is cheaper and better quality than from the guy on the street. How much of organized crime is based on the drug trade? From import to manufacturing to distribution to people stealing crap to feed their habit?

    Dirty Needles? Nope. Buy those when you are picking up your consumer grade heroin. There go HIV and HEP-C transmission rates.

    Drug addicts? Use the previously mentioned tax money on education and rehab programs. Even a hefty tax on the drugs would still leave them at a lower cost than street drugs.

    Never happen. There are too many vested interests in keeping the "war on drugs" alive.

    • by icebraining (1313345) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:53PM (#39063745) Homepage

      Drug addicts? Use the previously mentioned tax money on education and rehab programs. Even a hefty tax on the drugs would still leave them at a lower cost than street drugs.

      Even without taxes, the money now spent on the War and keeping users and small time dealers in prisions would probably more than pay for those programs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kozz (7764)

      I've heard these arguments before, but ultimately not all drugs can be treated the same. Do you think your "legalize and tax" method would fix the problems that originate with meth? By all accounts, this is a drug which, once you've tried it, you're on a one-way road, downhill, no brakes.

    • Re:Legalize and Tax (Score:4, Informative)

      by nbritton (823086) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @04:10PM (#39064895)

      IMHO the drug rehab system is a joke in this country. I once knew a teenager who was addicted to heroin, he wanted to stop so he went to his parents for help. They took him to two different hospitals and both refused to help him, stating that "we don't treat that here". Next they went the local methadone clinic and even they refused to help him, stating that they only treat people who have been addicted for more than three years. Finally they determined the only way to get the necessary help was to have judge order the hospital to admit him through involuntary commitment proceedings. Even then, the hospital kicked him out after a couple of days. They did arranged treatment at a rehab center, but apparently this was the only approved center in the state so the waiting list was over a month to get in. In the mean time he had a prior felony (with deferred judgement / probation) drug charge and was now thrust back onto the streets with the same group of people while still having intense cravings. They wanted him to go live with his grandmother, but of course since he was on probation he couldn't leave the area. The consequence if he was arrested again would be guaranteed prison time and a felony permanently on his record. I think what they did was bordering on criminal, he just wanted help.

  • by swb (14022) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:33PM (#39063351)

    How much suffering is the DEA willing to inflict for the, pardon the metaphor, pipe dream of a drug-free America?

    You can't swing a dead cat without hearing about under-medicating pain and how that one of the primary drivers of that is physician fear of a DEA investigation or worse, losing their license to prescribe.

    Now it's this -- and while I'm sure there's some pharma holdback for brand-name drugs, that wouldn't matter if the DEA wasn't so restrictive of the chemistry.

    So now we have another group of people at minimum inconvenienced at at maximum with negative health consequences because of the relentless pursuit of an unobtainable moral goal.

    Thanks, DEA.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:44PM (#39063553) Journal
      The cool thing about having a moral goal is that the harder you push it, the more moral you become... If anything, you even get to blame your opponents for the suffering that you inflict(after all, if it weren't for ruthless narcolumbians and potheads, granny could have her pain pills, never you mind that I'm the one who took them away...)

      If the DEA were pursuing a pragmatic objective(or a pragmatic objective that isn't pragmatic exclusively because it's an excellent makework project for cops) they'd have hit the cost/benefit rocks bloody ages ago. Luckily for them, they aren't.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @02:34PM (#39063367) Journal
    We need to legalize ALL currently illegal recreational drugs in the USA, but put them under tight regs. In addition, we need to allow ZERO IMPORTS OR EXPORTS on these. Likewise, require that all of the precursors be manufactured here as well. Why? Because it destroys gangs and drug lords the world over. Once this is done, then illegal activities will stop. As to the drug use, it will remain. However, it will not be pushed.
    • We already "allow ZERO IMPORTS OR EXPORTS" on illegal drugs, because, you know, they're illegal. Meanwhile, most precursors are organic (poppies, coca, marijuana) that don't necessarily grow very well in U.S. latitudes. I agree with your premise, just not with your bullet points.
  • ADHD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @03:14PM (#39064073)
    The only reason this is a so-called disease is because Big Pharma makes tons of money on trying to medicate the children of America. What if this was not a "disability" but actually just the next step in evolution of human beings? What if there is actually nothing wrong at all? I believe ADHD isn't a malady.

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