Costs of Drug Prohibition

Cite this Article
Paul H. Rubin, Costs of Drug Prohibition, Truth on the Market (March 31, 2011),

I have been thinking about a story that appeared in the Times a few days ago.  States are considering requiring medical prescriptions for over-the-counter cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine, an ingredient for making methamphetamine.  Mississippi and Oregon already have such laws, and other states are considering them, although they have been voted down in other jurisdictions.  It is already difficult to buy medicines with this ingredient; you have to get it from the pharmacist and must sign for it.  These medicines are no longer available on the shelf.

Many doctors specializing in pain management under-prescribe because of a fear of the DEA. Some have even been criminally prosecuted.  Libertarians have made many arguments about drug legalization, such as the financial costs of prohibition.  Maybe another argument would be to point out how our drug laws are impacting the health and welfare of normal individuals who may suffer from difficulty in obtaining needed medication