The current cold/flu like malady is vectoring itself through work and home. My voice has gone from baritone to bass, my boss is out, and I can hear the sniffles rolling around in my kids, just in time for vacation. To help the kids sleep easier, we usually give them a decongestant at bedtime, and until recently, that decongestant was children’s Sudafed. It’s worked for us, there are few side effects, and it is an over-the-counter product.
Was. As I discovered during my last purchase, its primary ingredient, pseudoephedrine, is now regulated by the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005:
- A retrievable record of all purchases identifying the name and address of each party to be kept for two years. (Just wait until the 2008 election when “a suspicious frequency of pseudoephedrine purchases” kills a candidacy.)
- Required verification of proof of identity of all purchasers.
- Required protection and disclosure methods in the collection of personal information.
- Reports to the Attorney General of any suspicious payments or disappearances of the regulated products. (Mental note: do not pay in krugerrands.)
- Non-liquid dose form of regulated product may only be sold in unit dose blister packs (Do you know how hard these are to open at 2 a.m. in abject darkness?)
- Regulated products are to be sold behind the counter or in a locked cabinet in such a way as to restrict access. (Insert your own old-person joke about displacing the condoms.)
- Daily sales of regulated products not to exceed 3.6 grams without regard to the number of transactions.
- Monthly sales not to exceed 9 grams of pseudoephedrine base in regulated products. (Is it sad that Americans have learned more about the metric system from the drug stories in the news than they did school?)
So after waiting five minutes for them to scrutinize my driver license, run a credit check, and google me, I was allowed to purchase a box of liquid children’s Sudafed. Only after I get home does my spouse notice the recommended dosage for an eight year-old is almost half of the container. If I have to go back again, I will purchase the maximum twenty-five packages.