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Pseudoephedrine is a chemical compound that is commonly found in over the counter decongestants. It is used to treat nasal and sinus congestion due to allergies or common cold infection. It is a safe and effective decongestant when used according to the given instructions.
Although the abuse of pseudoephedrine is not very common, the drug can be misused in several ways. The most common way of misusing this medication is by making methamphetamine. "Meth" or methamphetamine is an illegal drug and highly addictive drug. Meth is a commonly used among school children to stay awake during exams. Started as one-time thing, doing meth can become a habit and lead to meth addiction. The user gets a feeling of High, which is followed by increased alertness and energy levels, confidence and well-being.
Until recently, pseudoephedrine was regulated by Food and Drugs Administration as an over the counter substance. However, due to the increase in methamphetamine use, several measures and regulations have been set to check the use of pseudoephedrine. The first major attempt of controlling meth abuse was done in 2005, when the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act was initiated. On March 9, 2006, The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 was signed in to law. This law was passed by Congress to reduce the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine.
According to the Act,
According to the United States Federal Law, buying medications containing pseudoephedrine in quantities greater than three packages in 24-hour duration is prohibited. Most of the States have passed legislation to prevent the misuse of pseudoephedrine. In some States, the medication is classified as a Schedule V controlled substance. In Oregon, the purchaser requires prescription from a registered health professional to purchase pseudoephedrine.
Apart from this, the law also requires that the sellers of pseudoephedrine should self-certify confirming that all the employees have been trained, the records of the training are being maintained and limits on sales are been enforced. The retailer has to keep a track of sale of all the pseudoephedrine products, including non-liquid forms, gels, caps and pediatrics. The electronic or written logbook should contain information, such as purchaser's name and address, purchaser's signature, date as well as time of sale, name of the medication sold and quantity sold. Failing to meet these Federal regulations in regard to the pseudoephedrine sales, the person will be sujected to serious civil and criminal penalties.
Apart from the sales and placement restrictions, CHPA Consumer Healthcare Products Associayion has created an anti-smurfing program in some states. The program targets the potential smurfers- who buy this medication and sell it to amphetamine manufacturers.
The program educates smurfers (people who buy pseudoephedrine to sell it to manufacturers who make illegal meth) about the harmful effects of meth and the results of illegal purchase.
Taking pseudoephedrine for non-medicinal uses can be dangerous. Most people take this medication for weight loss, athletic performance and to gain the high effects of ephedrine. When taken more than recommended dose, pseudoephedrine abuse can lead to severe effects such as irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) or heart palpitations. These symptoms can cause terrible effects, if the user is suffering from an existing heart condition. It can also lead to heart attack or death. When taken as recommended, pseudoephedrine is not addictive. But, pseudoephedrine measures and regulations have been taken by the government to reduce the risk of abuse and addiction. By initiating the pseudoephedrine regulation with Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act in 2005, Congress changed pseudoephedrine's status from OTC drugto a scheduled listed medication.
These measures and strict regulations have reduced the number of illegal pseudoephedrine sales, and thereby helped in reducing the cases of methamphetamine abuse and addiction.
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