Forcing people to go to the doctor to get a prescription in order to get their cold medicine did not reduce methamphetamine use in Oregon, says a new report from the Cascade Policy Institute (“Making Cold Medicine Rx Only Did Not Reduce Meth Use,” February 2012). Oregon lawmakers made the change in 2006 in order to make it harder to obtain the pseudoephedrine that’s used in methamphetamine manufacturing. But, note authors Christopher Stomberg and Arun Sharma, meth manufacturing was declining even before the law became effective—a trend also apparent in other states that do not require cold medicine to be prescription only:
Meanwhile, Oregon has experienced a 26.1 percent decline in the methamphetamine treatment episodes since 2006, but the rest of the country has experienced a 25.6 percent decline over the same period. Mississippi is the only state in the country that has followed Oregon in adopting an Rx-only policy for cold medicines.