Restricting Sale of Cold Medicine has actually increased the meth problem in the US.

The tracking system laws that make it inconvenient to buy cold medicine have not slowed down the meth trade one bit. In fact, they’ve created a new “sub-criminal culture,” says an agent with the DEA.

The practice has not only failed to curb the meth trade, which is growing again after a brief decline. It also created a vast and highly lucrative market for profiteers to buy over-the-counter pills and sell them to meth producers at a huge markup.

Since tracking laws were enacted beginning in 2006, the number of meth busts nationwide has started climbing again. Some experts say the black market for cold pills contributed to that spike. Other factors are at play, too, such as meth trafficking by Mexican cartels and new methods for making small amounts of meth.

Radley Balko of Reason says: “Meth use was also up 34 percent in 2009. So the new laws are inconveniencing law-abiding people who want to treat cold and allergy symptoms, have had either zero or a positive effect on meth use, have lured new people into the meth trade, and have created a bigger market for smuggling meth and meth ingredients into the country from Mexico.”

This is a big win for law enforcement and the prison industry. Look for even more restrictive cold medicine laws in the future.

Shockingly, Anti-Meth Laws Have Had Unintended Consequences