Because of my perennial sinus problems, I went to the store yesterday to buy a decongestant. Everybody knows that the standard decongestant is, by brand name, Sudafed, and generically, pseudoephedrine. However, at the store yesterday, they had a new Sudafed PE, or generically Nasal Decongestant PE. One of the side effects of taking decongestants is that it can raise your blood pressure and can make you a little jittery– possibly causing sleep problems. So, I had hoped that this new PE formula– which stands for Phenylephrine HCl– possibly addressed that issue.
But no. Or rather, sort of. When I asked the pharmacist why there was a new formula, it was basically because it’s harder for people to make methamphetamine (“meth”) from it. If you haven’t noticed in some drugstores now, if you want to buy a nasal decongestant, you are either limited to a certain number at a time and/or you have to ask for it from behind the counter because meth addicts have been either buying up or stealing pseudoephedrine products to make meth. I knew that this was possible, but it’s interesting to see that homemade meth has become so popular (check out this Boing Boing post about crystal meth manufacturing being demonstrated at a high school) and it’s become such a problem nowadays that these types of actions have been taken. It’s not exactly news, but meth has seriously become today’s drug of choice.
For more info on meth, take a look at the Wikipedia page on Meth.