Methamphetamine Producers and Users' Reactions to Pseudoephedrine Legislation in the Rural South

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In 2005, Arkansas and Kentucky implemented laws restricting sales of pseudoephedrine medications that are used to produce methamphetamine [MA]. This paper uses baseline and follow-up qualitative interviews with MA producers and users in rural Arkansas and Kentucky to explore local reactions by drug users to these laws during the first year of their implementation. Participants suggested declines in the availability of pseudoephedrine and in MA production. However, limited amounts of pseudoephedrine could still be obtained, which permits some continued MA production. Participants also noted increased availability of imported MA. None of the participants with experience cooking MA were active in producing the drug at follow-up. Most participants reported halting or reducing MA use by follow-up. Decreased MA production and use among participants were not linked directly to the new pseudoephedrine laws. Rather, decreases were attributed to the cumulative effectiveness of law enforcement efforts in conjunction with the new laws along with individual personal, legal, health, and family problems associated with MA abuse. Our preliminary findings are useful for identifying potential trends in local MA economies in relation to legislation and can be used to develop more focused research questions to evaluate the short-term and long-term impacts of pseudoephedrine legislation on local MA economies.



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