I am an allergy sufferer, and for nasal congestion, it has been my experience that nothing works nearly as well as the original sudafed. Unfortunately, it's main ingredient, pseudoephedrine, is also used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, or "meth." For this reason, sudafed is required to be purchased at the pharmacy counter in limited quantities. This change occurred several years ago now, and I am wondering whether the restrictions in effect have accomplished the goal of cutting down on meth manufacturing.
According to Forbes.com, "There’s a price paid in convenience by ordinary cold sufferers in order to help keep crystal meth abuse down. Except, crystal meth abuse is going up. The war on meth, including collateral damage to people with colds, has been stuck at a stalemate. Abuse rates initially dropped by two-thirds after the pseudoephedrine regulations went into effect. But over the last three years abuse is trending back up again toward pre-2006 levels. Meth users now buy drugs imported illegally from Mexico, according to a recent report in The Economist. The post-Sudafed meth is more refined (rising from 50% purity to 80% since 2006) and thus more addictive and dangerous. The temporary drop after 2006 is evidence that it took some time for new suppliers to emerge–not that abuse is down."
This is obviously discouraging, and I'm of the opinion that many will work twice as hard to find ways to break the law than they will to just make an honest living. If my inconvenience is helping at all to deter criminals, then I'm all for it, but I also know that "where there's a will, there's a way."