Sunday, January 22, 2012

Illinois police now tracks everyone who buys cold medicine

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Cough syrup
Side-effects may include drowsiness, dry mouth and heightened police interest

Falling sick just got that much more uncomfortable, at least for anyone who buys cough syrup or allergy pills in Illinois:

Buying a package of allergy medicine at the corner drugstore will put you in a state police database under a new Illinois law aimed at identifying people who make methamphetamine.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed the measure into law Friday, saying a pilot project in southern Illinois has helped police tracking sales of medicines that can be used to make meth has helped police crack down.

The goal is to watch for large purchases of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are found in some cold, allergy and sinus medicines such as Claritin-D and certain Sudafed products.

Stores already keep the products behind the counter to guard against theft and record who buys them. Now stores will transmit those records electronically to state police. The information sent to authorities will include the customer’s name and address.

The tracking program started as a pilot project in 2009 in several southern Illinois counties. Since then, police have found and seized 155 meth labs and made 231 arrests thanks to the pilot project, Quinn said.

Oh, well, that makes the eradication of people’s expectation of privacy and the relentless expansion of the police state feel like totally small beans by comparison, don’t it? As long as a bunch of ground-level druggies are shut down, to hell with those civil liberties and stuff.

I have to wonder, though, is whether products like Claritin-D, Advil and Sudafed should now start placing “Please note that buying this product places you under police surveillance” warning labels on their products.

(via @radleybalko)