Pseudoephedrine, Restriction of Access to

Pseudoephedrine (isoephedrine) is a mild psychomotor stimulant often marketed to treat nasal congestion, colds, and allergies. Though it occurs naturally in several species of the ephedra plant (ma huang), most of the commercially available pseudoephedrine is produced synthetically. Because of their chemical similarities, pseudoephedrine is a popular chemical precursor used in the clandestine manufacture of methamphetamine. When combined with other chemicals (e.g., anhydrous ammonia, red phosphorous, hydriodic acid), pseudoephedrine can be processed into crystallized methamphetamine (i.e., “crystal meth”) through a variety of methods.

The contemporary use of pseudoephedrine in illicit methamphetamine production has led to a series of legal restrictions on pseudoephedrine availability. Some critics argue that U.S. lawmakers have been relatively slow to pass regulations, in part because of the successful lobbying efforts of ...

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