Methamphetamine Precursor Prohibition

Description of Strategy

A major strategy to reduce methamphetamine supply, use, and related harms relies on regulation of the chemicals used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. Methamphetamine can be synthesized from a range of chemicals, many of which have legitimate uses and can be obtained from various sources (for example, falsifying import licenses, theft from chemical companies, purchasing large quantities of cold-and-flu tablets from pharmacies). The aim of precursor regulations is to prevent the diversion of chemicals from their legitimate uses into clandestine drug manufacturing (McKetin, Sutherland, Bright & Norberg, 2011). Disrupting the supply of precursors of methamphetamine will make methamphetamine production more difficult, thereby potentially decreasing its use and related harms.

Wyoming state law restricts the retail environment where precursor chemicals are sold, as well as the amount sold (O’Connor et al., 2007).

Discussion of Effectiveness

Prescription & Other Drugs

Evidence suggests that methamphetamine precursor regulation is initially highly successful in reducing methamphetamine strength and supply. However, the effects of policy on drug use are greatest immediately after implementation and diminish thereafter (Dobkin & Nicosia, 2009). An explanation for the lack of effectiveness of methamphetamine precursor regulations reported by McKetin et al. (2011) in a systematic review is the existence of alternative sources of precursor chemicals and/or the availability of imported methamphetamine (McKetin, Sutherland, Bright, & Noberg, 2011).
Dobkin & Nicosia and McKetin et al. evaluated the regulation of methamphetamine precursors and not the complete prohibition of the precursors. WYSAC evaluators were unable to locate studies examining the effectiveness of complete prohibition of methamphetamine precursors.

References

Strategy Description

McKetin, R., Sutherland, R., Bright, D. A., & Norberg, M. M. (2011). A systematic review of methamphetamine precursor regulations. Addiction, 106(11), 1911–1924. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03582.x

O’Connor, J., Chriqui, J., McBride, D., Eidson, S.S. , Baker, C., Terry-McElrath, C., & VanderWaal, C. (2007). From policy to practice: State methamphetamine precursor control policies. The MayaTech Corporation and Andrews University.

Evidence Base

Cunningham, J. K., Liu, L.-M., & Muramoto, M. (2008). Methamphetamine suppression and route of administration: Precursor regulation im-pacts on snorting, smoking, swallowing and injecting. Addiction, 103(7), 1174–1186. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2008.02208.x

Dobkin, C., & Nicosia, N. (2009). The War on Drugs: Methamphetamine, public health, and crime. The American Economic Review, 99(1), 324–349. doi:10.1257/aer.99.1.324

McKetin, R., Sutherland, R., Bright, D. A., & Norberg, M. M. (2011). A systematic review of methamphetamine precursor regulations. Addiction, 106(11), 1911–1924. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03582.x

Futher Reading

O’Connor, J., Chriqui, J., McBride, D., Eidson, S.S. , Baker, C., Terry-McElrath, C., & VanderWaal, C. (2007). From policy to practice: State methamphetamine precursor control policies. The MayaTech Corporation and Andrews University.