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How your runny nose could lead to a run in with the law

In 2005, a federal law was passed much to the chagrin of the entire nation because it, to some people, made people who have sinus problems look like criminals. Called the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, the new law banned the sale of over-the-counter cold medicines that contain the ingredient pseudoephedrine.

Individuals who require medication that contains pseudoephedrine now have to purchase these medications at a pharmacy counter. Some of our Colorado readers may know exactly how this process works, perhaps even from personal experience. Prior to purchase, an individual must present a photo ID, usually their driver's license, to a pharmacy worker. The purchase is then recorded in the pharmacy's systems, linked to the customer's name, address and license number and kept on file for at least two years.

As some of you know, pseudoephedrine is a commonly used ingredient in the production of methamphetamines. To make this illegal drug, a person requires copious amounts of pseudoephedrine. That's why the purchases are tracked. If a person purchases too much pseudoephedrine in a short period of time, they may find themselves facing a criminal investigation and even accusations of drug manufacturing.

For people with constant sinus problems who rely on pseudoephedrine products for relief, this can be a terrifying thought. They know they aren't doing anything wrong -- simply purchasing a medication they need. But the looming threat of potential criminal charges after every purchase can be intimidating.

If you're like them, then it's important for you to remember that you do have rights when it comes to the criminal justice system. Just like you have the right to a fair trial, you also have the right to seek legal representation. And with the help of a skilled attorney, you can more effectively show your innocence and may even get charges against you dropped as well.

Source: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, "Legal Requirements for the Sale and Purchase of Drug Products Containing Pseudoephedrine, Ephedrine, and Phenylpropanolamine," Accessed Sept. 19, 2014

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