The Amanda treatment: another drug prohibition horror story

I was in shock when I first read this.

CopBlock reports on the nonsensical arrest of Amanda, who I would assume for privacy reasons has been identified only by her first name. From the article:

Amanda, a mother of 2 who has already been forced to live with her ex due to the housing bubble and the recession is scheduled to be arraigned on April 10th for felony possession of ephedrine with intent to manufacture.

That’s legal speak for they believe she was trying to make meth. Never mind that she has never manufactured meth nor ever intended to. […] [A] box of Sudafed she had allegedly purchased was found at a meth lab the cops raided last month. She was never seen at the meth lab. […]

This gross miscarriage of justice is attributed to a single box of Sudafed found in the meth lab, which authorities traced back as having been purchased by Amanda. […] Ultimately, Amanda’s real crime was that of being a good neighbor. She thought nothing of it when a friend asked for some cold medicine during cold and flu season (and why would she?). She gave him some Sudafed, a decongestant, which can also be used in the manufacture of the drug known as methamphetamine or crystal meth.

For those that aren’t aware, in 2006 a Federal law came into effect requiring stores to log and limit sales of products containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine. This is how the box Amanda gave to her neighbor was traced back to her. Several states enacted similar less stringent laws prior to the Federal law. These laws are, of course, an attempt to hinder the manufacture of methamphetamines, yet another battle in this so-called “war on drugs.”

Do the cops really expect the average person who just wants to help their neighbor say “sorry, I can’t do that, you might be trying to make meth” or something similar? I think the majority of well-meaning people will happily hook up their neighbor with a bottle of cold medicine, especially during the middle of flu season. And any one of them could easily get what I’m going to call “the Amanda treatment.” And that’s wrong, and that shows just how flawed drug prohibition is.