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Author: Subject: We should start a petition to remove iodine as a List I drug precursor in the US
JJay
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[*] posted on 19-10-2017 at 19:24


Where is this research? Iodine regulation has nothing to do with police staffing issues; why would police unions be consulted?



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[*] posted on 19-10-2017 at 19:44


Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
Where is this research? Iodine regulation has nothing to do with police staffing issues; why would police unions be consulted?

Police unions also lobby governments for laws to be passed that do things like make cops' jobs safer; their role is a lot broader than just staffing issues. They're also the line of communication between police officers and legislators. I got a lot of this information by questioning police officers that had busted meth labs before, so I don't exactly have anything I can show you. It was mainly two officers, one on Reddit, and another that came when my landlord saw my homemade reflux still and assumed it had something to do with methamphetamine, for some reason, and called the police. The cop was actually pretty nice, and told me he'd busted enough meth labs to know what they looked like, so I used the opportunity to ask him some questions.

I'm not sure why I've had the police called on me so many times for doing legal things. I guess because most people think that if someone is doing something strange that they don't understand, it must be illegal. It seems really strange to think that way, to me, but I've had to concede that this is how most people think, and change my actions accordingly.




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[*] posted on 19-10-2017 at 19:57


*shrug* You probably give off some kind of vibe that makes people think you look like a criminal unless you are actively trying to look innocent.

Oh and there is some indication that the pharmaceutical companies may have had some influence over the DEA's decisions to permit OTC pseudoephedrine sales for so long. Even now it's available without a prescription. Seeing how they actually have a vested interest in legal pseudoephedrine (as opposed to the police unions, which do not), that might be a more fruitful line of research.







[Edited on 20-10-2017 by JJay]




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[*] posted on 19-10-2017 at 20:48


Surprisingly I can't find any OTC pseudoephedrine, they've all been replaced with either phenylephedrine or dextromethorphan (DXM).

Why haven't drug companies switched to the two substances listed above? Is pseudoephedrine that stronger? Or is it just easier for drug companies to produce?




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[*] posted on 19-10-2017 at 20:58


Quote: Originally posted by ninhydric1  
Surprisingly I can't find any OTC pseudoephedrine, they've all been replaced with either phenylephedrine or dextromethorphan (DXM).

Why haven't drug companies switched to the two substances listed above? Is pseudoephedrine that stronger? Or is it just easier for drug companies to produce?


Sure you don't mean phenylephrine and diphenhydramine?

I'm no doctor, but I don't think DXM does anything for allergies.

It's just for making that purple drank (and I think it makes a decent cough medicine too, but that might just be a rumor.)

[Edited on 20-10-2017 by SWIM]
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[*] posted on 19-10-2017 at 21:01


DXM is used in numerous OTC cough syrups where I live (West Coast).



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[*] posted on 19-10-2017 at 21:45


Quote: Originally posted by ninhydric1  
Surprisingly I can't find any OTC pseudoephedrine, they've all been replaced with either phenylephedrine or dextromethorphan (DXM).

Why haven't drug companies switched to the two substances listed above? Is pseudoephedrine that stronger? Or is it just easier for drug companies to produce?

Phenylephrine is actually no more effective than a placebo, and DXM is for coughing rather than congestion.

I remember reading once that there are isomers of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine that are useful as nasal decongestants, and would be useless for making methamphetamine since they'd reduce to levo-meth. I can't seem to find this information anywhere though. Supposedly, the reason the current preparations are preferred is because they occur naturally in ephedra, and thus don't have to overcome many regulatory hurdles to get approval as a medication.

Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
*shrug* You probably give off some kind of vibe that makes people think you look like a criminal unless you are actively trying to look innocent.

But actively trying to look innocent is what criminals do! I just can't win, can I? (Actually, I think this has only happened three times in my life, and only once in the last decade.)

I'm nowhere near as bad as a friend of mine though. He wanted to give me some magnesium supplement that he was taking, and so we go out to his car. Come to find, he'd repurposed its container for something else, so he gives me this white powder in a plastic bag that he kind of tries to conceal with paper, as people are walking by on the sidewalk. This guy has made the paper numerous times in multiple states when police have shut down entire blocks to investigate various incarnations of his labs, only to find nothing illegal and let him go.

[Edited on 10/20/17 by Melgar]




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[*] posted on 20-10-2017 at 12:37


Quote: Originally posted by ninhydric1  
Surprisingly I can't find any OTC pseudoephedrine, they've all been replaced with either phenylephedrine or dextromethorphan (DXM).


I was surprised the other way around!
Just a few weeks ago on the shelf of my local pharmacy I found myself quite shocked as I was reading "30 mg pseudoephedrine hydrochloride" on the box (mixed with ASA).



Thought it was consequently banned or something among those lines.
I don't know how to separate them; I don't want to know - and I hope it isn't possible (though I doubt that).

But man, I get the feeling that those idiot meth-cooks still can do their shit so easily. Makes me sad.

I'll stop there. Getting a bit off-topic I guess.




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[*] posted on 20-10-2017 at 14:13


Quote: Originally posted by Diachrynic  
Quote: Originally posted by ninhydric1  
Surprisingly I can't find any OTC pseudoephedrine, they've all been replaced with either phenylephedrine or dextromethorphan (DXM).


I was surprised the other way around!
Just a few weeks ago on the shelf of my local pharmacy I found myself quite shocked as I was reading "30 mg pseudoephedrine hydrochloride" on the box (mixed with ASA).



Thought it was consequently banned or something among those lines.
I don't know how to separate them; I don't want to know - and I hope it isn't possible (though I doubt that).

But man, I get the feeling that those idiot meth-cooks still can do their shit so easily. Makes me sad.

....


" Pseudoephedrine, an active ingredient in some cold, allergy, and sinus products, can be chemically processed into methamphetamine (commonly known as meth). The illegal use of meth has increased in recent years, prompting Congress to pass the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2006 (CEMA). The objective of the law is to eliminate the use of pseudoephedrine in the illegal production of meth. By law, products containing pseudoephedrine must now be sold behind the pharmacy counter and through online retailers who must meet certain requirements.

Note that products containing pseudoephedrine remain available without a prescription in most states.

SUDAFED® PRODUCTS CONTAINING PSEUDOEPHEDRINE

SUDAFED® Congestion
SUDAFED® 12 Hour
SUDAFED® 12 Hour Pressure+Pain
SUDAFED® 24 Hour /b]"

My wife uses the stuff. I sign for it so she can stay home sick.

I understand in some parts of the US, smurfs line up 10 cars deep waiting for the pharmacy to open every day. Thank goodness this is not the case in my city.

[Edited on 20-10-2017 by Magpie]




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[*] posted on 21-10-2017 at 05:22


Iodine is definitely one of the most interesting, useful, and versatile chemicals any amateur experimenter could want to have. But it's so easily made from iodide salts that there's probably no real need to lobby to change the status of it in elemental form (unless this impacts the ability of schools / universities etc. to use it?). Perhaps we should focus on making sure that KI stays available?



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[*] posted on 21-10-2017 at 11:46


Indeed iodine can be easily made from KI, and probably other readily available iodides. I think it would be best to not draw any attention to these iodides.

DEA meth lab raiders would, at least in the past, see the distinctively purple iodine and so associate it strongly with meth making. KI looks like just any other white powder.

[Edited on 22-10-2017 by Magpie]




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[*] posted on 21-10-2017 at 12:51


The notion that anything said here would influence a Government in a way to benefit amateur chemists is simply absurd.

You need lots of Money to do that, or something that equals the same.

Edit:
Why is this particular Political thread allowed to run ?

[Edited on 21-10-2017 by aga]




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[*] posted on 21-10-2017 at 13:05


It's anti-political............ Not that it matters

Iodine will most probably not be 'decriminalized' just because a miniscle proportion of the general population knows what it actually is.

At best, I see regulation, permits and licences to own and purchase it (probably the way it is now, IDK, but that doesn't affect us over here)

Laws NEVER get looser........... Only more stringent........ I'm with Magpie on this one



/CJ

[Edited on 21-10-2017 by Corrosive Joeseph]
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[*] posted on 21-10-2017 at 13:17


Suggesting an attempt to influence a Government isn't Political ?

I must be mistaken about what the word means.




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[*] posted on 21-10-2017 at 13:21


Maybe we just have differing views.......... Do you really think you are free..........?


/CJ
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[*] posted on 21-10-2017 at 13:29


Quote: Originally posted by Corrosive Joeseph  
I'm with Magpie on this one

Me too.
Quote: Originally posted by Magpie  
I think it would be best to not draw any attention to these iodides.

Too late i suspect, due to this Political thread.

Yes, i consider myself pretty much Free, subject to the normal rules that allow humans to live in close proximity to each other.




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[*] posted on 21-10-2017 at 15:26


Regulatory authorities give little to no attention to discussions on ScienceMadness.

That said, this is not necessarily the best place to discuss this effort.




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[*] posted on 21-10-2017 at 16:03


aga: This thread is perfectly acceptable, because it is about an issue that directly relates to amateur chemistry. It is about access to chemicals, not an unrelated issue such as gun control or healthcare that would generate unwanted and irrelevant controversy. It's for threads such as this that the Legal and Societal Issues subforum exists. If you don't feel comfortable with that... don't visit this particular subforum.

As for my 2 cents, I think it would be great to get iodine and phosphorus unlisted, but I agree that such a petition will probably not be successful since there is unfortunately little demand for these chemicals by most of the public. It seems like iodine is seen as undesirable and antiquated as an antiseptic now by most, so that effectively leaves homeschoolers and amateur chemists, and neither of those groups is very large or influential. Still, if the petition was created, I'd sign it.

[Edited on 10-22-2017 by zts16]




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[*] posted on 22-10-2017 at 00:11


Re: isomers of pfed - pretty sure you could just homologate the N-methyl to an N-ethyl. Ethamphetamine is a significantly inferior drug, although it does get you high.

Or I think that (unsubstituted) aminorex is actually a fine decongestant, causes heart problems but hey so does pfed lol... Aminorex might be Schedule 4? But it doesn't deserve it, it's just being punished for the uncanny resemblance to it's murderous big brother, but converting aminorex to 4-MAR is impossible

[Edited on 22-10-2017 by clearly_not_atara]
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[*] posted on 22-10-2017 at 09:27


Im in Canada, so obviously can't sign such a petition for the states, as much as I'd like too.

Im with chemplayer.. and Magpie here - It might not be worth drawing any attention to it. In a perfect world, it would be available to use completely and legally, but we should focus on making sure KI is available. (I take it from posters in this thread that KI is under threat?)

And anyway, even if every active hobbyist chemist who is on SM and lives in the states were to sign it, would that really be enough to change the rules? In my experience, the states drug laws are pretty tight. I don't think they're in the mood for making things legal, as sensible as it may be to do so. Just my (an outsider's) two cents worth on the topic.

Good luck if you do this though!
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[*] posted on 22-10-2017 at 11:35


Quote: Originally posted by zts16  
... perfectly acceptable, because it is about an issue that directly relates to amateur chemistry.

Makes sense.

Thank you for the clarification.




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[*] posted on 22-10-2017 at 16:31


Okay, the DEA actually released a clarification statement saying that they're aware that iodide salts are easily converted into iodine, but that these salts are not going to fall under the purview of this new law. They KNOW, guys. They're not complete idiots. The problem is that once a law is in place, everyone just gets used to it, and it stays there by inertia. NOBODY has anything to gain by keeping the law the way it is. Iodine is readily available from any supplier outside the US, or just by extracting it from KI. And even if you have iodine, there's still the matter of acquiring phosphorus, not to mention pseudoephedrine.

I edited my rough draft of a letter to the ACS. I guess I just send it to the various officers on their "contact us" page? Or does anyone have a better idea?

edit: Subject is "The role of iodine in chemistry education"

Quote:
Recently, I was approached by a friend of my mother, who home-schools her two children and had started to teach them chemistry. She asked me if I knew where she could get iodine. Apparently, the chemistry textbook she was teaching her children from required it for many of its experiments, and she couldn't find it at any of the places that the book recommended purchasing it at. I knew, as I imagine you know, that elemental iodine has been unavailable for purchase in the United States since 2007, due to its potential use for reducing pseudoephedrine to methamphetamine. However, I had a small quantity of it from before then, and fortunately I was able to help her.

I don't know if I was breaking the law or not, when I provided her with a small quantity of iodine crystals, so that she'd be able to teach her children chemistry. From my understanding of the law, I was not, since I didn't charge her any money for it, and the 2007 law appears to only control sales. But as I was searching for a definitive answer as to the legality of my actions, I realized, this shouldn't be something I need to wonder about. Moms who want to teach their kids chemistry at home shouldn't have to worry that they're breaking the law, or seek out a substitute to perhaps the most unique element on the periodic table. Iodine's role in chemistry education is a long and storied one, and unlike most other staples of professional chemistry labs, iodine is not particularly toxic or dangerous or expensive. And it's so widely used for performing tests of unknown chemicals, that if you ask a chemist how to perform an "iodine test", he'll inevitably ask you "which one?"

After researching this further, I'm even more confused as to the purpose of the 2007 law. Potassium iodide can still be purchased and sold without restriction, and obtaining crude elemental iodine from potassium iodide is trivial. Crude elemental iodine would be more than adequate for your typical meth lab, but that couldn't be said for most of iodine's other applications. Even in the event that someone did have iodine, they'd still need both pseudoephedrine and elemental phosphorus for that reaction, and both are already controlled. I wonder what they'll think to control if this ban fails to work? Coffee filters? Distilled water?

Well, it turns out that I don't have to wonder. Iodine was placed on the DEA's list of controlled precursors, as a chemical that is supposedly necessary for the synthesis of a drug. (List I) This, despite the fact that there are at least twenty other documented ways to synthesize it that don't use iodine at all. Most US meth labs seem to have switched to a very... atom-inefficient... variant of the Birch reduction method anyway, called "shake and bake", that doesn't require iodine. And even these meth labs have largely been made irrelevant by "superlabs" controlled by Mexican drug cartels.

It seems preposterous that the heaviest nonmetal on the periodic table of elements has been banned from sale in the US because it's the third-most important "ingredient" on a "recipe" for crystal meth that was made irrelevant nearly a decade ago, but that seems to be the case. I know that it's not particularly difficult to circumvent these bans, and that legitimate chemists are largely exempted from it, but that only serves the purpose of shielding the most effective critics of the law from its effects. The people that lose the most as a result of this law are often those too young to vote. I remember being confused as a kid, wondering why some solvents were called "polar" and some solvents "nonpolar" when there were so many different solvents used for so many different things. Then I remember it making so much more sense when I could dissolve iodine in these solvents, and immediately see roughly how polar any solvent was, on a scale of "yellow" to "purple". I remember being fascinated by the iodine clock demonstration, and stumping my teacher when I asked why iodine turned starch black, but left sugar alone -- something I had discovered on my own, rather than in a classroom. In high school, I received a lesson on the potential dangers of chemistry, when I accidentally let a vial of nitrogen triiodide dry out, then tried to wet it with ammonia to make it insensitive again. Having ammonia and iodine forcefully blown into my face was certainly not a pleasant experience, but I can think of plenty of chemicals that would have resulted in much worse.The stains that covered the room made it impossible for me to deny what had happened, and my parents confiscated the rest of my iodine after that, doling out small portions only when they knew what I intended to use it for.

Chemistry is, in most ways, the quintessential science. When people imagine scientists, there's a reason why they think of labcoats and beakers. This direct connection between abstract theory and observation makes it ideally-suited for teaching the principles of the scientific method to students, especially ones that don't yet have a background in statistics or calculus. It's depressing to think that future generations might not be allowed to experiment with the element that quickly became my favorite due to its versatility. Of course, its versatility has made it useful to more than just students, but a complete nationwide ban on the sale of this element is absurd, especially now.

I don't think that the police unions who wanted iodine regulated had bad motives, but I'm concerned that they might not be seeing the unintended consequences of the laws that they lobbied for. I think it's totally reasonable that, say, phenylacetone be strictly controlled, or even that pseudoephedrine require a prescription from a doctor. But for the sake of chemistry education, if nothing else, we need to rethink whether there's any good reason to have iodine this restricted. I plan to write to the appropriate officials in the DEA and congress as well, but obviously this sort of appeal would carry a lot more weight if it were proposed by the ACS, rather than just a citizen who happens to be fascinated by chemistry. As one of the few Americans who could reverse this misguided regulation by just asking nicely, I implore you to consider it, for the sake of the chemistry education of future generations.

Thank you.


[Edited on 10/23/17 by Melgar]

[Edited on 10/23/17 by Melgar]




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[*] posted on 22-10-2017 at 19:02


I like the letter. Good luck, i hope this works.

Yes, send variations (Just changing the name) to whomever might be able to make a change. Your state representatives, governors, people at the DEA, you name it.
I like the idea of focusing the story you tell on the homeschooled kids rather than on hobbyist chemists. Unfortunately we are so often portrayed as maniacal nutjobs, wheras only a monster would have a problem educating children.
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[*] posted on 22-10-2017 at 20:46


I'm unable to comprehend the sort of confusion that leads someone to believe not only that the police unions were responsible for banning iodine but that mentioning that would be a good idea. I will not sign this petition.



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[*] posted on 22-10-2017 at 21:57


Quote: Originally posted by Vosoryx  
I like the letter. Good luck, i hope this works.

Yes, send variations (Just changing the name) to whomever might be able to make a change. Your state representatives, governors, people at the DEA, you name it.
I like the idea of focusing the story you tell on the homeschooled kids rather than on hobbyist chemists. Unfortunately we are so often portrayed as maniacal nutjobs, wheras only a monster would have a problem educating children.

Yeah, that's why I'm just targeting iodine; it's the lowest-hanging fruit. I don't plan to include the NI3 (I3N?) story in my letters to any non-chemists, obviously, and I'll probably also include some language about why chemistry will be so important in the future. After all, environmental chemistry has never been more important, and industry will have to adapt to both using new feedstocks and producing different chemicals. Of course, the ACS already understands how important chemistry is, so no need to tell them. :)

It's not just home-schooled kids either, it's kids in poor school districts. A teacher at a school known for its troublemakers might decide it's not worth it to potentially have iodine where a student might steal it, just knowing its controlled status. And that status would be all the motivation a miscreant would need to steal it, even though he'd probably have no idea what to do with it once he had it.

Another thing I'd add to the non-chemists is that chemistry is a very visual science, and seeing an impressive-looking chemical reaction can draw students' attention far more easily than demonstrations of the other sciences. And iodine, with its large spectrum of possible colors, is one of the most visual elements that can be used in a demonstration.

Quote: Originally posted by JJay  
I'm unable to comprehend the sort of confusion that leads someone to believe not only that the police unions were responsible for banning iodine but that mentioning that would be a good idea. I will not sign this petition.

This isn't a petition, it's a letter directly from me and only me to the officers of the ACS. The plan is to start by asking people with influence to weigh in on it, and only step it up to a petition if that proves ineffective. I wouldn't have thought to contact the ACS, and I'm glad that someone suggested it. Next would be to write a letter to the DEA administrator, and if that doesn't result in anything, then we can collaborate on two separately-written letters to our representatives, one tailored to Democrats and the other to Republicans. From my experience writing to members of congress or calling them, they definitely take letters from constituents more seriously, since non-constituents are usually the type that will mass-mail their grievances to every member of congress at once. So if and when it gets to the point where we write letters to congress, that's where it'd be most important to have everyone's assistance, writing to their own representatives and senators. And of course, everyone would be encouraged to use their own words as much as possible, since identical letters all sent in at once aren't given much weight either.

Incidentally, who do you think lobbies congress on behalf of law enforcement? Unions lobby congress all the time, and police certainly have unions that represent them. And really, who ELSE would have requested that this law be passed?




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