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Doctor, May I Have Some Tide?

Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2012, at 12:05 AM

I was feeling guilty the other day.

I was suffering from either allergies or a cold and was desperate for some relief. After ransacking the bathroom medicine drawer at my house, I came across a box of expired sinus medication that contained pseudoephedrine. I immediately took one.

That's when the guilt set in.

I didn't feel guilty for having medicine that was 6-months out of date still in my bathroom. I'm of the opinion that a lot of "expiration" dates on products are actually just indicators of when the item is no longer 100% effective. I believe they are likely still good, just not as good as they once were.

No, I was feeling guilty because I was consuming medication that contained pseudoephedrine that I had not purchased with a prescription.

For those of you who have been living in a cave the past decade, pseudoephedrine is the main ingredient required to create the illegal drug Meth. Because of Meth's popularity in our state, legal drugs containing pseudoephedrine may be purchased only with a doctor's prescription in many counties including Cape.

So while the taking of a prescription medicine without a prescription brought me relief, it also brought me guilt. Wasn't I technically breaking the law? I briefly even considered turning myself into the police.

But while I was contemplating whether or not my wife would actually bail me out of jail if I did such a thing, I started reading the paper and came across a story that should have those of us concerned about illegal drug users even more worried.

Reportedly, Tide laundry detergent is now an acceptable form of payment for illegal drugs in some parts of the country.

Junkies apparently shoplift bottles of Tide and exchange them for a hit from their friendly neighborhood drug dealer, who then resells the containers of the #1 laundry detergent on the black market.

After reading the article, a number of questions occurred to me that were never quite answered by the author.

For instance, how do you shoplift one of those 10-pound bottles of Tide without someone seeing you? Did the store leave a pallet of the detergent outside their front doors to lure customers in, but in doing so also presented a very soft target for crack-heads skulking by?

And did you know there was a black market for Tide? I didn't. It's not like there are shortages of the product. P&G hasn't announced that one of their plants that crank out the detergent just burned down and they won't be able to make as much Tide as they usually do.

And does anyone know if shoplifted Tide with Ocean Breeze scent is worth more on the black market than either the original odor or the kind that smells like a mountain spring?

The article claimed that the use of laundry supplies for barter in the illegal drug trade is growing and I find that very disturbing.

This is like the ground floor of the whole Meth-movement, back when legal drugs that contained pseudoephedrine, could be bought practically anywhere, at anytime and in any quantity.

We know how that story ended.

Missouri, which seems to be last in most things that matter, quickly became Number 1 in Meth production, our shade-tree chemists cranking out tons of the tooth-rotting high.

And that's why I believe we should nip this laundry detergent issue in the bud before our state's drug addicts and drug dealers learn about this barter option. We should not wait years like we did with pseudoephedrine-based drugs, allowing it to become firmly entrenched in the drug economy.

I feel that Tide and other laundry detergents should be kept in secure storerooms like those medications that contain the dangerously addictive ingredient pseudoephedrine. I believe that if you want a jug of Tide or some other laundry detergent that you should have to have a prescription.

I don't care if you have to pony up an insurance co-pay just so you can wash your clothes. This is for your own good and the good of society.

Freedom has a price, and if regulating laundry detergent keeps the junkies and their dealers from infecting the rest of us with their drug-induced, reefer madness, then I say, so be it!

Besides, a visit to the doctor to get a prescription for a gallon of Tide should be really quick. After all, how long can a sniff test possibly take?

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The Irony Of It All
Brad Hollerbach
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Brad Hollerbach is the Director of Information Technology for the Southeast Missourian. His opinions are his own and do not reflect those of the newspaper or its editorial board. He writes this blog primarily for his own amusement and to parody the absurdities of the world we live in. He lives with his wife and two cats that don't really care for one another in Cape.

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