Have you had a runny nose in recent months? The reason for that may be fall allergies, which are particularly bad in Alabama. In fact, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Birmingham ranks as the 29th worst place for fall allergies. And this is not a one-time thing. Last year, Birmingham ranked 22nd.
To me – and many of my friends who suffer from these allergies – medicines containing the active ingredient pseudoephedrine (PSE) are our best option to feel better. For those without allergies, PSE is found in safe and effective medicine like Sudafed and Claritin-D. The problem is that some in the legislature are thinking about putting forth legislation next year that would make it significantly harder to get these types of medicines.
Their reasons are noble – PSE can be used in meth production – but the current dynamics of meth use in our state show that these policies would hurt honest allergy sufferers more than criminals. Since 2011, Alabama has seen almost an 80 percent decrease in meth lab incidents, and according to the DEA, 90 percent of meth in the United States comes from Mexico. This means that what our legislators should be focused on is helping treat meth addiction, not punishing honest citizens.
Michael Hansen lives in Irondale, Ala. and serves as the Executive Director of Gasp in Birmingham, Ala.