From: email@example.com (Steve Harris sbharris@ROMAN9.netcom.com)
Subject: Re: LATimes: Quest for Cheaper Drugs Can End in a Mexican Jail
Date: 6 Sep 2004 13:35:51 -0700
firstname.lastname@example.org (Sufaud) wrote in message
> Quest for Cheaper Drugs Can End in a Mexican Jail
> Police crack down on Americans who buy medications without local
> By Chris Kraul
> Times Staff Writer
> September 5, 2004
> TIJUANA ? Californians shopping for cheaper prescription drugs may
> have gotten a break when the Legislature voted to ease access to
> low-cost medicines from Canada, but south of the border,
> bargain-hunters can pay an unexpected, traumatic cost ? time in a
> Mexican slammer.
The idiot journalist who wrote this article either didn't know or
didn't care about the difference between prescription *controlled*
drugs and prescription *non-controlled* drugs.
He gets close to the truth with the following (way down inside the
article where it won't be noticed), but still misses essential facts:
>>Although police are likely to look the other way a case such as
Gonzalez's eyedrops, they can come down hard on those who buy
controlled substances, such as those known by their U.S. brand names
Valium, Ritalin, Percodan and Darvon.<<
Wrong! The truth is that nobody is "looking the other way" at
Gonzalez's eyedrops. They are perfectly legal to buy in Mexico, and
perfectly legal to carry across the border and possess in the US. All
without prescription. The same goes for antibiotics, Retin A wrinkle
creme, many antidepressants, and all kinds of stuff people shop for
regularly in Tijuana..
The difference between a prescription controlled substance (like
Valium) and a prescription non-controlled substance (like penicillin)
in the US is that the first is illegal to buy, sell, transfer, or even
POSSESS without a prescription. But the second class of non
prescription drugs is perfectly legal to POSSESS without prescription.
It's simply illegal to buy, sell or transfer it without one. If you
buy it in Mexico over the counter without presciption (legal) and
carry it over the border to the US for your own personal possession
and use, still without prescription, you're within the law, all the
way. Generally 3 months supply for one person is the amount understood
to represent "personal use".
And yes, it is usually Valium-class drugs (Controlled Schedule V--
basically mostly sleeping pills and tranquillizers) which get tourists
into trouble. The reason is that these are tightly controlled
substance in the US, but not in Mexico. That means you can often buy
them from a Mexican Pharmacy without prescription (I don't know if it
is technically legal even in Mexico, but it is done), but it's illegal
to possess them without such a prescription in the US. So the moment
you cross the border with them, you break the law.
Tourists rarely get into trouble with Schedule II and III drugs
(Ritilin, Percodan, Vicodin, etc) SIMPLY because you can't even BUY
these in Mexico at a pharmacy without a Mexican doctor's prescription,
and they do monitor this. No pharmacy is going to risk its licence to
do that. And if the tourist has seen a Mexican doctor and has a
Mexican doctor's prescription, he/she can carry small amounts of these
drugs over the border, legally, anyway. If a foreign doctor's
prescrition didn't cover possession of small amounts of controlled
medications for personal use, every traveler into the US from anywhere
in the world would be relieved of all controlled substances, medicinal
or not. Obviously that doesn't happen.
Here's a good example of the way journalism screws people every day.
This Chris Kraul guy wrote this article, but he never got it vetted by
somebody (anybody) who knew anything about what he was writing about.
So he got it all wrong. Shame on you, LA Times.