Are methamphetamine precursor control laws effective tools to fight the methamphetamine epidemic?
One of the most notable trends in illegal substance use among Americans over the past decade is the dramatic growth and spread of methamphetamine use. In response to the dramatic rise in methamphetamine use and its associated burden, a broad range of legislations has been passed to combat the problem. In this paper, we assess the impact of retail-level laws intended to restrict chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine (methamphetamine precursor laws) in reducing indicators of domestic production, methamphetamine availability, and the consequences of methamphetamine use. Specifically, we examine trends in these indicators of methamphetamine supply and use over a period spanning the implementation of the federal Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act (MAPA) (October 2000) and a more stringent state-level restriction enacted in California (January 2000). The results are mixed in terms of the effectiveness of legislative efforts to control methamphetamine production and use, depending on the strength of the legislation (California Uniform Controlled Substances Act versus federal MAPA), the specification of the comparison group, and the particular outcome of interest. Some evidence suggests that domestic production was impacted by these legislative efforts, but there is also evidence that prices fell, purities rose, and treatment episodes increased. Copyright (c) 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd