• Polito's Take: Breaking Bad toenails


    From FOX 25 News Commentator Jim Polito:

    By now, most people would recognize J.W. Carney. The lawyer for gangster James "Whitey" Bulger had almost a daily presence on FOX 25 newscasts since early June. The bald head, big glasses and white beard are a dead giveaway. Even if you bumped into him at the beach, his purple painted toenails would make known the identity of the aging barrister with unusual podiatric hygiene. However, if he were to go back to a more natural finish on his toenails, J.W. Carney's celebrity may not exclude him from having to show identification before purchasing nail polish remover.

    CVS has added nail polish remover to the list of items receiving the same treatment as cigarettes, Sudafed, and alcohol. CVS stores will now require shoppers to show ID if they are buying the beauty product because it contains acetone and iodine. These two compounds are used to manufacture methamphetamine or "meth." This is a voluntary decision by CVS and other retailers are sure to follow. Pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient found in Sudafed decongestant can also be used to make meth. The Food and Drug Administration mandates that retailers check ID's of anyone who purchases the drug and then maintain that record for two years. It is not clear whether the FDA or any other government agency will require similar restrictions on nail polish remover.

    There is no evidence to suggest that these actions have done anything to slow the scourge of meth addiction. In my opinion, they are similar to strict gun laws -- which create inconveniences for lawful citizens while forcing criminals to be more creative in their acquisition of the raw materials for criminal activity. Sweet little old ladies have their purchase of nail polish remover scrutinized and documented while meth manufacturers are turning to large cartels in Mexico for the key ingredients of the drug.

    I don't blame CVS for their decision, but I believe it has more to do with liability than the war on drugs. CVS and other retailers have paid out tens of millions of dollars in lawsuits against companies that sold the ingredients used to manufacture methamphetamine. I could understand the concern if CVS was selling cases of nail polish remover out the back door, but they're not. Meth manufacturers are not sending legions of "mules" out to beauty retailers to buy one bottle at a time. Nor are they dispatching people who are feigning allergies to purchase one box of Sudafed at every pharmacy in town.

    Bottom line, this is another stupid inconvenience that will do little to solve a problem or make us safer. Just like people being forced to remove their shoes when they board an airplane. The only thing that does is expose more people who have strange habits like J.W. Carney.

    Next Up: