And in this case, the hysteria is both mine and the governments. Mine, because my biggest fear about power grabs like the Patriot Act is that they will not be used for the limited role of combatting terrorism, but will simply be used to broadly expand government power. The government, because they are using the hysteria over meth to do just that:
Sens. Jim Talent, Missouri Republican, and Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, said the Combat Meth Act — together with anti-meth measures championed in the House — were included in the Reauthorization Conference Report filed Thursday.
Mr. Talent and Mrs. Feinstein worked with leaders in both parties to push for the legislation, which is expected to be debated this week. The proposal, passed unanimously by the Senate, also includes treatment funding to help those affected by meth.
Law-enforcement authorities said meth use nationwide has increased by as much as 300 percent in the past decade.
“The Combat Meth Act is the toughest anti-meth bill ever considered by the Congress, and it will help people in neighborhoods all across Missouri and the country who are threatened by meth,” Mr. Talent said.
Mrs. Feinstein said the legislation “strikes a blow” against an ongoing meth epidemic.
“The heart of this legislation is a strong standard for keeping pseudoephedrine products out of the hands of meth cooks,” she said. “There were some who wanted to water down this legislation, but Senator Talent and I stood firm.”
The conference report also authorized several contentious provisions of the Patriot Act, including roving wiretaps, “sneak-and-peek” searches, and secret warrants for books and other records at businesses, hospitals and libraries.
Passage of the agreement is expected to be hotly contested, and one Democrat, Sen. Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, has threatened to filibuster the bill. He vowed to “do everything I can, including a filibuster, to stop this Patriot Act conference report, which does not include adequate safeguards to protect our constitutional freedoms.”
The provisions in the middle would simply restict what medical products are sold, and does not constitute any major action or power grab. It does, however, demonstrate to me the willingness of those in goverment to use the Patriot Act for whatever they want. The war on drugs existed before the war on terror, and as a never-ending source of funding and power, it will exist long after people are no longer sufficiently scared of terrorism.