"Oxygen is a prescription drug." So I learned this morning from Teresa, who is in the oxygen business.
This page confirms it; "oxygen is a drug and therefore requires prescribing in all but emergency situations." Prescriptions can issue only from the pens of physicians. Physicians can only practice after licensure by the government. Therefore, the government licenses the use of oxygen.
Oxygen comprises 21% of the Earth's atmosphere, and so is so abundant as not generally to command a market price. It is essential to life; we die within minutes if deprived of it.
And yet, in the insanity of the modern state, in any greater concentration it is a "drug" and can be obtained only by government permission. Accordingly, we already need government permission in order to live. That is my... breathless conclusion.
We anarcho-libertarians have a lot of work to do, and not much time in which to do it.


Brian Mast's picture

Hmm, that is very odd considering that divers and people who use acetylene torches such as myself can get large bottles of compressed oxigen from stores without a doctors permission. I wonder if a little bit of rent-seeking is going on.

Brian Mast's picture

I did a little research after my last post and learned a few things:

Filling cylinders

Diving cylinders should only be filled with air from diving air compressors or with other breathing gases using gas blending techniques.[14] Both these services should be provided by reliable suppliers such as dive shops. Breathing industrial compressed gases can be lethal because the high pressure increases the effect of any impurities in them.

Special precautions need to be taken with gases other than air:

oxygen in high concentrations is a major cause of fire and rust.
oxygen should be very carefully transferred from one cylinder to another and only ever stored in containers that are certified and labeled for oxygen use.
gas mixtures containing proportions of oxygen other than 21% could be extremely dangerous to divers who are unaware of the proportion of oxygen in them. All cylinders should be labeled with their composition.
cylinders containing a high oxygen content must be cleaned for the use of oxygen and lubricated with oxygen service grease to reduce the chance of combustion.

Contaminated air at depth can be fatal. Common contaminants are: carbon monoxide a by-product of combustion, carbon dioxide a product of metabolism, oil and lubricants from the compressor.[14]

Keeping the cylinder slightly pressurized at all times reduces the possibility of contaminating the inside of the cylinder with corrosive agents, such as sea water, or toxic material, such as oils, poisonous gases, fungi or bacteria.

The blast caused by a sudden release of the gas pressure inside a diving cylinder makes them very dangerous if mismanaged. The greatest risk of explosion exists at filling time and comes from thinning of the walls of the pressure vessel due to corrosion. Another cause of failure is damage or corrosion of the threads and neck of the cylinder where the pillar valve is screwed in. Aluminium cylinders have been observed occasionally to fail explosively, fragmenting the cylinder wall. Steel cylinders usually remain mostly intact, and tend to fail at the neck.[citation needed]
Oxigen bottles that welders use would be deadly for us to use. I wonder if the divers oxigen tanks are considered as containing a drug? I live a very long way from a body of water that would have a store supplying diving tanks nearby.

Jim Davies's picture

Good catch, zygodactyl. It does seem there's a forked tongue at work here; the FDA hasn't quite nailed down a monopoly control of oxygen. Yet. shows several particpants debating the question. One Laura Halper wrote "Yes, the FDA regulates compressed oxygen as a prescription drug, and the production/processing is subject to 21CFR Parts 210 and 211" but added "it's hard to apply" some sections of those regulations. She provided a link to the FDA's own page about it.
The net of it may be that the gas itself is not yet controlled by government, but devices that deliver it in concentrations other than the natural one, to those who need it, are. So if you don't need it so as to live there is freedom, but if you do need it, there is not. Catch-22?
Hmm again. So you're climbing Everest, and definitely need it near the peak so as to go on living... but you didn't need it when buying the cylinder at Amazon so you didn't get a prescription. Would it break the law to sniff a whiff, or not?  Oh, wait, Nepal isn't in FedGov jurisdiction. Breathe freely.