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Prescription Drug Addiction Fueled By Easy Online Access
Eighty-five percent of the 365 web sites selling highly addictive and dangerous controlled substances require no prescription, according to a study just released by Columbia University researchers, a situation that is seriously hampering efforts to curb prescription drug addiction in this country.
In its report titled, “You’ve Got Drugs!”, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) states that prescription drug trafficking is flourishing on the web. Dozens of brand-name and generic drugs associated with prescription drug addiction are available from hundreds of web ‘drug stores’ without requiring a prescription.
In spite of crackdowns by federal and state agencies that have reduced the number of web sites peddling drugs by 37 percent in the last year, CASA’s fifth annual report on online drug dispensing says that opioid pain killers, stimulants and mind-bending psychiatric drugs — the drugs that are fuelling the world-wide epidemic of prescription drug addiction — are all easy to purchase.
“The bottom line is that any person of any age, including children, can, with a click of a mouse, order these drugs online and get them,” said CASA Chairman and President Joseph A. Califano, Jr.
Sales statistics show that online drug stores are being used primarily to support prescription drug addiction and abuse. Roughly 80 percent of all online prescriptions are for controlled substances, says the DEA, while only 11 percent of prescriptions from conventional pharmacies are for the kinds of drugs associated with abuse and addiction.
A bill pending in the House, if passed, will ban the delivery of regulated drugs over the Internet without a prescription. Meanwhile, the DEA has eased restrictions that will allow doctors to write prescriptions for controlled substances from their office computers directly to established pharmacies. Called ‘e-prescribing’, such systems help reduce ‘doctor shopping’ and paper prescription theft, two methods widely used to support prescription drug addiction.
Finding solutions to the difficult problems of prescription drug addiction have become a major priority with federal, state and local judicial, law enforcement, education and medical officials. Meanwhile, record numbers of people of all ages and walks of life, suffering from addiction to prescription drugs, are finding a safe start to recovering their lives at medical drug detox centers across the country.
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