Prescription drugs are big business, on and offline. People use prescription medicines for a multitude of reasons from the common cold to coping with pain, for erectile dysfunction, depression, competing better in sports, or to “get high.” There are legitimate and non-legitimate uses for medicines. They are sold legally and illegally, just like purchasing crack-cocaine or another “unlawful, uncontrolled substance.” Medication may be purchased with a prescription from a licensed, medical practitioner or illegally with no prescription and over the Internet from a foreign country, where the quality of medication may be variable.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), it is illegal to buy “controlled substances such as narcotic pain relievers, sedatives, stimulants, and anabolic steroids without a valid prescription from your doctor.” Most states require that you be examined by a doctor before a prescription is provided. So, filling out an online questionnaire for a prescription website does not qualify, and ordering off of a website that imports drugs into the United States is a felony and can result in jail time. For this reason, it is very important to check the reliability of any doctor or pharmaceutical, online service that you may be considering.
Unfortunately, there are those who are not deterred by the threat of committing a felony or serving jail time. Pain, addiction, and the lack of income may play a huge role in this. Medicines may be purchased off the black market because of low cost but especially because of the no prescription and no limit requirement. The low cost and ease of access to the drugs outweigh any risk of getting caught.
Ordering prescriptions online can also serve as a convenient alternative to making purchases through a pharmacy. Certainly, not all of them are illegal, and many insurance providers offer mail-order by Internet as a way to save money. It can pay off, if medicines are bought in bulk. Also pharmacies offer online options for refilling prescriptions, although you still have to drive to the store and pick them up.
Watch out for disreputable websites. Cyber Chase from 2005 is an example of an online, prescription-drug bust that involved the U.S. and four foreign countries (“Indian, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean”) and 200+ websites. Assisting these drug sales are those nasty spam mails that people receive, the ones marketing for erectile dysfunction products and the like. According to Brian Kreps, Cyber Security reporter, “Rx-Promotion and SpamIt are probably responsible for upward of 50 or 60% of spam…over the last 5 years.” When a person responds to one of these spam mails, they are directed to a website, where a third-party takes care of credit card payments. Then, prescriptions are sent from foreign countries. They may be the wrong pills, past the expiration, incorrect dosage, and certainly haven’t been approved by the FDA.
Other possible means of obtaining drugs for internet or illegal, person-to-person selling involve thieves, holding up pharmacies or stealing from its users. The victims may be seniors, mentally or physically challenged or anyone, who uses medicine for a variety of reasons. Before purchasing medicines online, obtain a prescription from a “licensed” doctor and make sure the company is reputable by checking with your local BBB. Risking your health and your finances are not worth any potential savings you “might” encounter and certainly not worth the risk of committing a felony or serving jail time.
When purchasing drugs, be vigilant of what you are ordering and be lawful in your purchases.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/myaktinephoto/4114884511/”>Matthew Yaktine</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>