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The article “You’ve Got Drugs!” IV: Prescription Drug Pushers on the Internet, by Foster et al (2006) is a representation of the alarming situation of sale and distribution of controlled prescription drugs online. This article is a white paper from the University of Columbia and reports on the abuse of controlled prescription drugs obtained through the Internet. According to the paper, controlled prescription drugs such as pain relievers like Vicodin and OxyContin, stimulants like Adderal and Ritalin and sedatives like Xanax and Valium, and stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall are easily accessible from online drug sellers even without prescription. While there are a few online drug sellers who will insist on a prescription before selling such drugs to a customer, many do not bother asking for prescriptions. Even for those who ask for the prescription, the prescription is always mailed to them, leaving a large loophole for one prescription to be used many times or even by several individuals. The paper reports a 97 percent increase in the number of controlled prescription drug abusers from 1992 to 2002. The other significant thing to be noted is that the number of people abusing these prescription drugs has surpassed the number of those who abuse illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin. In fact, the number of people abusing controlled prescription drugs surpasses the number of people abusing all illegal drugs put together with the exception of marijuana. What is the most shocking about the findings of this report is the fact that the drugs are likely to be bought by children and teenagers who are the ones spending a lot of time on the Internet. The report, in fact, states that of the total number of people who confess to abusing drugs over 6% are children of less than twelve years of age.
Part 2: Reaction
The article discusses an extremely a serious issue that concerns not only healthcare but also other important areas of society such as education and security. What is sad is that the government has been reluctant to respond and come up with corrective actions to mitigate the damage. A society whose children as young as twelve years old have already been hooked to substance abuse and who can easily access this substance is a society at risk of falling apart. The authors believe that this issue needs to be addressed immediately, and any delay from solving this problem cannot be justified in any way. Reading the article is almost like watching a horror movie as the images of twelve year olds buying such destructive drugs easily from exploitive online businesses come to mind. Unfortunately, such businesses do not care about the fact that they are destroying the generation.
The internet is a convenient place to do black business due to the anonymity offered. Any online criminal activity on the Internet is a faceless crime. This makes such things as buying controlled prescriptions drugs online an easy task. Some of the websites may not even be located in the United States of America and, therefore, are not bound by local laws. These sellers ship these drugs in unlabeled packaging that is hard to identify. Even more importantly, some of the websites that offer these drugs are just port sites that are in turn connected to the sites that actually make the selling possible. Because online drug sellers have no efficient ways to verify a prescription given by a buyer, even those who do not intend to do black business can find their selves selling drugs to people without prescription.
The risks are far too many, and they outweigh the benefits of these drugs being sold online. Illegal businesses thrive so well online not only due to the fact that the Internet is an anonymous way of communication but also because they are able to take advantage of poorly designed legislations about privacy of information. Until this issue is solved, the use of online fronts to sell and buy these drugs will always have more damage than benefit.. Again, it is important to note that these drugs are available in physical stores, and actually in many cases it is easier to buy them from the physical stores. The online stores, therefore, are for those who want to abuse drugs. Thus, online drug selling is not useful at all.
It is not easy to fully identify a person, and whether the transcription he or she is presenting is genuine, on the other hand, putting certain barriers will help in reducing the ease at which the online drug purchasers are able to access the drugs and by effect reduce the rate at which the drugs are purchased. This can be especially effective for the younger children who may not be smart enough go round these barriers and, therefore, they will be saved from coming into contact with drugs that threaten their lives and well-being.