The ongoing federal government crackdown on U.S. pharmacy sales of narcotic prescription medications, most notably against Walgreens in Florida, serves to remind us that prescription drug abuse is a major health problem. But only a tiny fraction of illegal prescription narcotic sales take place online, less than 1% according to Agent Robert Hill of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (.4% to be exact).
The DEA seeks to shutdown a major Walgreen’s distribution center in Jupiter, Florida. As part of its investigation of Walgreens, the DEA found that one of its pharmacies was supplied 3271 bottles of oxycodone, a highly abused narcotic, during a 40-day period in a town with less than 3000 people. It appears that Walgreens knew about supply abuses but did not heed the warnings until confronted by DEA. One email obtained during the investigation shows an employee confused about how the receiving pharmacy could “even house this many bottles.”
The prescription drug abuse crisis in the United States is a domestic not international or “foreign pharmacy” distribution problem. In fact, reputable international online pharmacies, based in Canada or elsewhere, do not sell controlled substances to Americans. When it comes to the Internet, Americans should use extreme caution if ordering controlled substances online by only ordering from licensed U.S. pharmacies with the proper DEA registration and in compliance with the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act.