New CASA* White Paper Reveals: Number of Web Sites Selling Controlled Prescription Drugs Up for Third Straight Year | CASAColumbia

New CASA* White Paper Reveals: Number of Web Sites Selling Controlled Prescription Drugs Up for Third Straight Year

New CASA* White Paper Reveals: Number of Web Sites Selling Controlled Prescription Drugs Up for Third Straight Year

NEW YORK, N.Y., June 19, 2006

For the third year in a row, the number of Web sites selling controlled prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, Valium and Ritalin has increased, according to a new white paper released by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University and Beau Dietl & Associates (BDA). CASA and BDA performed the same analysis over the course of a comparable one-week period since 2004, when 157 sites were identified as selling controlled prescription drugs compared with 185 in 2006.

You’ve Got Drugs!” Prescription Drug Pushers on the Internet: 2006 Update reveals that 9 of 10 (89%) of those Web sites selling controlled prescription drugs do not require prescriptions. Of those sites not requiring prescriptions, 30% advertised that no prescription was needed, 60% offered “online consultations” and 10% made no mention of a prescription.

During the one-week analysis, BDA identified 344 Web sites either advertising or selling controlled prescription drugs. Drugs available over the Internet included opioids or painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin; depressants such as Xanax, Librium and Valium; and stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin.

“Any child can get, without a prescription, highly addictive controlled substances like OxyContin, Valium and Ritalin from Internet drug pushers,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA’s Chairman and President and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. “The trend of teen ‘pharming parties’ will continue to increase as long as these drugs are so easy to obtain.”

“Despite three years of CASA reports, Congressional hearings, and increased attention in the press to the abuse of controlled prescription drugs, these drugs continue to be as easy to buy over the Internet as candy,” said Bo Deitl, Chairman of Beau Dietl & Associates. “It is deplorable that we have no controls to limit the sale of these drugs to children. Kids today are Internet savvy and any 8 year-old can order medicine on the FDA's Import Alert list or the DEA's Controlled Substances list as easily as they can order an iTune; all they have to do is punch in their parents' credit card number.”

Other Findings in the Report Include:

  • Benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax and Valium) are the most frequently offered controlled prescription drug, sold on 84% of the websites
  • The total number of sites selling opioids and benzodiazepines has increased while the number selling stimulants has declined over the past three years
  • Of those sites (11%) that claim they require a prescription, 70% only require that a prescription be faxed, allowing a customer to forge prescriptions or fax the same prescription to several Internet pharmacies
  • Of those sites selling controlled prescription drugs (185), only two were Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites, certified by The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy

The report also finds a growing trend in “online consultations” in place of prescriptions. In 2006, 99 sites selling controlled prescription drugs offered an “online consultation” compared to 87 sites in 2005 and 77 sites in 2004. The American Medical Association, the Federation of State Medical Boards, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) all agree that “online consultations” cannot take the place of face-to-face physical examinations with a reputable and legitimate physician.

“The easy availability of addictive prescription drugs online poses a silent menace to our nation’s health,” said Califano. “It’s time for a concerted and coordinated action by Congress, Internet search engines, the nation’s financial institutions, shipping companies and law enforcement agencies to shut down this flow of drugs to our children and teens.”

As a result of its findings and to protect our nation’s public health and that of our children, CASA recommends that:

  • Congress tighten federal law to prohibit Internet sale or purchase of these drugs without an original prescription issued by a licensed DEA-certified physician, licensed in the state of purchase, based on physical examination or evaluation
  • Internet search engines, financial institutions and shipping companies should collaborate with the federal government to establish a national clearinghouse to identify and shut down illegal Internet pharmacies

In 2004 CASA released “You’ve Got Drugs!” Prescription Drug Pushers on the Internet, which found the Internet to be a wide-open channel for distribution of dangerous and addictive prescription drugs. In 2005 CASA released Under the Counter: The Diversion and Abuse of Controlled Prescription Drugs in the U.S., which found that between 1992 and 2002, while the U.S. population increased 13%, prescriptions filled for controlled drugs jumped 154% and the number of people who admitted to abusing these drugs increased by 94% --7 times faster than the increase in the U.S. population.

CASA is the only national organization that brings together under one roof all the professional disciplines needed to study and combat all types of substance abuse as they affect all aspects of society. CASA has issued 61 reports and white papers, published one book, conducted demonstration projects focused on children, families and schools at 139 sites in 61 cities and counties in 26 states plus Washington, DC and a Native American tribal reservation, and has been testing the effectiveness of drug and alcohol treatment, in a variety of programs and drug courts. CASA is the creator of the nationwide initiative Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your ChildrenTM -- the fourth Monday in September -- that promotes parental engagement as a simple and effective way to reduce children’s risk of smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs. For more information visit www.CASAColumbia.org.

*The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University is neither affiliated with, nor sponsored by, the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (also known as "CASA") or any of its member organizations with the name of "CASA."

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