The Internet is the last place Americans look to when they want to get high on prescription narcotics, according to government data. One-tenth of 1% (.1%) of Americans who obtain prescription opioids for non-medical purposes (to “get high”) say that they obtain them over the Internet.
This data is based on the latest survey, published in 2015, by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. Compare that to the main channels people use for prescription opiates for getting high:
50.5% from friends
22.1% from their doctors
10.9% buy them from friends
4.8% from a drug deal or other stranger
4.4% took or stole it from a friend
3.1% from more than one doctor
0.4% stole from a doctor’s office, hospital or clinic
3.6% some other way not asked in the survey
This information is important to the community of companies, organizations and consumers that support online access to safe, affordable medication and personal drug importation. Groups funded by the pharmaceutical industry use the tragedy that is the opioid crisis in America to oppose legislation and regulations that would otherwise help more Americans safely import lower-cost medication. They do so by naming the Internet the culprit for the epidemic. The data indicates that this blame is seriously misplaced.
Over the past couple of years, there has been a serious spike in illegally imported opioid ingredients, usually fentanyl and its various analogs, pill presses to make counterfeit prescription narcotics, and other related paraphernalia, usually from China. Law enforcement must continue to stem the murderous activity that is drug dealers sometimes ordering such products over the Internet.
There are rogue online pharmacies that sell controlled drugs, even prescription narcotics without requiring valid prescriptions and sometimes internationally into the United States. I believe SAMHSA’s data may not account properly for those instances of illegally obtained prescription opioids because the patient may believe they are buying the drugs for a medical purpose and not to get high. On the other hand, I suspect that of the Americans who fill out a bogus online health questionnaire to obtain a “prescription” because they can’t get one from their doctor, many know they are doing so to get high – and not for medical purposes. Whatever the statistical unknowns are, the government’s data is abundantly clear that far less than 1% of drug addicts are using the Internet for their next fix.
The PharmacyChecker Verification Program is not open to non-U.S. pharmacies that sell controlled drugs into the U.S., even pharmacies lawfully permitted to sell and dispense such drugs, including Vicodin, Fentanyl, Xanax or Ambien into the U.S. For more, see Buying Controlled Drugs Online Has Serious Risks.Tagged with: opioid epidemic, SAMSHA