Did you know that AT LEAST 10% of people who abuse prescription medications get their drugs online from Internet pharmacies? This easy – and irresponsible – availability is a growing contributor to the opioid epidemic.
Illegitimate at Worst, Irresponsible at Best
A study from CASA Columbia found that 85% of online pharmacies that offer controlled prescription medications DO NOT require a prescription – or indeed, any medical information at all. Even many of those that DO require a prescription allow it to be faxed. This increases the risk of forgery or fraud.
How big a role do Internet pharmacies play?
From 2000 until 2007, the states that had the largest expansion in access to high-speed Internet ALSO realized the largest increase in treatment admissions for prescription drug abuse. In fact, some experts estimate that for each 10% in high-speed Internet use, there is a corresponding 1% increase in treatment admissions.
Think about those decade-old statistics for a moment. Now, think about how, today, EVERYONE is constantly connected to the Internet – especially through their smartphones.
The Role of Twitter in the Abuse of Prescription Drugs
In 2015, researchers at the University of California, San Diego, analyzed almost 2.5 MILLION tweets to determine how often the non-medical use of prescription medications was referenced. The tweets were also analyzed to determine if they promoted illicit online access to prescription medications. Among the findings:
- 12% of tweets that used the street/slang terms for prescription drugs were relevant to their non-medical use.
- When generic/chemical terms were used, that relevancy rose to almost 82%.
- Among those tweets that were relevant to non-medical use of prescription medications, nearly 76% of the ones that included a URL linked to an illicit online pharmacy.
One out of every three teens uses Twitter.
What Does All of This Mean?
If you have a loved one who abuses prescription medications, one of the hardest things to do is to stay aware of the possible temptations and avenues of availability. The rise of online pharmacies proves that any concerned family member looking for signs of prescription drug abuse should also keep an eye out for suspicious online activity or purchases.
“Controlled prescription drugs like Oxycontin, Xanax, and Ritalin Are easily purchased over the Internet without a prescription, yet physician awareness of this problem is low. Abuse of medications purchased from websites can pose unique challenges to physicians because patients who abuse these medications may not fit clinical stereotypes of drug abusers.”
~ Anupam B. Jena, MGH Department of Medicine, Clinical Fellow in Medicine at Harvard Medical School
If you know anyone who abuses prescription painkillers, antianxiety medications, or ADHD drugs, Lasting Recovery outpatient drug rehab in San Diego can help.
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