The abuse of pharmaceuticals has become one of the biggest
problems the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has had to deal with. In
2007, over $37 million in cash and property were seized as the result of
investigations. In 2004, that number was $11.9 million. Recently, the DEA has
formed an initiative with Google, Yahoo and
to warn the public about online drug purchases.
A recent investigation by CNN demonstrated how easy it is to
buy prescription drugs online without a prescription or a physician. A CNN
investigative reporter visited a website and within 24 hours two bottles of the
antidepressant drugs Prozac and Elavil arrived at his doorstep. Both bottles
had the name of a doctor and a pharmacy on the labels. The reporter never spoke
with a doctor.
It is illegal for doctors to prescribe medication to
patients whom they do not know across state lines and it is illegal in most
states for pharmacies to ship prescriptions to places that they do not have a
license to operate. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has tried to
get Congress to tighten down on these illegal Internet pharmacies, but as of
yet there has been little accomplished toward this initiative.