The Addicted Brain

Online shopping has given consumers the power of purchasing anything they desire at a click of their fingertips.

This includes drugs. 

No longer do addicts have to search for a dealer out in the streets, they can do it within the comfort of their own homes. Illegitimate pharmacies from foreign countries have swooped in to take advantage of this new online black market for narcotics.   

These unlawful websites appear to sell drugs at a fraction of the price you would pay at a real pharmacy. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) reported that people who ordered these drugs online actually received foreign versions of Haldol (Haloperidol). This anti-psychotic drug caused users to seek immediate medical attention for symptoms ranging from difficulty breathing to muscle spasm/stiffness. Tommy Lloyd, the Program Director for Serenity Springs Recovery Center, reports a higher influx of clients who order their drugs online. Unlike regulated pharmacies, these companies are not accountable to any agencies. They may advertise a pill as 8 milligrams but in fact it could be less or more than the prescribed dosage. Their fraud has no limit since they are not held to industry standards.

Moreover, these dangerous drug manufactures are going beyond the realm of online shopping and expanding to soliciting their services to substance abuse treatment centers. This is an alarming practice that Serenity Springs Recovery Center has experienced.

On Thursday, November 17, Serenity Springs received a mysterious package from India containing a bundle of drug samples. Fortunately, our facility already had security measures in place to protect the clients. A locked mail box and limited supervised internet access for the clients protected them from the temptation of ordering or receiving the package of illicit drugs. This incident brings up the concern of why an illegitimate foreign company illegally mailed drugs to an addiction treatment center. If they were bold enough to send these unsolicited drugs to our men’s treatment facility, how many other treatment centers accepted these packages without reporting it to the authorities?

It is no surprise that most companies want to cut expenses and increase revenue, but is it coming at the consumer’s expense?  Companies utilizing this tempting offer on discounted drugs could cause unfathomable consequences for people receiving treatment at their unethical facility.

How to Protect Yourself

The FDA suggests to check if the drugs are manufactured in the United States and if the website is licensed by the state board of pharmacy where the website is located. Furthermore, it should provide contact information and have a licensed pharmacist on call to answer any questions. Most Importantly, it should require you to provide a prescription from a licensed health care provider.

Additionally, the FDA warns against buying drugs online when they are not from a legitimate pharmaceutical website or regulated. The dangers of buying drugs online includes receiving drugs past their expiration, with incorrect dosages (often deadly), and mislabeled as other medicines. They have also found that these drugs are not stored or shipped correctly, resulting in an unsafe product.

 To learn more about the dangers of buying drugs online visit the FDA website.

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