Hundreds of legitimate pain patients around the country have told us they’re having a hard time getting opioid pain medicines. Either pharmacists are unwilling to fill their prescriptions or their doctors are unwilling to write them.
No such problem exists on the Internet. Potent painkillers like oxycodone and Vicodin are being openly offered for sale – without a prescription — on websites like Craigslist.
“Oxycodone 30mg pain meds looking to meet for 40 pills for $400,” reads one ad from a seller in New York City.
“Oxycodone and many other drugs and even research chemicals at affordable prices,” reads another ad from a seller in Charleston, West Virginia, who also offers “discreet packaging” and “express delivery available with FedEx and UPS.”
Even in Florida, where regulators have shutdown many of the state’s pill mills and many pharmacists are sending pain patients away empty handed, prescription painkillers and other medications are readily available online.
“Xanax, Opana, Roxy, Adderall, Lortabs, Vicodin, Hydro, Percocet, Methadone, Morphine, Patches, Viagra, Cialis,” reads an ad from a well-stocked Florida drug dealer on Craigslist.
Of course, it’s illegal to buy or sell prescription drugs over the Internet, but that’s not stopping people from doing just that.
This week the Sheriff’s Department in Ventura County, California announced the arrest of 21 people accused of selling OxyContin and other medications on Craigslist.
For two months undercover officers responded to Craigslist ads – many of them placed in website’s “Health and Beauty” section — and arranged to buy 14 different drugs.
“These are dope dealers utilizing Craigslist to expand their market. Our goal is to stop them, bring attention to Craigslist, and then get to the dirty doctor that they’re getting their dope from,” said Assistant Sheriff Gary Pentis.
The “dirty doctor” in this case was arrested for allegedly writing fake prescriptions in exchange for cash.
“Our kids are at tremendous risk. Kids as young as middle school can use their lunch money, and with the use of a smartphone, get some Ambien and resell it on school grounds,” said Pentis.
“The problem is not only are these drugs illegal without a prescription, but these transactions can be very dangerous,” says California state Sen. Ted Lieu, who has been trying to draw attention to illegal drug sales on Craigslist.
In August, Lieu was approached by a constituent — a recovering drug addict – who warned him about the online sales.
“He came to my office and said, ‘I used to be addicted to painkillers and got them from Craigslist,’” Lieu said.
“Later that day I went on Craigslist and started typing in drug names. I was shocked at what actually came up. When I saw that, I thought how can this be legal?”
Lieu sent a letter to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster, asking him to ban any ads that offer illegal narcotics.
When no response was received, Lieu sent another letter to Buckmaster last month, asking him “to ensure that Craigslist stop encouraging or participating in the illegal dealings of narcotics.”
Nevada state Senator Tick Segerblom has also written a letter to Buckmaster, asking him to “take steps to eliminate the illegal sale of prescription drugs” on Craigslist.
Neither Senator has heard from Buckmaster, but an aide to Lieu told National Pain Report that Craigslist’s director of customer relations agreed to meet with Lieu later this month to discuss the issue.
In the meantime, the buyers and sellers of pain meds are still on Craigslist – although they’re certainly more aware their transactions may be monitored by police.
“Can buy Vicodin, Percocet, Norco. Let me know. I’m not a cop,” posted one potential buyer from Ventura County.
And a dealer in Los Angeles selling oxycodone put it this way:
“I gots a lot of 30 mg. @ $15.00 each. Send me ur email and phone number. NO PIGS!”