US Pharm. 2011;36(6):8.
Boston, MA and Los Angeles, CA—In a study published in the journal Health Affairs, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Southern California found that U.S. states where access to high-speed Internet grew the fastest between 2000 and 2007 also had the largest increase in the number of people seeking treatment for prescription drug abuse. They found that in each state, a 10% increase in high-speed Internet availability was associated with a 1% increase in admissions to treatment facilities for prescription drug abuse. However, addiction to substances that are not available online (i.e., alcohol, cocaine, heroin) actually grew very little or decreased. Many foreign-based Internet pharmacies sell drugs, such as narcotic painkillers, without requiring a physician’s prescription. The results suggest that better surveillance of online prescription drug sales is needed, and more aggressive efforts to curb illegitimate online pharmacies may be warranted.
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