Access to rogue online pharmacies may be driving a rapid increase in the abuse of prescription drugs like powerful painkillers Percocet and Oxycontin, a new study shows.
“Our findings suggest that Internet growth may partly explain the increase in prescription drug abuse, since it is well known that these drugs are easily available online,” said Dana Goldman, director of the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Souther California. Prescription drugs are fast replacing illegal substances in venues like college campuses, Goldman said.
Goldman and Anupam Jena, of the MGH Department of Medicine, note that the recent marked rise in the abuse of prescription narcotic painkillers corresponds with an increase in the presence of online pharmacies. Drugs that are frequently abused — painkillers, sedatives, stimulants, and tranquilizers — often can be purchased from rogue sites located outside the United States.