When The Ryan Haight Consumer Protection Act Stumbles, What Can Be Done To Stop Rogue Internet Pharmacies From Illegally Dealing Prescription Painkillers?
Rogue Internet pharmacies continue to fuel prescription drug abuse and addiction to prescription painkillers in the United States. ONE80CENTER believes something has to be done in order to curb the illegal distribution of prescription painkillers, particularly Hydrocodone and other opiate derivatives. With the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 not doing enough, no major larges have been enacted on a national level to truly address this problem. Although Internet piracy and extreme pornography are serious issues that also need to be addressed, they simply do not compare to the rising death toll of overdoses and suicides that have been caused by the criminal business practices of rogue Internet pharmacies.
Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protect Act
The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 was an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act that aimed to control unlawful access to potent drugs that are potentially lethal. The Ryan Haight Act is named for an 18-year-old student who died after he took an overdose of what was represented to him as Vicodin (hydrocodone). An honor student in high school and a varsity tennis player, Ryan simply did not fit the traditional profile of a troubled teenage drug abuser. Most likely, Ryan was one more example of a young person in the experimental phase of drug abuse that became a victim of a system of easy access.
Prescription Painkillers – Overdoses And Deaths
In 2001, Ryan ordered Vicodin from an online site that claimed to be a legitimate pharmacy. He used the family computer in his home in San Diego and a debit card his parents had given him so that he could trade baseball cards on eBay. The rogue pharmacy indicated a physician’s prescription was not needed because it was affiliated with a doctor who would authorize the drug for distribution to the buyer. In the online questionnaire that was required, Ryan lied by saying that he was a 25-year-old male with chronic back pain.
A few days after he received the pills, he was found dead from what was described as an overdose of Vicodin. After his death, one of Ryan’s friends told his parents that Ryan used the Internet to get access to the drugs. His Mother testified before Congress: “At a time when we were worried about our children being exposed to pornography and predators, marijuana and alcohol, we did not know that drug dealers were in our own family room.”
The Ryan Haight Act required Internet pharmacies to display the following on their Web site: 1) who owns the Web site; 2) the name of the pharmacist associated with the Web site; and 3) the name of any physician working for or with the Web site owner. An Internet pharmacy is also prohibited from referring the patient to a physician who never sees the patient in the context of a normal patient-physician relationship. Pharmacies that use the Internet for distribution and dispensing activities have to obtain a certification from the DEA indicating that the pharmacy is in compliance with all of the laws addressing these issues. That certification is in addition to the registration requirements of the Controlled Substances Act.
The Ryan Haight Act permits state attorney generals to initiate criminal proceedings in a federal court against those involved with illegal Internet pharmacy operations like dealing prescription painkillers. This provision is designed to help the state enforcement agencies overcome jurisdictional hurdles. It is not surprising that Internet pharmacy organizations tend to be located in states other than the one where the medications are being delivered. As a result, the law has proven to be very hard to enforce.
Rogue Internet Pharmacies Abroad
Moreover, the Ryan Haight Act does not address the problem of rogue pharmacies that operate outside the country. Statistics suggest that when an Internet provider operating in another country obtains a request for controlled medications, the actual dispensing of the drug happens at a local pharmacy within the U.S. The Ryan Haight Act makes a distinction between lawful acquisition of drugs from outside the U.S. border and unlawful prescriptions obtained within our borders for the purpose of diversion. Still, it has failed to have the impact that legislators hoped for in 2008.
Although the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 was a step in the right direction, the clinical staff at ONE80CENTER knows from experience that was not enough to stem the tide of prescription painkiller abuse. Oxycodone remains easily available on the web as the rogue Internet pharmacies continue to make a killing in more ways than one. In conjunction, the federal and state governments need to do something to prevent easy access to prescription painkillers and other prescription drugs. If you or a loved one is having a problem with prescription painkillers, the time to take action is now by calling ONE80CENTER at 888.588.4180.