E-DRUG: Internet drug trafficking
BMJ on trafficking of (narcotic) drugs. Might be relevant for
trafficking of ordinary drugs too. Copied as fair use.
BMJ 2001;322:512 ( 3 March )
Internet drug trafficking needs international counter offensive
Rohit Sharma Mumbai
An international collaboration is needed to stamp out internet
trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances around
the world, the International Narcotics Control Board has urged.
Some online companies advertise that they can provide
prescription drugs without prescription or that their dispensing
pharmacy can issue the prescription, said the control board in its
annual report. Two internet pharmacies in Bangkok and one in
Chiang Mai, Thailand, mainly serving the US market, were closed
down between November 1999 and January 2000 after raids by Thai
authorities with the close collaboration of US Drug Enforcement
Administration. These pharmacies were sending parcels of drugs to
US citizens, including many drug addicts, who could not get their
prescription from US doctors.
The control board's survey points out that internet drug trafficking
has only recently come to the notice of most national authorities,
and very few have taken legal action to stem it. "We do not know
the amount of internet drug trafficking, but with 600 million internet
users at present, we want the governments to take action," said Mr
Chinmay Chakrabarty, a member of the International Narcotics
The report warned of the potential for errors and misuse of the
internet in facilitating medical and pharmaceutical services for large
sections of society at low costs. "Substituting direct patient-doctor
contact by electronic communication is problematic, particularly
concerning the diagnosis of psychiatric disorders and prescriptions
of controlled drugs," it said.
Over-consumption of controlled drugs in the developed world was
caused by several factors?easy availability, loose regulation, and
unethical practices, said the report. On the other hand, there is an
undersupply in the developing world of much needed narcotic drugs
for legitimate medicinal purposes, such as pain relief.
The report stated that in most countries of Africa the misuse of
psychotropic substances seems to be rising. In Asia, the ongoing
production of opium in Afghanistan, a leading world producer of
opium, and the resultant smuggling of opiates and criminal
activities in western Asia, remains a major concern, said the
In Europe the availability of drugs and the misuse of synthetic
drugs and cocaine are increasing. Europe remains a major source
of illegally manufactured amphetamines and amphetamine-type
stimulants, especially ecstasy, for the whole world. "MDMA
(Ecstasy) of western European origin is increasingly being abused
by young people in North America," said the report. It stated that
cultivation of highly potent cannabis under laboratory conditions "is
spreading in Canada and parts of the US and continues to
constitute a major concern to law enforcement authorities."
In the United States the rate of cocaine misuse among
adolescents has declined by 14% since from 1998 1999, whereas
in Canada, drug misuse among secondary school students is
showing an increase, according to some surveys, said the report.
The International Narcotics Control Board's report is available at
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