Written By: Fiona Stockard
Drug Dealers Who Deliver to Your Door!
The U.S. Government recently indicted FedEx for their role in delivering illegally obtained prescription drugs. The government brought fifteen counts of drug trafficking, conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance, and misbranding drugs against the shipping giant.
These charges carry with them an estimated fine of 1.5 billion dollars.
A Growing Trend
FedEx’s recent trouble is the latest example of the government crackdown on shipping prescription drugs.
Last year, UPS forfeited 40 million dollars in revenue received from online pharmacies. The same year, Walgreens paid 80 million dollars in civil fines raised against them. In 2010, CVS paid 78 million dollars to settle allegations they allowed known criminals to buy large amounts of chemicals used to manufacture meth.
Larry Cote, an ex-D.E.A. council, is quoted as saying, “The DEA does believe that everyone in the supply chain is responsible and has an obligation to understand where their products are ending up.”
So, What Does This All Mean?
These indictments, and hefty fines, show two major trends.
First, it shows the government is becoming increasingly aggressive in waging war on prescription drug abuse. Mr. Cote stated, “Targeting a company that’s two, three steps removed from the actual doctor-patient, pharmacy-patient relationship is unprecedented.”
Certainly, the government’s action against shipping companies is bold, but is it enough to stem the tide of prescription drug abuse? This brings us to the second trend.
Prescription drug abuse is booming. There’s nothing else to say. We’re a society that loves pills. Couple this with the prevalence of online pharmacies and we’re in deep trouble indeed.
Online Pharmacies…What’s the Big Deal?
Online pharmacies have been around since the beginning of the Internet. It’s only in the last decade though that they’ve exploded in popularity and business.
Traditionally, online pharmacies don’t require a prescription, or doctor’s authorization, to dispense medication. They rely instead on a questionnaire, which is reviewed by a doctor. This lack of oversight has led to addicts and dealers being able to obtain a whole host of pills. To put it another way, online pharmacies operate much like the Wild West.
Types of drugs popular to online pharmacies include amphetamines, benzodiazepines, erectile-dysfunction drugs, muscle-relaxers, and all kinds of opioids.
This lack of oversight for online pharmacies can clearly be seen in the FedEx indictment. Couriers from several different states reported being stopped by online pharmacy customers. These customers demanded pills, pills, and more pills! Several couriers also reported delivering packages to abandoned homes and parking lots. Some of these reports date back to the early 2000’s!
It’s clear something needs to be done. In fact, it’s clear a whole lot needs to be done. The government took the first step by indicting UPS, Walgreens, CVS, and now, FedEx.