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These days you can find most anything online. It is becoming commonplace to wear a shirt and slacks purchased online from Brooks Brothers, while preparing your meal with food from Peapod, for your newfound flame introduced by The newest online frontier? Digital drugs.


Innocently arriving via FedEx, such drugs caused the sudden death of one Kansas man, as his wife divulged to CNN, on the condition of anonymity. She was under the mistaken impression that he was taking Soma at the direction of a physician as treatment for unbearable back pain resulting from a car accident. The reality: he had become addicted to an online fix.


Spotty pharmaceutical regulation has led to a surge in online drug sales. The lucrative market offers many perks to its dedicated base: discounted drugs, quick service, and anonymous ordering. According to Rusty Payne of the DEA, approximately $39 million in cash, bank accounts, property and computers were seized in 2007 pursuant to Internet drug investigations. This figure has more than tripled in the last 3 years. In fact, the DEA has formed an initiative with Google, Yahoo! and AOL to warn people about buying drugs online. Between 2005 and 2007, Payne said the official warning popped up nearly 80 million times.

Here, consumers will do well to follow the old adage: “nothing worth having ever comes easy.” Go to the doctor, get the proper prescription, and, for heaven’s sake, read the label. Although the law may be slow in catching up to common sense, a smart consumer will know better than to cut corners when it comes to her health. Keep in mind that while flesh-and-blood doctors know that they can be held liable for any looming malpractice claims, the Internet, with its often alluring veil of anonymity, offers little incentive for proper treatment.


Perhaps the Kansas widow said it best: “These pharmacy people that are doing this and these doctors that are doing this, they don’t give a dadgummit about people. It’s just the almighty dollar; that’s all it is.” 

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