Drug Use

Think Before You Click: Buying Online Drugs Can Be Deadly

Illegal online websites are the new street drug dealers.

Abusers of controlled substances, prescription drugs which are strictly limited in the U.S., are turning to these sites because, at the click of a mouse, they can “score” as many pills in one order as they want. But there are some serious problems with this practice. Here are the main dangers of ordering controlled substances from the internet:

  1. You don’t know the dosage.

Buying these substances without a valid prescription is illegal and potentially deadly. If a patient is given a prescription for 5 mg of Valium (a benzodiazepine) from a licensed medical doctor, they can be sure that when they fill it at a legitimate pharmacy, that they are getting exactly that dosage with the proper components of that drug. Conversely, when buying online a patient can get duped by simply buying, at best, a sugar pill. At worst, the pill can be laced with toxins or deadly drugs like Fentanyl.

  1. Without regulation you may be taking something different than what you expect.

It’s impossible to verify what is in the medicine a customer receives from illegal sites.  There is no lab that enables a person to accurately test a drug before they ingest it.  At-home testing kits can only confirm the presence of some of what is in a drug but cannot confirm the exact compounds/substances  the way a lab can. You are at risk of having added ingredients of everything from sugar to hallucinogens.



  1. A site that looks credible might not be.

You may think a site is authorized and that the health policies of other countries are what make this sort of activity legal, but you are wrong. A well-designed website may disguise an online back alley for illegal delivery and dispensing of controlled substances. A study by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy shows that websites will allude to Canadian connections and origins to make you feel more comfortable with the transaction, but people need to be vigilant of sites and transactions where you don’t need a valid prescription from a doctor with whom you have met in person. If you don’t see that, it’s a clear sign that something is wrong.

Buying these drugs without a valid prescription is illegal and potentially deadly.

  1. The drugs may be past their expiration date.

Expired drugs can be inexpensive, but they may be so old they have lost their effectiveness. You’ll be wasting your money and risking your health for no therapeutic benefit or for a dangerously low amount of benefit.

  1. The drugs may be diluted.

In particular, a liquid drug can be watered down. You might order a larger dose and receive a smaller one (for example, you order 40 mg tablets and receive 5 mg, with no indication the dose is incorrect.) When you take the drug, you’ll find that it doesn’t have the expected effect because it’s only a portion of the amount you should be taking.

  1. The drugs inside the bottle may be mislabeled, counterfeit or the wrong drug altogether.

You order a high-end branded drug, but what’s in the bottle might be some cheap substance manufactured to look like the drug you ordered. Sometimes you order one drug and they send you a different product, telling you it’s identical to the drug you ordered, or that they saved you money by sending you the alternative.

If you are taking drugs prescribed by your doctor and feel the need to turn to the Internet to get more, then you are abusing the guidelines set by your physician. This can signal an addiction. You must turn to a medical professional for counseling and next steps such as an in-patient detox followed by a drug and alcohol rehab.

You are taking your life into your hands when you purchase illegal prescriptions online.

Nguyen is s a Board-Certified Psychiatrist at Beachway Therapy Center, in Boynton Beach, Florida (www.beachway.com).


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