Efforts to halt the growing abuse of prescription drugs must include addressing the availability of these drugs on the Internet and increasing physician awareness of the dangers posed by Internet pharmacies. In a commentary in the Dec. 20 Annals of Internal Medicine, investigators from Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California (USC), and The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia) describe the probable contribution of Internet pharmacies to the problem and outline potential strategies for addressing the problem. “Controlled prescription drugs like Oxycontin, Xanax, and Ritalin are easily purchased over the Internet without a prescription, yet physician awareness of this problem is low,” says Anupam B. Jena of the MGH Department of Medicine, lead author of the article, and a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School. ”Abuse of medications purchased from websites...
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