Purchase medications without a prescription? Who’s dealing?

The most recent national survey on drug use was completed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHA) in 2008. Click here to learn where pill poppers are getting their stash.

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I wanted to answer the question: who is sourcing prescription drugs that are being used for non-medical effects?  So I looked to the most up-to-date (but out of date) study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adminstration (SAMSHA) from 2008 for my answers.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use, from 2007-2008, prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives were used for non prescription uses. Not surprisingly, most people 12 or older using prescription drugs for non-prescription uses got the pills from friends or relatives. In fact, more than 70% of all illegal users obtained prescription pills from friends or family. See the following chart for complete statistics.

Providers of prescription drugs for abuse

What is surprising about these studies, and what I must contest as an online researcher is that less than 1% of all people found prescription drugs illegally online. This needs to be investigated further. In a brief online search for the keywords related to “prescription”, 67 of the top 100 keywords were related to looking for prescription drugs online – with or without a prescription. The total number of searches PER DAY related to buying prescription drugs online was estimated at 54,608! Although the popularity of online searches for prescription drugs could have increased in the past two years, and search results are the result of worldwide queries, 19 million people annually are looking for drugs online.

Here’s a random sample of some of the keywords people use in search engine queries:

  • drugs online without a prescription
  • no prescription pharmacy
  • buy hydrocodone without prescription
  • phentermine no prescription
  • buy ambien without a prescription
  • online md consultations for prescriptions
  • cheap tramadol prescriptions online
  • purchase medications without a prescription
  • phentermine without prescription

Although friends and family are the most reported sources of prescription pill drugs, I believe that researchers MUST look at the increasing trend of searching for prescription pills online. And to consider making legislative recommendations to prevent the misuse of the internet for non prescription drug sales and use. What do you think? Are people searching online legitimately for prescription drugs? Would more federal law regulating internet sales of pills help or hurt control prescription drug misuse? Are pharmaceuticals simply too big to even approach the topic? Your comments are welcomed.

Reference source: 2008 National survey on drug use – prescription drugs sources
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. Its not good to take this stuff , but if you were given and became addicted to it last century or early this one and you know i think now would be the time to stop, before one day you get your lives together after having been given benzo`s or such for maybe 8-12 maybe more years, because all it will take is someone who doesnt like you to make a phone call and you will get dropped instantly even if your docter knows this can kill you or at the least maybe cause a stroke or seazure because he is not going to risk his licence for you ,I also advise everyone to use the bigger type chemist warehouses and such because not only are they alot cheaper but they see alot more people and are less likely to single you out,it will do you no good at all calling for help or even going as far as making threats because as with the reason you were probably put on these pills they will tell you “people that talk about it never do it” please for god sake do not tell anyone your personal stuff and slowly get off it now before you get punished for taking something that use to be handed out like lollies and gettind hooked on it , you realy dont need it you will see when you stop taking it and get over the withdrawel you will feel great and be back in control of your life and you will stop living in a bottle , just as easy as they use to give you this stuff now they can just as easy stop it , i know i had a bad seazure last week.

  2. Its just great to expose how badly addictive benzo`s are because now all the doctors are so reluctant to give them because they are worried that you may go to the wrong pharmacist and they may not like your attitude or hair colour or you may have mud on your shoe and they will cause trouble for him , who cares about ice or heroin or speed or pot when we have things like this to spend i time on , honestly pharmacist are no have started to cross a line , next time you go into a chemist ask the pharmacist about your medication an they will “print you something up about it” if you get to see this anyone before it is removed pls take note that it is not the doctors that are doing these things you talk of it is the pharmacist , if anyone is hanging out this morning for any scripted meds pls cruise to wray cress in blabla and see Betty hahaha she`s a great pharmacist .

  3. I have personally bought from online pharmacies 2 times awaiting a 3rd. Each time everything was ok. But I am very affraid of coming across a pill that will kill me. But I do it anyway. I am not condoning this behaviour at all. I just wanted to put my self way out on a limb and confess this is happened to me. thanks

  4. @ Veritas Villa
    Would that not be violating some right? To limit certain individuals access to knowledge, would break the freedom of speech. At least in my opinion.”You are free to speak your mind, but in this regulated forum where the people you are communicating to can only hear what we want them to hear.”
    The filtering could be done, but then one would have to be able to turn it off like you can with the abusive content search filter. Besides, there is a ton of other search engines around the internet. Making them all do this would be impossible.

  5. While some do search for prescription medication legitimately (to compare retail costs, or to search for additional information regarding treatment, interactions, etc.), there are definitely a number of people who search in order to obtain medication illegitimately. Usually, the keywords used in a search can help make the distinction. Google is now filtering its instant search results in order to protect users from potentially offensive content. Perhaps the same thing can be done with searches related to prescription drugs, to make them less accessible to those without proper authorization.

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