At the end of September, the DEA released a warning: The quantity of fake pills online has reached dangerous levels. Already this year, DEA seized 9.5 million counterfeit pills. Two out of five of these pills contain a lethal dose of fentanyl. Increasingly, methamphetamine is added.
This news is sobering, but not surprising. Just a few weeks before DEA’s public safety alert, we took to the airwaves to alert audiences across the country about the risks of buying prescription medication online and from social media platforms. NABP President Caroline D. Juran, BSPharm, DPh (Hon) and Ed Ternan of Song for Charlie spoke with more than 20 television, radio, and web channels, with interviews airing live or being taped for later.
The interview blitz was part of our consumer education campaign. The goal: inform everyone about the necessity of buying medicine only through legitimate pharmacies via a valid prescription. Our prescription drug safety website features such resources for consumers as a safe site search tool. And we created materials for health care providers to share, including sample social media posts and images.
As the DEA warning indicates, drug cartels don’t appear to be slowing down, and one issue could give them additional avenues of exploitation: state drug importation programs. NABP, per President Juran’s initiative, is working with states that plan to import prescription medications from Canada to provide guidance on the risks along with education and tools to help ensure the safety and integrity of these new drug supply chains. We can’t risk giving criminals more leverage than they already have.
You can help, too. Share our resources with friends, family, and colleagues. Just a simple conversation could be a lifesaver.