The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP) and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids created MedicineSafe this year to educate Americans on prescription drug safety and the opioid crisis.
In an interview with Citizen Truth, Marjorie Clifton of CSIP discussed the importance of this new website for anyone thinking of purchasing prescription medicines online. According to U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 97% of online pharmacies are illegal and unsafe. When CSIP looked at the average patient shopping online, Clifton said, “We realized the consumers that were buying from these sites were very innocent… They were people’s grandmothers who… their prescription had got so expensive that they went online…”
CSIP and its partnering organizations have shut down or blocked thousands of websites and 117 million ads and social media posts, however, Clifton admits they are playing a game of whack-a-mole. For every website they shut down, another one pops up in its place. In the interview, it was stated that experts estimate that only a handful of drug rings – approximately eight – are suspected of being behind the entire fake online pharmacy industry. While the counterfeit pills they make may look good, Clifton said, “They can be everything from a placebo to a sugar pill, or they can be rat poison. It completely runs the gambit.”
The most popular feature on MedicineSafe.org is the Verify Before You Buy tool, which lets someone put in the domain name of the website he or she is considering purchasing medicine from to see if it is a rogue online pharmacy or not. Other useful information on the website includes advice on how to properly store and dispose of medications and how parents can talk to their children and loved ones about the opioid crisis. Finalized numbers for 2017 have yet to be announced, but the New York Times reported that an estimated 72,000 Americans died of drug overdoses that year. With so many people across this country being touched by this crisis, additional tools ranging from information on how to recognize the signs of prescription and illicit drug abuse to navigating treatment options are also available on MedicineSafe.org and will be of great use to the public.