The New York Police Department (NYPD) has been cracking down on online sales of prescription medications over Craigslist over the last 11 months. Their investigative work led to 21 arrests and the seizure of more than $19,000 in prescription pills and $10,400 of cocaine.
The individuals who allegedly peddled these medications came from a wide variety of backgrounds. Surprisingly, many were individuals with regular 9-to-5 jobs just looking to make some fast money. Although some were drug dealers who were also hawking a wide array of other illegal substances, many were just selling their own unused prescriptions or those they had stolen from family or friends. In fact, one was a financial adviser, another was a freelance photographer, and another was a grad student at NYU.
Why risk it? Police reports say that the Craigslist prescription drug peddlers were selling a single pill for as much as $20 when cops answered their ads.
Less Stigma for Prescription Meds?
Officers reported that one ad on Craigslist touted Percocet for sale and wrote “No LE please.” This abbreviation stands for “No law enforcement.” This may seem like a ridiculous statement coming from someone selling an illegal substance over the Internet, but police are not surprised. Cops and anti-drug advocates understand that the prescription pill epidemic in the US is partially driven by the fact that many people don’t find shame in abusing a substance that is legal, even if it’s being used in an illegal manner.
NYPD reported that some of the individuals arrested claimed they did not know that what they were doing was illegal. Though no one is falling for it, law enforcement says that no one would try that line if it were any other illicit substance.
Not Just Painkillers
Though prescription painkillers are the most commonly abused prescription drugs, the Craigslist dealers were also selling stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin. These substances are often abused by those who would like to increase their ability to focus and stay awake longer – often for academic purposes. It’s a new trend in prescription pill abuse, and it’s one that law enforcement is hoping to stop before it reaches the heights of painkiller abuse.
Despite Crackdown, Craigslist Drug Deals Continue
Some of the convicted prescription drug dealers received sentences as long as nine months for their crimes; however, this does not seemed to have scared everyone away from using Craigslist as a forum for prescription drug deals. Advertisements for prescription meds continue on the NYC area Craigslist. Officers reached out to the headquarters of the website to ask for help in controlling this problem but received no response.
How do you think the sale of prescription meds on Craigslist can be stopped? Share your ideas and leave a comment below.