The teens of Generation Z have grown up with computers. Many had some type of computer-type toy as a toddler. For teens, paper encyclopedias are foreign. They get all of their information online. Teens also do much of their shopping online for music, videos, and other items. Researchers are finding out that teens are also using their computer skills to illegally purchase drugs from Internet sites that are selling them illegally online to people who do not have a prescription.
Online Drug Sites Easy To Find
A few keywords and clicks can allow children to find an Internet site that will sell them prescription drugs; no questions asked. Digital Citizens Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group, has been investigating just how easy it is for teens to get online and purchase drugs that are notorious for dispensing to friends to get a high. Oftentimes they are prescription painkillers that are sought out by teenagers.
The Alliance found that it’s not difficult to find these sites. They estimate that there are 40,000 to 50,000 Internet pharmacies that will illegally sell drugs. These pharmacies are in operation all over the world. LegitScript, which tracks all online pharmacies, reported that 97 percent of pharmacies used on the Internet do not operate legitimately.
No Age Verification, Valid Prescription Or Credit Card Needed On Many Prescription Drug Sites
When individuals pick up prescriptions from a pharmacy, they have to have a prescription, and often have to show some identification and sign their name that they were the purchaser. The Alliance found that all of these barriers were broken down when teens used the Internet to purchase their prescription drugs.
In their investigation they found that being underage, not having a prescription, and even using a credit card that was not theirs did not matter to the illegal online pharmacy. Essentially, the pharmacy just wanted to make a sale and had no concern for the teen’s health and safety. The undercover teen disclosed that he was 15 years old, did not have a prescription, and was using his father’s credit card but the pharmacies said that it was fine and they could still sell him his prescription painkillers.
Prescription Drug Dangers For Kids
Over 5 million children in the U.S. have abused prescription drugs. Some are finding these medications in their own home medicine cabinets while others are purchasing them online as easily as they can order a song from iTunes.
Using prescription drugs without a prescription comes with many dangers. If used improperly, prescription drugs are just as dangerous as any other illegal drug. Teens can suffer overdose, death, health problems, and addiction.
High Chance Of Mislabeling For Online Prescription Drugs
Sometimes the online drug company sends a different drug in a bottle labeled with the medicine the purchaser had ordered, according to Digital Citizens Alliance. Even for teens who think they know their drugs and know what they shouldn’t mix, this mislabeling of a drug could be deadly.
Educate Teens On Risks Of Prescription Drug Abuse
Law enforcement officials are working to shut down the thousands of illegal pharmacy sites. In the meantime, parents and doctors can be educating teens about the specific risks of abusing prescription drugs and empowering them with information so teens can make their own wise decisions.