For every 10 percent increase in high-speed Internet use, admissions to treatment facilities for prescription drug abuse, including painkillers, rose by 1 percent, according to a study in Health Affairs.
There was no such rise in admissions for abuse of alcohol, cocaine and heroin, which are not readily purchased online. A previous study found a nearly fivefold increase from 1997-2007 in admissions for abuse of narcotic painkillers.
Illegitimate pharmacies on the Internet do not require a patient to visit a physician in advance to obtain a prescription. Some of them are "questionnaire pharmacies," which require users only to complete an online questionnaire before medication is dispensed.
Read the Health Affairs study on prescription drug abuse.
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