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Internet Drug Trafficking Soars

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WASHINGTON, Oct 20, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The sale of prescription drugs on the Internet has become a huge pipeline for narcotics with virtually no medical monitoring, a report said Monday.

The online merchants feed a sprawling shadow market for prescription drugs, frustrating medical leaders alarmed by the threat to public health and investigators hard-pressed to keep up with web sites that open and close at a moment's notice.

"It's like rabbits," Wayne Michaels, a senior investigator for the Drug Enforcement Administration told the Washington Post. "Every day, there are more of them. They're up, they're down, they're foreign, they're domestic."

The agency recently created a six-person task force solely to track the online trade in narcotics. But officials acknowledged the effort is a form of "triage" amid an escalating crisis.

For the DEA, trying to police the growing number of online pharmacies "is like trying to work every corner drug dealer," said Laura Nagel, the agency's deputy assistant administrator. "We can't do it all."

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.


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