There’s a huge and over-the-top hysteria surrounding the possibility of the sale of Xanax and Vicodin to children by drug sellers and pushers on the internet. People in America are over-rushing to buy a product that is already readily available to minors.
In a private Facebook post, an ambulance worker from Philadelphia makes a very clear statement that well-meaning people are not likely to see the error of their ways.
Philadelphia Ambulance Service is a private company, but we’ve trained volunteers in city and county EMS programs. We don’t work for the government, but for the public safety community.
The social mediasphere is currently in a frenzy. Pharmacies, online pharmacies, pill shops, dealers and fake pharmacies alike are springing up to respond to a news article from this past Sunday, in which an 18-year-old was found to have purchased a lot of pills online. The drug dealer then allegedly sold drugs to his teenage girlfriend and his young cousin in Philadelphia.
The story makes for great clickbait — it will likely lead to more young Americans being addicted to opioids. Even for those who are sickened by this story, it won’t have an effect on their ability to get the pills they’ve already bought.
Every city and county knows this. Authorities have long documented the lack of prescription pill monitoring programs to determine if a prescription was written to a minor. Plenty of Americans currently have prescriptions, just like the rest of the world. This will remain the case unless the nation reverts to regulations that give governments the power to regulate almost everything.
Pharmacies are filling prescriptions, far more than they can resell. Over-the-counter medicines are being reported to the federal government, but because of FDA regulations, those medicines are not regulated. Price-gouging is something the people who are “coming” for the pills are reportedly convinced is a problem.
The teenagers arrested have reportedly admitted to purchasing the drugs online for themselves and their friends. It makes no sense to believe that these kids had to fight for pills they already purchased.
The Health and Human Services secretary has proposed a plan that would require pharmacies to report on the number of prescriptions sold to children each month, but this is bound to become a hot topic at Capitol Hill this month.
At the very least, one would hope that retailers and pharmaceutical companies would be in favor of measures that would prevent abuse and addiction. It would not surprise me, however, to find the drug companies completely opposed to anything that would make any company’s business model more vulnerable to regulation.
This is not an effort to say that all purchasers of opioids online are underage, or even all buyers of opioid medicines, whether they are not of age or not. We don’t even know if these teenagers had their own prescriber, or if they were prescribed the prescribed narcotics for a doctor visit.
I’m sad for the affected teenagers, and I am saddened by the way this hysteria has taken the nation’s attention away from places that need it most: the border and the opioid epidemic.
Congress should continue to work to address the drug crisis, as should the Trump administration. But the DEA should also work with state attorney generals and agencies to set aside any need to rush and implement burdensome regulations, and to take a hard look at a program that will have no effect on lowering the number of opioids sold to minors.
Had news cameras not found these kids, we might never have heard about their situation.
Eric J. Rademacher is a licensed emergency medical technician and a resident of Ft. Worth, Texas.