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Unleash New Tools Against the Drug Dealers Who Are Killing Our Children “D.J story”
Our only child, “D.J.”, was a young man who had accomplished a great deal in his life and was looking forward to an even brighter future. He was a motor transport operator for the U.S. Army and earned both the National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon. Our pride in him is immense and we were excited about what lay ahead for him.
Today, D.J. is a member of a rapidly growing population – men, women and even children who have died of fentanyl poisoning. Last summer, while we were sleeping one night, D.J. was in his room experiencing his final moments of life, the victim of a synthetic drug that can kill instantly and is easily and frequently mixed into other drugs, including what some users believe are common painkillers or anti-anxiety medications.
A major problem that is contributing to these tragedies is counterfeit drug trafficking. Drug dealers are producing pills that look like legitimate medications, but often contain deadly fentanyl. And once fentanyl enters the mix of ingredients for these fake drugs, it becomes a game of Russian roulette for the users. As little as two milligrams can cause a person’s breathing to stop and bring about immediate death. That’s what happened to our son.
North Carolina is a hotbed for this illicit drug activity. We’ve seen episodes of it for years now. Dozens of medical practices were once implicated in dispensing counterfeit cancer treatments to patients battling that terrible disease. As far back as 2013, the Food and Drug Administration warned 14 doctors’ offices in the state to stop purchasing medicines from an unlicensed Canadian supplier. Today, we’re routinely seeing news stories about arrests involving hundreds, sometimes thousands, of pills containing fentanyl, making one wonder how many of these potentially deadly drugs are getting past law enforcement and into our communities.
To be fair to law enforcement, they don’t have all the tools they need to fight an enemy that is engaging in 21st century cyberwarfare against our health and safety. Many of these drugs are sold from websites – and there are literally thousands of them – that purport to be legitimate online pharmacies but that are frequently selling adulterated or counterfeit drugs. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy analyzed 12,000 of these cyber drug stores and found that 95 percent of them pose legitimate safety concerns.
If a brick-and-mortar storefront was selling this poison, police could move in and make arrests. But what do you do when the criminals operate solely on the internet? Maybe we need online solutions to overcome an online problem.
Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate and House that offers promise to shut down the web-based drug peddlers. The DRUGS (Domain Reform for Unlawful Drug Sellers) Act would require website domain name administrators to suspend sites when law enforcement authorities or regulators present evidence that those web pages are being used to sell illegal drugs. The website owners would have the right to appeal, but if they can’t present evidence proving they are legitimate pharmacies, they can be shut down for good. We strongly encourage Senators Burr and Tillis and our state’s House members to press for immediate passage of this legislation.
Since the loss of our son, we have devoted ourselves to raising awareness of the dangers of illicit and counterfeit drugs. Contrary to the popular phrase, misery does not love company. We don’t want any more mothers and fathers to endure the pain we’ve experienced. It’s time to use every tool at our disposal against the criminals who are causing shortened lives and devastating families.