Feeds

Broadband leads to drug abuse, say US boffins

Prescription drugs 'fast replacing' heroin, cocaine etc

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Greater internet access leads to an increase in drug abuse, according to docboffins in the US. The researchers consider that this is due to the fact that the internet offers the opportunity to illegally purchase prescription drugs from rogue online pharmacies.

"We know we face a growing problem with prescription drug abuse in the United States. One need only look at statistics for college campuses, where prescription drugs are fast replacing illegal substances, to see the magnitude of the problem," says Dana Goldman, a top boffin at the University of Southern California. "Our findings suggest that Internet growth may partly explain the increase in prescription drug abuse, since it is well known that these drugs are easily available online."

Goldman and his colleagues came to this conclusion by examining FCC data on access to broadband internet across the States, and correlating this with records on admission to treatment centres for abuse of prescription drugs. Particular favourites, apparently, include powerful narcotic painkillers like Percocet and Oxycontin, and various other painkillers, stimulants, sedatives and tranquillisers.

The study showed that each 10 percent increase in the availability of broadband in a state was followed by a 1 percent increase in admissions for prescription drug abuse. During the same period admissions involving abuse of alcohol, heroin or cocaine - substances not available online in the US - showed minimal growth or actually decreased. "Overall growth in drug-seeking behavior cannot explain the rise in prescription drug abuse," says Anupam Jena of the Massachusetts General Hospital, collaborating with Goldman on the research. "Further studies need to better evaluate how easily commonly abused prescription drugs can be purchased online and explore the importance to the problem of foreign Internet pharmacies, which are outside the jurisdiction of the US government."

Jena and Goldman's paper Growing Internet Use May Help Explain The Rise In Prescription Drug Abuse In The United States is published online by the journal Health Affairs. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.