Last week 21 people of all walks of life were arrested for selling pills through Craigslist ads. A common ad would disclaim “I am not a cop” and would specify that their customers are not law enforcement either by writing “no LE [law enforcement] please.” But law enforcement officials soon became the biggest customers. Undercover narcotics agents began responding to ads last year and by the time the investigation finished they had made 63 drug purchases amounting in $10,400 in cocaine and $19,000 in pills according to the Associated Press. These buys were done in public settings like coffee shops, Grand Central Station and Washington Square Park.
Among those arrested were students, including an NYU graduate student, young professionals, including a financial advisor, and anyone else who wanted to make extra money through cleaning out their medicine cabinets. A typical ad reads, “Hello ladies and gentleman. If your in pain and need assistance look no further. I’ve got 30 (mg) ways to help!! ... Not affiliated with any sort of law enforcement? If ALL of these pertain to you, email me with what your looking for and we will work it out.” The Associated Press referred such Craigslist dealers as the “the smallest of small-time drug dealers.”
While it is possible that these small dealers blame the poor economy or the astronomical cost of living in New York City as their reason for selling, the more glaring reality is the sheer accessibility of drugs. Once addicted, people will go to great lengths to get their drugs, but are able to sustain their addiction much longer if their drug of choice is easily accessed. Prescription drug abuse is on the rise, especially among teens who steal pills from parent's and friend’s medicine cabinets. As such, illegal sales are also on the rise. The Craigslist arrests are just one battle among the surge of illegal sales of drugs like Percocet, Adderall and Roxycodone nation-wide. According to the Associated Press these transactions “now rival the cocaine and heroin trade both in volume and as a public health hazard.”
Despite law enforcement efforts, the Craigslist sales continue unchanged and extend to cities far beyond New York. Above is a screenshot of today’s Craigslist posting for prescription painkillers in Orange County, CA (click on photo to enlarge).
If you or a loved one struggles with prescription pill abuse, Passport to Recovery can help you on your road to recovery.
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