Pubdate: Sun, 06 Feb 2005 Source: Messenger-Inquirer (KY) Contact: 2005 Messenger-Inquirer Website: http://www.messenger-inquirer.com Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1285 Author: Associated Press Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/oxycontin.htm (Oxycontin/Oxycodone) ATTORNEY GENERAL'S PROPOSAL TARGETS INTERNET DRUG TRADE WHITESBURG -- Attorney General Greg Stumbo has proposed a bill that would crack down on the delivery of prescription drugs into Kentucky via the Internet. If the bill passes, Kentucky would join Florida and Nevada as the only three states so far to have addressed the issue. Stumbo's proposal, based on existing laws in those two states, would require Internet pharmacies to register with the state to do business. Any packages of drugs would include a registration number, which delivery services could check to make sure the seller is legally registered. Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb said illegal drug deliveries have become increasingly common in his area. In recent months, drug dealers and addicts in Letcher County "have been wearing out our UPS and FedEx drivers," Webb said. The trucks drive up deep hollows and along creekside roads to deliver neatly wrapped parcels containing pain killers and tranquilizers. "This has become a major problem," he said. "We've gotten rid of the doctors who overprescribe. You almost need a signed certificate now saying you have cancer to get a prescription for OxyContin here, but you can still call up Web sites on the Net here and have these pain pills legally delivered to your house. It's just crazy." It's also easy, he said. Replying to an Internet message, a hypothetical resident fills out a form and receives a phone call from a doctor, he said. The doctor tells the patient he is going to bill the patient's credit card $110 to $175 for a consultation, asks for pain symptoms and then sends a package of pain killers, such as Lorcet or Xanax, he said. Often, the pills are sent collect-on-delivery, he said. Kentucky's problem mirrors a national trend. State police already are investigating Internet drug sales and are working with federal drug enforcement agents on a case in Florida, said Maj. Mike Sapp, who attended Stumbo's announcement in Frankfort. Stumbo said the state will ask shippers, such as UPS and the U.S. Postal Service, to cooperate with authorities enforcing the regulations by reporting suspicious packages. "It's unbelievable how many drugs are being shipped into our state on a daily basis," Stumbo said. At the same time, Webb said, parcel-service drivers are under siege. At times they feel more like they're working for Brinks than UPS or Federal Express, he said. In Hazard, Trooper Bruce Kelley arrested a suspect last fall who stole drugs from a parked UPS truck at a convenience store on the Knott-Perry county line while the driver was inside. The suspect knew what he was looking for, Kelley said. "These people who get those pills through the Internet, they know how these things are packaged," said Kelley. George Moore, commonwealth's attorney for Montgomery, Rowan, Bath and Menifee counties, said he has been surprised that a UPS or FedEx driver has not been killed by someone looking to steal the pills. Drivers have reported people following their trucks or trying to flag them down before they reach their destinations, Kelley said. "Most of the people who get the stuff are willing to pay for it," Kelley said. "They just can't wait for it to get to their house." The bill also would require Kentuckians to have proof of a face-to-face meeting with a doctor within six months before the prescription is delivered in order for it to be valid. Any entity found to be illegally shipping drugs could be fined by the Board of Pharmacy up to $100,000 or could be charged with a felony, Stumbo said. The bill will be sponsored by Rep. Mike Weaver, D-Elizabethtown, in the House and Sen. Dick Roeding, R-Lakeside Park, in the Senate.