Pubdate: Sun, 06 Feb 2005
Source: Messenger-Inquirer (KY)
Contact:  2005 Messenger-Inquirer
Author: Associated Press
Bookmark: (Oxycontin/Oxycodone)


WHITESBURG -- Attorney General Greg Stumbo has proposed a bill that would 
crack down on the delivery of prescription drugs into Kentucky via the 

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.