Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio
A report released on January 24 by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Senator Rob Portman (R–Ohio), found that online purchases of opioids from Chinese websites is stunningly easy and that the U.S. has embarrassingly few tools to keep those drugs out (Source: “Opioids Entering U.S. by Mail with Little Resistance, Report Says,” Canton Repository, January 24, 2018).
Senate staff conducted their investigation by reaching out to a handful of websites they found through a Google search. They quickly identified six websites selling opioids, all in China, which the Drug Enforcement Agency reports is the top source of opioids from overseas. Investigators found it stunningly easy to engage with drug dealers online, with companies replying to requests for information in some cases in only a few minutes. Overseas sellers preferred payment in the digital currency bitcoin, but in some cases were willing to accept Western Union, PayPal, and even credit cards for their products.