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Guidelines for Governments on Preventing the Illegal Sale of Internationally Controlled Substances Through the Internet

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2009
26 pages
These guidelines provide assistance to countries in crafting national legislation and policies for prescribers of medicines, pharmacists, law enforcement authorities, regulatory agencies, and the public in the use of the Internet to dispense, purchase, export, and import internationally controlled substances.
Internet-based services are an important complement to the services provided by the traditional health-care system, particularly for people in remote areas with limited access to medical services; however, the Internet is increasingly being misused for illegal activities. Among criminal activities perpetrated through the Internet, drug trafficking has reached major dimensions. Internet-based drug trafficking includes the sale of illicit drugs and, increasingly, the illegal sale of pharmaceuticals that contain narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. In several countries, the abuse of prescription drugs has become a major problem, second only to the abuse of cannabis. Since most countries do not have sufficient legislation, administrative regulations, structures, or cooperative mechanisms to counteract these activities, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has produced guidelines on matters related to such illicit Internet sales. They are intended for use by national competent authorities. Legislative and regulatory provisions pertain to general legislation on the Internet and the mail, specific legislation on Internet pharmacies, and legislation concerning internationally controlled substances. General measures addressed in the guidelines pertain to the monitoring of supply channels, as well as information exchange. Guidelines for legislation related to national and international cooperation focus on national cooperation mechanisms and international cooperation. Appended glossary