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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Officials Use Website to Determine Prescription Drug Prices

A website, which on the surface appears to provide a valuable tool for addicts looking to find the going price of certain prescription drugs, may actually prove more valuable for law enforcement. StreetRx is the name of a website where people can anonymously post how much they paid or sold prescription drugs for on the black market, The Denver Post reports. Law officials and academics can use the site to track prescription drug price trends; the site also gives undercover officers an edge when conducting prescription drug stings on the street.

StreetRx helps officers make decisions about undercover buying and selling. In order for undercover officers to seem legitimate to dealers, they need to have an understanding of what addicts are currently paying for a particular drug, according to the article. The site has about 2,500 unique visitors a day, many of which are posting drug prices.

”The biggest value for us is, if an undercover agent is posing as an addict or a dealer, he has to know what he should be offering to be credible,” said John Burke, head of the Warren County Drug Task Force in southwest Ohio.

The website was founded five years ago by Dr. Richard Dart, director of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center. StreetRx gives officials a better understanding of market forces, showing them which policies are having an effect on the prescription drug epidemic. When OxyContin was reformulated, incorporating abuse-deterrent properties, both the street popularity and price of the drug decreased, the article reports.

"They changed the formula so you can't crush it easily," Dart said. "If you get it wet, it gets gummy. Not good for intravenous abuse, which delivers a drug more quickly and at greater strength. A drug taken orally is only partially absorbed. It was a huge success."

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