Operation Gray Lord: Going After Internet Drug Purchasers

The U.S. has announced the formation of Operation Gray Lord, a joint task force of the DEA and FDA which will pursue those involved with the buying and selling of illicit drugs on the internet:

The Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration, have formed a special task force to crack down on the growing tide of illicit sales of narcotics on the Internet.

And for the first time, regulators are hinting that those who order the drugs may face prosecution. "It's illegal to import narcotics," Mark B. McClellan, the F.D.A. commissioner, said in an interview. "We do have steps in place to intercept such products and to take further legal action."

The task force, called Operation Gray Lord, will include officials from the Justice Department, some local law enforcement agencies and perhaps even top law enforcement officers from Canada because much of the trade originates there. Task force members intend to pursue the purveyors of prescription narcotics aggressively...

Elizabeth Willis, chief of the drug operation section of the D.E.A.'s office of diversion control, says:

If a prescription is written by a doctor based solely on information from an online questionnaire, it's not valid, so the distribution is illegal."

We don't like the idea of going after drug purchasers -- the ultimate users. Here's where the "Rush Limbaugh defense" may kick in, if he ends up not being charged. Why should he get to go into treatment and avoid prosecution for illegally purchasing prescription drugs if others don't get that opportunity? Our recommended solution is not to prosecute Rush, but to afford all purchasers caught through Operation Gray Lord the option of a diversion program to avoid a criminal prosecution and conviction.

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