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The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies strives to stay on top of the latest topics, trends and developments related to counterfeit online medicines and illegitimate internet pharmacies. This page will also be updated with CSIP happenings, as well as news from our members. Members of the media and others are invited to contact us for additional information.


US Justice Department Data Scientists Cull Prescription and Billing Records to Fight Opioid Epidemic


In 2017, the US Justice Department brought charges against dozens of health care professionals for writing over 350,000 illegal prescriptions for painkillers in Kentucky, Alabama, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia by analyzing prescription and billing data from state and federal sources. These data sources included Medicare, Medicaid and state pharmacy databases. Having access to opioid “big data” means faster and more reliable methods of building evidence to prosecute individuals and companies who are crossing the line and endangering the public.

According to a recently published article in the Wall Street Journal, a data scientist with a PhD leads a team at the Justice Department to mine the data that can be used to fuel traditional law enforcement practices such as undercover sting operations and identifying informants who can help gather further evidence. The team worked to charge more than 300 people (totaling $2 million) in 2018 – with more cases to come.

The use of big data to understand trends and monitor risk in opioid addiction is only going to expand. In July, the Washington Post made public on its website a dataset with information from the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) on the sale of pain pills. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) produces data maps that show the geographic distribution of opioid prescriptions by year. The application of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques will only fuel this work, as expanding data sets can be rapidly analyzed. 


Understanding Addiction to Pain Pills: Do We Have the Information We Need?


According to a recently published article on understanding addiction in The Atlantic, there was a “fourfold rise in prescription-related overdose fatalities” from 1999 to 2011. Since that time, the public health and medical communities have aimed to curb the overprescribing of opioids – a measure that has contributed to a five percent reduction in overdose deaths (CDC, 2018). Yet, should regulation of prescription pain medicine continue to be the primary avenue in addressing the opioid epidemic? Read More


First National Study on Opioid Addiction Recovery Released

Recovery word cloud concept

Each day over 130 Americans die from an opioid overdose. Programs and services that address both opioid prevention and opioid recovery are essential at the local, state, and federal levels. While research to date has focused on opioid prevalence and risk, there have been few studies on recovery practices. Individuals recovering from opioid addiction are in need of extensive services that address social, emotional, and physical barriers and challenges. A new study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine looked for the first time at the prevalence numbers for opioid recovery and found that “1.18 million American adults have resolved a primary opioid use problem.” Read More