Office of Diversion Control, US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration



Report Suspected Unlawful Sales of Pharmaceutical Drugs on the Internet

Buying Controlled Substances Online

DEA Warning – Purchasing drugs online may be illegal and dangerous

Federal law prohibits buying controlled substances such as narcotic pain relievers (e.g., OxyContin®, Vicodin®), sedatives (e.g., Valium®, Xanax®, Ambien®), stimulants (e.g., phentermine, phendimetrazine, Adderall®, Ritalin®) and anabolic steroids (e.g., Winstrol®, Equipoise®) without a valid prescription from your doctor. This means there must be a real doctor-patient relationship, which by most state laws requires a physical examination. Prescriptions written by "cyber doctors" relying on online questionnaires are not legitimate under the law.

Buying controlled substances online without a valid prescription may be punishable by imprisonment under Federal law. Often drugs ordered from rogue websites come from foreign countries. It is a felony to import drugs into the United States and ship to a non-DEA registrant.

Buying drugs online may not be only illegal, but dangerous. The American Medical Association and state boards of medicine and pharmacy have all condemned the practice of cyber doctors issuing online prescriptions as unacceptable medical care. Drugs delivered by rogue websites may be the wrong drugs, adulterated or expired, the wrong dosage strength, or have no dosage directions or warnings.

DEA is targeting rogue online pharmacies for prosecution and shutting down these illegal websites. See the results of one such investigation, Operation Cyber Chase, at:

Report Suspicious Online Pharmacies

Additional Resources:

FDA - Buying Medicines Over the Internet (Quick Tips for Buying Online)

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Office of Diversion Control  •  8701 Morrissette Drive  •  Springfield, VA 22152  •  1-800-882-9539