Governments should do more to crack down on the illicit trade in controlled drugs over the internet, according to a new report by a UN organisation.
The International Narcotics Control Board reports that there is an increase in dealers using cyberspace to market narcotics and mind-altering drugs.
Its annual report says internet pharmacies are shipping prescription- only drugs across the globe.
They are targeting former patients who have become addicted to drugs, it says.
DRUGS AVAILABLE ON THE NET
Abolon, an anabolic steroid
Clozapine, an antipsychotic
Evista for osteoporosis
Hyzaar for high blood pressure
Prozac for depression
Ritalin for hyperactivity
Tamoxifen for breast cancer
Viagra for impotence
The report warns the drug ritalin - used to treat hyperactive children - carries a high risk of abuse but was advertised on some websites as a "mild and harmless stimulant".
It calls on governments to ask the judiciary to "ensure that adequate penalties be attributed" to people caught trafficking controlled drugs on the internet.
An INCB board member, Hamid Ghodse, told a news conference in London that the trafficking of controlled drugs over the internet was "extremely serious".
"There are more sites on how to make drugs, how to manufacture and produce them and even how to avoid detection by the police than there are on drugs education."
The INCB also reported the following findings:
* European governments are creating a "permissive environment" for drug users, which could lead to a rise in the trade of illegal drugs across the continent.
* Europe is a major producer of synthetic drugs such as ecstasy. Governments should tighten controls on "precursors" - legal chemical compounds which are used to make illegal synthetic drugs.
* Drug traffickers are targeting middle-class US citizens with high-purity heroin that they can smoke rather than inject.
* A shift from growing crops to cultivating cannabis is worsening food shortages in Africa. The drugs trade is also funding wars in the continent.
* Turkmenistan is not doing enough to stem the flow of heroin coming from neighbouring Afghanistan. Afghanistan is the world's top producer of the opium poppy which is used to make heroin.
Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.