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November 23, 2014

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State senator calls out Craigslist for prescription drug sales

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Andrew Doughman

Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, passes an aide in his office. In the background is a poster from “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

Deaths from overdoses of prescription narcotics has "reached an epidemic," says state Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, who is urging a California company to curtail its online sale of the drugs.

Segerblom and California Sen. Ted Lieu have issued a statement asking Jim Buckmaster, chief executive officer of Craigslist, to end listing the sale of these drugs.

A representative of Craigslist said it prohibits the sale of these drugs on its website and has taken steps to minimize its advertisement.

William Powell, director of customer service and law enforcement relations for Craigslist, said Friday he would be willing to meet with Segerblom and Lieu to talk about further measures.

Segerblom said there were 15,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2011, ranking overdose deaths just behind deaths from auto accidents.

"Craigslist can be an avenue for persons to acquire such highly addictive and potent medication as OxyContin, Vicodin and Xanax among others" Segerblom and Lieu said.

"By allowing sellers to offer such drugs without a prescription as required by law, Internet websites such as Craigslist are contributing to the increasing number of deaths associated with these highly addictive abused drugs," the two senators said in a news release Monday.

Powell said the company shares the concern of the two lawmakers.

"Craigslist prohibits the sale of prescription drugs and other controlled substances on its site, and has implemented several measures intended to minimize such ads on Craigslist," said Powell.

Research by the Legislative Counsel Bureau shows that on Sept. 12 in Las Vegas there were 11 Craigslist advertisements each for Adderall and Xanax; four for OxyContin and one each for Hydrocodone, Morphine and Vicodin.

The senators sent a letter in August to Purdue Pharma requesting the release of information on physicians who overprescribed OxyContin, a pain killing drug that can become addictive.

Segerblom has said OxyContin is "basically heroin."

The company supplied the names of 29 Nevada doctors and the state Board of Medical Examiners said 19 had already been disciplined. It said three complaints are pending and two of the doctors named are dead. Two investigations were closed due to lack of evidence and three were not investigated due to the long delays in received a complaint.

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