Elderly, poor, addicts easy prey

Serious risks involved with using foreign pharmacies

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Buying prescription drugs outside the United States may be cheaper and more convenient.  But, it also involves serious risks that every consumer should keep in mind.

"My sister was a police officer and she had a very stressful job and she was taking prescription drugs," explained Ninia Ossana.

Ossana found her sister was taking large quantities of these drugs, obtained online and over the phone.  Her sister took her own life and Ossana was determined to find out why.

"In the weeks after she died, I got 100,000 doses of these drugs. There is no reason for anyone to have that many doses of any drugs," Ossana said.  "I had her cell phone and she would get 33 calls a day. The vendors would call and say 'I just sent your prescriptions, I just sent your drugs to you – Can I send you more?'"

Postal inspectors say buying drugs outside the United States is dangerous.

"Take the FDA approved drugs obtained from your doctor," warned U.S. Postal Inspector Quiana Valentine.

Telemarketers lure customers with cheaper prices and convenience.  The elderly, poor or those with an addiction are often easy prey.  Some advice: Know what you're buying.

"Do not trust your health to these overseas vendors, we don't know the exactly what is in the pills, the potency, how they will interact with other drugs you're currently taking," said Valentine.

Postal Inspectors and agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration are working together to trace the origin of these packages Ossana's sister received.

 "What I want is for no other family and friend to have to go through what I went through with my sister," said Ossana.

Experts say only purchase prescription drugs from sources you know you can trust.  To do otherwise involves risking your health and your life.

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