In order to legally buy controlled substances on the Internet, a patient must have a prescription from a doctor with whom he has a real relationship, according to the Office of Diversion Control. In most states, the laws requires a physical examination before doctors write a prescription. A cyber prescription that an online doctor writes after the patient completes a questionnaire is not a legal prescription. Anyone who purchases a controlled substance without a valid prescription can face prison time.
Narcotic pain relievers, sedatives, anabolic steroids and stimulants require a prescription, warns the Office of Diversion Control, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Many of the online pharmacies that offer these medications without a prescription are from outside of the United States. Importing controlled substances is also illegal. Buying from these websites can also be dangerous, as there is no guarantee of product purity, strength or identity.
Before buying from an online pharmacy, the patient is responsible for verifying its legitimacy. One method is checking the pharmacy’s license number from the website with the state pharmacy board. Legitimate pharmacies also have a pharmacist to answer the patient’s questions about their prescriptions, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Legitimate pharmacies list a physical address in the United States and require a prescription.