By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A follow up on our CBS-3 undercover investigation on Dangerous Deals, buying and selling prescription drugs without a doctor. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more on how police are cracking down on the growing problem, and the New Jersey man who was arrested because of our investigation is on the run again.
Powerful and dangerous drugs, in the wrong hands, is a growing health hazard. No prescription necessary on Craigslist. It can be used like a giant, illegal pharmacy, for everything from Percocet and Morphine to Adderall and Cialis.
“ It’s becoming a major epidemic,” said Detective Steve Hadley, with the Egg Harbor City Police Department. He checks Craigslist weekly for illegal activity.
“I was actually very shocked. I couldn’t believe how many individual ads there were,” said Detective Hadley. One ad caught his attention. $2,500 for 45 Oxycotin pills, a dangerous and addictive painkiller. The Craigslist ad contained an email address and phone number, to make the buy.
“When I was texting this individual he was well ya know I’m hoping you’re not a cop, and of course I said I’m not a cop,” said Detective Hadley.
Police charged 22-year-old Jonathan Santiago with possession of a prescription drug and intent to distribute.
“I’m sure a lot of people are doing it and getting away with it. It’s definitely dangerous,” said Detective Hadley.
Some experts say Craigslist is helping to fuel narcotic abuse, which is skyrocketing. Buying drugs here is also popular because prescription drugs are cheaper than a pharmacy and you don’t need a doctor.
“It could be potentially very harmful and very dangerous. You don’t know if the drugs are the true drugs. Are they tainted drugs? Are they expired?” said Dr. Rosemarie Leuzzi, with Cooper University Health Care.
In our CBS 3 undercover investigation last fall we posed as potential buyers. Among the sellers we encountered, Myron Prutzman.
“Call me in a week if you really want good pills,” said Prutzman. He had Cialis sample packs that he claimed came from a doctor.
“I got a female doctor. She opens up her drawer, and says here help yourself,” said Prutzman.
But when I showed up, he ran.
Stahl asked Myron, “Do you know you’re breaking the law? “
Prutzman replied, “I’m breaking the law, please don’t put me on camera though. I’ve got an important job.”
Stahl replied, “You could hurt people.”
Prutzman replied, “I’m sorry.”
We showed Egg Harbor Township police the video, and Prutzman was arrested.
Now Eyewitness News has learned he named a nurse practitioner as the person who gave him the drugs. But she wouldn’t talk to us when we asked about the case.
Meantime, we were there when Prutzman showed up for court two weeks ago, in Mays Landing.
Stahl asked, “Do you have anything to say?” Prutzman did not reply. He was arraigned on charges of unlawful possession with intent to distribute prescription drugs. He plead not guilty.
After court, Prutzman was on the run, again.
Stahl asked, “Myron, why are you running?”
Local and federal authorities wouldn’t confirm whether the nurse practitioner is being investigated.
And 3 On Your Side reached out to Craigslist to see why prescription drugs continue to be sold on the site, we got no response.