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FDA in Brief

FDA In Brief: FDA Hosts Third Summit Focused on Reducing the Availability of Opioids Online

For Immediate Release:

The following quote is attributed to Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D

“The opioid crisis continues to be a national public health emergency with devastating and far-reaching consequences extending into nearly every community.

A key component of the FDA’s multipronged response is reducing the volume of opioids entering the country outside of the legitimate supply chain, including through illegal online sales. The most recent Online Opioid Summit was part of the agency’s continued efforts to find and implement innovative solutions to prevent the illegal sale of opioids through internet platforms and services.

Given the complexity of the issue, it is imperative that we include stakeholders from a variety of sectors in the conversation. These summits provide stakeholders a unique opportunity to collaborate, leverage expertise and explore meaningful ways to help reduce the availability of opioids online.

Responding to this crisis remains a top priority for the FDA and we will maintain our focus on examining and responding to all facets of opioid abuse, misuse, addiction, overdose and death in the U.S.”

Additional Information

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hosted its third Online Opioid Summit, “Reducing the Availability of Opioids Online,” on Sept. 9, 2021, as part of the agency’s efforts to address the illegal availability of opioids online.
  • The Summit attendees included internet stakeholders, government entities, academia, and other important partners within the internet ecosystem.
  • Discussions during the virtual meeting addressed topics including the evolving landscape of online opioid purchasing, such as younger and more vulnerable populations being exposed to these dangerous opioids through social media and other online platforms; ways to enhance cross-industry and global collaboration; successes and novel solutions implemented since prior summits; and new ways to continue to prevent the illegal sale of opioids through internet platforms and services.
  • Despite the tremendous health risks associated with opioids illegally being sold online and the successes we have seen to limit online opioid distribution, we continue to see websites and other online platforms that make it far too easy for U.S. consumers to purchase these dangerous products. This includes substances with abuse potential other than opioids such as benzodiazepines and stimulants that are sold illegally online.
  • The FDA is committed to addressing the national crisis of opioid abuse, misuse, addiction, and overdose on all fronts, with a significant focus on decreasing exposure to opioids and preventing new addiction; supporting the treatment of those with opioid use disorder; fostering the development of novel pain treatment therapies; and taking action against those involved in the illegal importation and sale of unapproved and misbranded opioids.

Related Information



The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.


Lauren-Jei McCarthy
(240) 702-3940

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