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Professor Suspended for Internet Drug Dealing

A couple of months ago, the hidden website referred to as “The Silk Road” was shut down by federal authorities. As part of the “deep web” – an area of the Internet inaccessible to most users – the Silk Road served as a marketplace for illegal transactions. Users would place ads for everything from illegal drugs to offers of murder-for-hire and do in anonymously. Payments were similarly anonymized and the site saw a booming business in all manner of illegal activities.

When one of the principles running the site was finally tracked down and busted, feds gained access to the “backrooms” – the hidden data behind the marketplace. This has subsequently led to other charges and one, a junior faculty member at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, brings the story to Maryland.

Alexandra Gold, who taught in the field of obstetrics and gynecology, is charged with aiding her roommate, a licensed physician, in selling prescription pain pills through the Silk Road site. According to reports, Johns Hopkins is fully cooperating with investigators.

The two doctors are alleged to have sold controlled substances they obtained with their prescribing privileges, including Xanax, oxyodone and Adderall. According to The Baltimore Sun, the pair was not only selling drugs through the Silk Road site, but offering medical advice on ways to inject heroin and make drugs at home.

The temptation for medical professionals to use the Internet for illegal sales is the hands-off, “sterile” feeling that comes with simply selling anonymously and shipping out pills. There are no face-to-face meetings, no guns, and not much risk of running up against a cartel. The experience for the drug dealer is different – cleaner. It may not even feel criminal. But dealing drugs online carries the same penalties and does the same damage as doing it in some back alley. And now two doctors have put their careers at risk for a few dollars. Very sad.

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