While law enforcement, sports leagues of all levels, and concerned parents are trying to deter the sweeping use of illegal steroids among young and not-so-young athletes, many of the users do not actually have to leave their home to get the steroids. MSNBC reports how illegal drug sellers list them as books or as other "drug-related" categories to circumvent EBay’s technological and human crime-detection units.
During an investigation dozens of items that seem to be anabolic steroids were listed on EBay (screenshot of EBay auction). Many of them were listed as a "book/pamphlet on Dbol," apparently a common EBay name for the actual drug among EBay drug sellers and buyers. Once notified, EBay took responsibility that the auctions "slipped" though their detection mechanisms. Rob Chestnut, EBay’s VP who is a former federal prosecutor admitted that EBay let these listings "slip."
The problem with EBay and most of the online auction sites is that unless they have strict policies and mechanisms to police their listings, they are likely to be misused by drug sellers. Although dealing illegal steroids through EBay is not something that we have seen often on "Law & Order," it certainly has the potential of becoming a new medium for drug distribution. If sellers are smart enough they can obtain a great level of anonymity in conducting their operations.
The MSNBC article writes that EBay were notified of the problem last year and the problem was discussed in Senate hearings last summer. Isn’t this sufficient to put EBay on notice of the problem so that the recent drug sales over their network shouldn’t have happened at all?