FDA, NTIA Launch Partnership to Fight Illegal Opioid Sale Online

As part of a sweeping federal effort to combat the opioid crisis, two agencies will be working with domain name registries to make it harder to sell illegal opioids online.

The Food and Drug Administration and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration will create a framework of cooperation with domain industry stakeholders who are involved in the registration of domain names, including Neustar, Verisign and Public Interest Registry. The announcement came April 2 from David Redl, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information, who spoke

Neustar, who administers the .us domain, has policies that ban opioid sale or distribution, but enforcing them can be challenging, Redl said. The company has now agreed to beef up its enforcement and will work with third parties such as FDA to take action when policy violations happen.

The framework would provide better oversight in the domain name system and inform discussions about “trusted notifier” programs, Redl said.

“These programs can establish an expedited process for acting upon domain name takedown requests,” he said. “We’re confident that this approach can be designed in a way to allow domain industry actors to take action more quickly and better protect the public."

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