New Strategy

Deeply concerned about growing evidence of internet drug traffic to youth, a unique collaboration was created in 2005, among Drug Strategies, the Treatment Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, the Center for International Criminal Justice at Harvard Law School and the Weill Medical Center at Cornell University. Over the next year and a half, the collaborative working group brought together leaders of companies that play key roles in internet commerce as well as officials of relevant government enforcement and treatment agencies.

The private companies included Internet Service Providers (ISPs), such as Verizon Online, AOL, AT&T, Earthlink, Microsoft, and Comcast; search engines, such as Google and Yahoo; banks, such as UBS and JP Morgan Chase; credit card companies, such as Mastercard, Visa and Paypal; and private carriers, such as UPS, DHL and Fed Ex. Government agencies which have participated include the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs and Border Protection, the Department of State, the U.S. member of the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board, and the offices of the Attorneys General in New York and Massachusetts. Senior staff members from key Senate and House Committees had also provided their advice.

Since January 2005, this “Keep Internet Neighborhoods Safe” initiative involved more than fifty participants and six meetings at Harvard Law School. In July, 2006, a two-day conference of high-level representatives of government agencies and private sector companies involved in internet commerce was convened at Harvard Law School. Subsequently, the group released a set of recommendations that create a comprehensive strategy for curtailing illegal internet drug sales to youth—or the “Keep Internet Neighborhoods Safe” initiative.