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Supporting the President’s Call to Action Against Opioid Abuse

April 03, 2019 by David Redl, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator

Fighting opioid abuse is a major priority of the Trump Administration. Nearly $6 billion in new funding over the past two years has gone into multiple programs to stop the flow of these dangerous drugs, and help those struggling with addiction. The President’s call to action resulted in the Justice Department’s shutting down the largest “darknet” for the online distribution of drugs in 2017.

We’re proud to announce a new step in the online battle against illegal opioid distribution. The Food and Drug Administration and NTIA have joined in a novel approach to work with domain name industry players to curb online availability and sales of illegal opioids.

As part of the effort, Neustar, the company that administers the .us top level domain on behalf of the Department of Commerce, announced it will step up enforcement of those who violate its existing ban on the sale or distribution of illegal opioids.

Neustar is using advanced search tools that can detect high-risk keywords in domain name strings. When a site is found to be in violation, Neustar works with relevant authorities to determine an outcome, which may include removing it from the DNS or deleting the domain name. Members of the public can report suspicious or illegal domain name activity within the .usTLD to abuse@about.us.

FDA and NTIA are working with other key entities that have a role in the registration of domain names, including Verisign, which oversees .com, and Public Interest Registry, which manages .org, on a framework focused on reducing the availability of opioids illegally offered for sale online. It also will help increase transparency and accountability in the domain name system and inform future conversations about “trusted notifier” programs expected to take place at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

NTIA looks forward to doing all we can to help solve the opioid crisis. This effort fits with the longstanding U.S. approach to Internet governance and policy development. We believe that bottom-up, consensus-based processes create policies that are trusted throughout the Internet ecosystem.