Linda Surks remembers her son Jason as a good-natured kid who made friends easily. "He was always compliant and accommodating, and just a real pleasant person," she said.
So when Linda and her husband, Mark, got a call telling them their son Jason, a 19-year-old sophomore at Rutgers University, was in the hospital, they had no idea what to expect.
"We thought he had come down with something and really didn't have any idea when we got to the hospital," Surks said.
They were told their son had died of a drug overdose.
"It was a double whammy," she explained. "To hear that your child has passed away, but to hear it happened the way it did was a total shock. I had no clue he was abusing."
That's because Jason didn't buy typical street drugs from some corner dealer. He got his fix from the Internet, the latest front in the war on drugs.
"After we collected his belongings from the university we went through his computer and we found some Mexican pharmacy Web sites that he had visited," Surks said. "We also found some evidence of an account that he had with one of these pharmacies."
Jason's death was a tragic irony for Linda, who works for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. "I work in prevention," she said. "That's a pretty telling statement to have to make -- that I know what to look for, I know how to talk to my kids about drugs and he really kept it very well hidden from us."
What most young people don't know is that prescription drugs like Xanax, when abused, can be as addictive and lethal as heroin.
"There's no fear of prescription drugs," said Steve Liga, executive director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Middlesex County, N.J.
Liga said the Internet has the potential to change the way the younger generation gets hooked on drugs. "What we used to see before the Internet was that prescription drugs were a later-stage addiction," he explained. These users typically worked their way up through marijuana, cocaine and heroin, and were considered hardcore addicts who stole their drugs from a pharmacy or diverted them from a doctor.
"What's happening now with the Internet is that it's almost flipped," Liga said. "We have people who never dreamed of using heroin or cocaine, but they have no problem taking an Adderall."
Law enforcement agencies now face the daunting task of taking down dealers who are almost impossible to trace, because they conduct their business and then disappear into cyberspace.
In just a few years, the number of Web sites selling potentially dangerous drugs without a prescription has increased exponentially. Right now, you can buy drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Xanax with your credit card from more than 1,000 Web sites and have them delivered directly to your door. And they are the real thing.
So how easy is it to get to one of these sites? Do you have to be a savvy insider? Drug Enforcement Administration agent Tim Stover took "Nightline" on a tour of the Internet-based drug world.
Agent Stover started with a simple Web search of "no prescription hydrocodon," which quickly yielded 141,000 listings. He then demonstrated how easy it was to submit an order. After selecting the drugs he wanted to purchase, he was asked to answer 10 simple questions and was then asked to submit his credit card information.