New Report Shows More People Buying Illegal Drugs Online
An increasing amount of people are ordering drugs over the dark web, according to a Global Drug Survey report released Wednesday.
Around 10 percent of respondents said they had used darknet markets, which can only be accessed with browsers that mask IP addresses, for drug purchases in the past year.
Finland has the highest percentage of people using the dark web to purchase drugs, with over 45 percent. England, the US and Australia are the runners-up, with 24, 18 and 17 percent, respectively.
The dark web has been online for seven years since the 2011 launch of the Silk Road, the first darknet marketplace where drugs and other illegal products such as weapons and violent or sexual services were offered.
The Global Drug Survey asked respondents to compare drug deliveries to another product frequently delivered to doorsteps: pizza.
Of 15,000 cocaine users, 30 percent said they could get cocaine delivered in less than 30 minutes. For pizza, this was only 16 percent.
The report mentions the prevalence of camera surveillance in big cities as one of the reasons why “traditional street dealing is becoming less attractive to many suppliers and customers.”
Using darknet markets and encrypted messaging, it is relatively safe and easy to get drugs delivered to your door.
Respondents come from Europe, Latin America, North America, Russia, the Balkans, Israel and South Africa and 40 percent of them said they had used illegal drugs in the last month.
When it comes to hard drugsm, two percent of respondents said they had ever injected drugs. Less than one percent said they had used crack, heroin or opium in the past 12 months.
The drugs most used are alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, MDMA, cocaine, amphetamine, mushrooms, and LSD. Almost one fifth of respondents answered they had used LSD at least once and over 98 percent said the same of alcohol. All the other most-used substances fall somewhere in between.
Almost one third of people have used MDMA and one fourth have used cocaine.
Cocaine remains the most expensive commonly used drug in the world. In South America, where most cocaine comes from, it can cost less than 10 euros (US$11.86) per gram. In Australia and New Zealand prices go up to 200 euros per gram.
Most cocaine in Europe, where it costs between 60 and 80 euros per gram, comes from Colombia, where a gram is sold for five euros.
The purity of cocaine in Europe has increased over the past years, which can be fatal and lead to higher dependence.
In the UK, 80 percent of recent cocaine users said they could get it delivered the same day using the dark web.
The ease of access and higher purity are likely to lead to more use and harm and indicate an abundance of supply, the report states. GDS also made the link to rising rates in crime and violence.
Despite scams where markets are closed and their owners run off with all the funds as well as law enforcement efforts to bring the markets down, the darknet drug markets continue to grow.
The increase in using the dark web to access both illicit and prescription drugs mirror regional variations in access to traditional drugs and the severity of drug laws, the report states.