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Drugs and the internet

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Author: Joe Van Buskirk, Amanda Roxburgh, Raimondo Bruno, Lucy Burns

Resource Type: National Illicit Drug Indicatiors Project (NIDIP) Bulletins

Key findings
  • The number of retailers on the Silk Road increased (from 282 at time 1 to 374 at the last time point), while the number of retailers on the surface web remained relatively stable (92 at time 1 and 101 at the last time point). The increase on the Silk Road is largely driven by international rather than domestic retailers.
  • On the Silk Road, cannabis and EPS were sold by the largest number of retailers consistently across all time points, followed by MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-Nmethylamphetamine) and pharmaceuticals (primarily benzodiazepines and sildenafil).
  • The type of EPS available from surface web retailers differed substantially from the EPS available from those selling on the Silk Road. EPS sold on the Silk Road more closely mirrored those most commonly used by EDRS participants (i.e. people who regularly use psychostimulants) including drugs from the 2C-x and NBOMe categories, followed by DMT (dimethyltryptamine), Mephedrone and Methylone.
  • Average prices of methamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy being sold on the Silk Road remained stable across the time period. Average domestic prices for common quantities of these substances were comparable to prices paid for these same quantities by 2012 EDRS participants. Average international prices for these substances were substantially lower.