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Drugs and New Technologies Issue 7, October 2016

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Author: Joe Van Buskirk, Sundresan Naicker, Raimondo Bruno, Associate Professor Lucinda Burns

Resource Type: Drugs and New Technologies (DNeT) Bulletins

This bulletin is the seventh in a series by Drug Trends that provides analysis of trends over time in the availability and type of substances sold via the internet on the darknet. The current bulletin reports for the time period January 2016 to June 2016.

Key findings

  • Sixteen marketplaces were actively monitored during the time period, one of which was first identified during this time.
  • The second largest marketplace identified in the previous bulletin, Nucleus, went offline in March 2016, apparently due to an exit scam.
  • Despite downtime across smaller markets, there was notable consistency in both uptime and the rate of increase in vendor numbers across larger markets.
  • Alphabay and Dream Market were the largest marketplaces at the end of the monitoring period, recording the largest number of unique vendors.
  • Across these marketplaces, cannabis, pharmaceuticals, MDMA, cocaine and methamphetamine were the five most commonly sold substances, with NPS popularity slightly declining.
  • By December 2015, two of the sixteen marketplaces being monitored had closed, either as a result of scams, or various other reasons, reinforcing the volatility of these marketplaces.