Drugs and New Technologies Issue 6, March 2016

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Author: Van Buskirk, J., Naicker, S., Bruno, R., Burns, L., Breen, C. & Roxburgh, A.

Resource Type: Drugs and New Technologies (DNeT) Bulletins

This bulletin is the sixth in a series by Drug Trends that provides analysis of trends over time in the availability and type of substances sold via the internet to Australia. The current bulletin reports for the time period July 2015 to December 2015.

Key findings

  • Eighteen marketplaces were actively monitored during the time period, six of which were first identified during this time.
  • The second largest marketplace identified in the previous bulletin, Agora, went offline in August 2015 amid security concerns and has not returned to date.
  • Consistent with the previous monitoring period, considerable downtime was experienced across marketplaces, in which markets were not able to be accessed. This appeared to be due to high volume traffic on larger marketplaces.
  • Nucleus and Alphabay were the largest marketplaces at the end of the monitoring period, recording the largest number of unique retailers.
  • Across these marketplaces, cannabis, pharmaceuticals, MDMA, cocaine and methamphetamine were the five most commonly sold substances, with NPS popularity slightly declining.
  • By December 2015, five of the eighteen marketplaces being monitored had closed, either as a result of scams, or various other reasons, reinforcing the volatility of these marketplaces.