The internet and drug markets
The last decade has seen the emergence of new internet technologies that have acted as important facilitators of online drug markets. Historically, illicit drug retail markets have operated in physical spaces, with associated practical limitations and boundaries. The development of virtual markets changes the dynamics of the selling and buying process, potentially opening the market up to a wider audience. Drug markets operating on the surface, or clear, web appear to be primarily associated with the distribution of either non-controlled substances or substances for which legal controls differ... between countries and jurisdictions (medicines, lifestyle products, new psychoactive substances, precursor chemicals). Online pharmacies have flourished, broadening their supplies from lifestyle products to performance enhancement products and prescription drugs. A rapid expansion of the online market for new psychoactive substances has been observed over the last decade, with these substances sold as both ‘research chemicals’ and ‘legal highs’ in online shops. Alongside these markets, the growth of social media has seen the emergence of forums and mobile applications where drugs are discussed, advertised and sometimes sold. This publication aims to unravel some of the complexities surrounding online markets: what they are, how they operate, the technologies underlying them and how they interact with the traditional drug market. Expert contributions come from a number of individuals who attended a meeting in Lisbon to share experiences and knowledge on the topic of the internet and drug markets. They represent a wide range of international expertise on both the deep web and the surface web, providing insights from IT, research and monitoring, law enforcement and drug user perspectives.
- Corporate author(s): European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction Themes: Public health, Social problems
- Subject: drug addiction, health policy, health risk, Internet, narcotic, public health, public safety, report, social problem, therapeutics
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