The Darknet is popping up in the news more these days. Thanks to the rise of bitcoin, established in 2009, people are flocking to darknet markets to make all types of purchases. Many illegal drugs typically purchased off the street for hard cash are now bought directly from these Darknet markets. Many darknet markets have been vulnerable to hacking as a result of their bad behavior, as was the case with Alphabay recently. As a result, government officials and security personnel in different countries are in a panic to defuse the situation.
The latest news story is about students in the United Kingdom seeing the Darkweb as an option for their drug fix. Because they can use bitcoin, the value of the drugs are lowered and the possibility of buying bulk is greater. More importantly, it is incredibly convenient to do it from the comfort of a dorm room on campus.
“At first it was sort of difficult as I wasn’t sure how many precautions you had to take and I got really frustrated,” *Alex Lightman said. “Some people advise you online to ‘tumble’ your Bitcoins, use VPNs or even tails (a different Operating System), but it turns out if you’re ordering for personal amounts it really doesn’t matter. I learned about it all from Reddit,” he concluded.
People wonder how these drugs get to the customers who orders them; how it is packaged to deceive the outsiders. Simon, a student at the University of Nottingham revealed to reporters that sometimes, the drugs are packaged to make it look like a business letter. He added that ones these packages are opened, it reads something like “come visit this island resort, see the national bird and the glorious country.” This is normally done to save both the dealer and the buyer from possible suspicion. However, Simon revealed something interesting that “If you’re a person just buying 10 pounds worth of stuff, no one cares. When you think about it from the perspective of law enforcement, they are there to get the sellers rather than buyers.”
In 2013 the infamous Silk Road darknet market was closed. However, it was the tip of the iceberg. Following its closure, dozens of more markets emerged from its ashes. And with it increased the drug traffic and online purchases. It created the awareness for drug dealers to exploit the online option of dealing drugs silently. It is true that Darknet markets like the Russian Silk Road exist for safe trading, drug-free. However, many youths are now looking for drug fixes quickly.
To the sellers, there is nothing as important to them as the profit. The profit looks good enough to force one into it just as Dean; a student of the University of Cambridge stated: “I earn between a grand to a grand and a half a term.” Adam Winstock, the founder of Global Drug Survey stated in one of his posts that, “It is possible that the products purchased on the Darknet are safer to use.
Is there a correlation between increased in university student drug addiction and drug access on the darknet? One can only speculate. However, the high expansion of darknet markets is only increasing. And the drugs deals for younger people are also increasing with it. The UK Government also knows this poses a serious threat to the future of its country
Survey Conducted on Darknet Student Drug Use
According to the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs, 40% of teenagers in the United Kingdom are reported to have taken Cannabis and ecstasy at least once. In addition, compared to other countries they have a high cigarette smoking rate and are highly ranked in the category of shameful drinking. This survey was conducted in dozens of countries across Europe. Specifically, it focused on questioning 15-year-olds and 16-year-olds from high schools across the UK. Over 300 students were sampled for answers from over 200 schools in the denser populated English cities.
This does not end just with one survey either. Another report released by RAND in 2016 confirms that the United Kingdom had the highest level of drug use across Europe when purchasing drugs online. The report was commissioned by the Dutch government.
The UK government has shown concern on the rampant usage of drugs. Actions are taken to fight against drugs among the youth. In 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government members introduced new policies to reduce the sale online. The hope is to decrease the online purchases. The National Crime Agency was established by the UK government to strengthen this policy by coordinating national and international efforts to cut the supply of drugs.
It is interesting to know that the laid down actions yielded a positive result. These measures cut down the drug intake among children and the youth. In addition, drug-related death in England and Wales have fallen drastically in three years following the policies. While these measures have been successful, but they still need to be strengthened.
Darkweb deals have been projected to expand in the future, and so will the youth who deals in illegal trades. Even though some policies are capable of saving the situation, it is still the truth that people are always ready to engage in illegal drugs. However, it takes the power of time to show the strength of policies employed.
Why So Easy to Buy on Darknet
Darknet markets have won the trust of several drug dealers, and they find it quite secured to do all sorts of illegalities over there. However, this is not always true, because the FBI and other Security personnel have recently been fishing out some drug dealers in the Darkweb.In other for the youth to hide their deals, they resort to Darknet markets, which several of them run on hidden IP addresses. These markets usually run on a network known as Tor. This is an access point to the Deep web and makes information hidden to Google or other search engines. To engage in drug dealings in a market that does not expose the dealer’s identity to any third-party sound convincing to people to entrust them with their trade.
Also, the cryptocurrency which is widely used in Darknet markets for transactions also makes their activities untraceable. It makes many transactions private or Hidden. As a matter of fact, Bitcoin is the primary currency in Darknet markets including Silk Road 3.
It is thus an undeniable truth that the popularity of Darknet is changing the way young people take drugs not only in the United Kingdom but also in different corners of the world. If serious measures are not taken to control the rate of drug supply to the youth, the future will be very scary. RAND, in 2016 came out with another report which revealed that the Darknet has started to play a pivotal role in supplying drug markets in an offline, to create street dealers who buy in bulk at a cheaper price and sell on for profit. Moreover, researchers came out that a quarter of the drug sales were for listings worth more than $1,000, and thus suggest that the purchased drugs were intended for resale.
*Name changed for protection