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Decoding drug cryptomarkets

Cryptomarkets, also known as darknet markets, are trading points that utilize the anonymity of the web for carrying out sale and purchase of goods, drugs and data retrieved through unlawful means. Concurrent with the advent of online shopping sites, there has been a marked increase in the size of cryptomarket in recent times.

These pose a threat not only to the security and economy of a country, but to the well-being of citizens as well. America, which is in the midst of the worst opioid crisis ever, has witnessed the problem at a large scale. If reports are to be believed, many of these drugs are clandestinely shipped from remote locations in Asia, Latin America and Europe. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report, drug transactions reported an increase of 50 percent per year between 2013 and 2015.

Unfortunately, it is quite challenging to control the darknet market, as it operates secretively. Firstly, it is not possible for everyone to become a member due to the stringent rules. For most drug dealers, cryptomarkets or online black markets are extremely desirable. It is relatively safer than selling drugs on the street due to the presence of law enforcement agencies in pursuit of the drug dealers.

As most cryptomarkets operate only through invites, it is extremely difficult to crack the code and know someone’s identity and location unless an investigator has infiltrated the site. Furthermore, users are able to maintain anonymity during communication through the software Tor. In many instances, neither the customer nor the dealer is aware of the other’s identity or location. Since currencies used in such illegal markets are crypto-currencies like Bitcoin, one cannot trace the details of the user. As a result, identity of both the buyer and the seller remains protected.

Marijuana high on demand in cryptomarket

One of the first cryptomarkets for drugs was Silk Road. However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shut down the site in 2013. Rather than demotivating illegal drug dealers, around 20 odd such markets remain operational today. The valuation of drugs sold in these markets could be billions.

Cannabis is the most popular drug sold online. Other popular drugs include ecstasy, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or Molly), stimulants like meth and cocaine, prescription drugs and psychedelics, among others. In certain instances, dealers also resort to selling performance enhancers, such as Viagra and steroids.

Drugs sold in the darknet market are pushed as pure and unadulterated. However, there have been instances where fentanyl, a drug more powerful than regular opioids, was sold in place of heroin in the past. Since fentanyl is fatal even in small doses, it raises the alarm bell for the authorities to be more vigilant about the packages sold online.

Drugs ruining the economy

Besides being a major public health concern, drugs facilitate corrupt practices and ruin the country’s economy in the long run. Therefore, it is important to stem the tide while there is still time. Taliban, one of the most dreaded organizations in the world, once controlled opium trafficking in the AfPak region, a hotbed of drug trade. It still uses the proceeds from opium sales to carry out its nefarious activities.

If you or your loved one is addicted to any drug and looking for support, contact the Florida Drug Addiction Helpline to get the relevant information. For any questions related to addiction, its symptoms and treatment options, our representatives can assist you. They can connect you to some of the finest treatment providers in Florida. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-982-2401 or chat online with an adviser to locate the best drug rehabs in Florida and begin the journey to a drug-free life.

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