Trends in the availability and type of drugs sold on the internet via cryptomarkets
May 8, 2020
The Nation Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) recently released a report titled “Trends in the availability and type of drugs sold on the internet via cryptomarkets, January 2019 - January 2020.”
Cryptomarkets are encrypted online marketplaces that facilitate the purchase of illegal goods and services. There is evidence of increased use of cryptomarkets to access substances over recent years, and even as some of the marketplaces are taken down by police or engage in “exit scams” (whereby the market suddenly disappears, along with customer and vendor funds), new markets seem to rapidly emerge in their place.
Over the twelve month period of this study, 13 cryptomarkets were monitored and 7 were closed down. One cryptomarket (“Dream Market”) accounted for 80% of all drug listings until it closed down in April 2019. The study was able to track the gradual increase in listings on other smaller marketplaces, which increased as they appeared to take up some of the demand. Cannabis was the most commonly listed substance for sale, representing 32.3% of listings, MDMA comprised 12.4% of listings, cocaine 7.7%, and benzodiazepines had 7.3% of listings. The authors have made an online interactive data visualisation tool available, so you can drill down into the data that’s been collected, and look at different substances and different time periods.