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The Deal Is…Online Drug Dealing

 

When people think of mass drug deals, they usually think of alleys, dangerous streets, or gangs. However, the reality of the situation is that one of the most common and potentially dangerous culprits is right under our noses, in something that we use every day: the internet. From the now infamous Silk Road to less secure networks that operate through listings for houses or jobs, the internet is becoming a place for people to buy and sell drugs with more anonymity, less inconvenience, and to top it off, the people buying and selling these drugs online feel as though they’re in less immediate danger.

The statistics regarding drug purchases via the internet are staggering, and have grown in recent years. For instance, the 2013 Global Drug Survey shows that 22% of users out of 22,000 survey participants reported they bought drugs online (Ball). In addition to that, the highly encrypted website, the Silk Road, grew so fast over this past year that it had to shut down its system for two weeks in order to revamp security measures. Although the sheer numbers are astounding, what is even more surprising to me is the general shift in attitude towards buying illicit drugs online.

The internet has always given a (fake) feeling of anonymity and safety to its regular users. Let’s face it: half of the things we say online, we wouldn’t say in person. The same attitude applies to people buying drugs online. People who wouldn’t want to buy drugs from a drug dealer because the immediate jeopardy they place their lives and freedom in are now free to buy and sell the same drugs that they won’t buy on the street. Because there are encryptions on these websites with code words and a lot of them require a bit of technical knowledge, people assume that they are invincible when it comes to the authorities. The truth, however, is much less pleasant than online drug purchasers would like to believe.

While immediate safety is somewhat improved, there are still many of the same consequences whether you’re buying and using drugs you got online or on Skid Row. Yes, you probably won’t get shot online during an exchange. No, you’re not immune to punishment. If someone could create a website that encrypts people’s identities and locations, there are people out there who can crack it – and those are people who the FBI and DEA are definitely going to want to have working for them. The other illusion that is astonishing to me is that buying drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and hallucinogens online is somehow more dignified than traditional means of getting drugs. It really doesn’t matter where you get these drugs, if you’re using them and develop a problem, you’re addicted either way.  People buying drugs online can’t assume they’re safer from judicial punishment or addiction than if they engaged in old fashioned drug use.

The internet is a phenomenon in many ways, and the drug world is no exception. People who would but do not use for fear of bodily harm or immediate arrest can now buy drugs to their heart’s content on secretive websites. Drugs are being shipped in the mail every day, and being bought by a semi-anonymous online currency. This doesn’t lessen the problem; it only changes the face of drug dealing and consumption. There isn’t a safe way to buy or use drugs, not even from a chair in your living room using your favorite pseudonym.

 

Works Cited:

Ball, James. “Internet drug dealing on the rise, survey finds.” World News | Guardian.co.uk. Guardian News and Media Limited, 18 April 2013. Web. 19 April 2013.

Chen, Adrian. “The Underground Website Where You Can Buy Any Drug Imaginable.” Gizmodo. Gawker Media, n.d. Web. 19 April 2013.

Jeffries, Adrianne. “Online drug dealers back on Silk Road after mysterious two-week outage.” The Verge. Vox Media, Inc., 21 November 2012. Web. 19 April 2013.

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Written by

A native New Yorker, Bre loves the California scene and writing for Treatment4Addiction. She has been writing content for T4A for five months, and loves to learn new things, form opinions, and send them out to the world. Her interests include dance, singing, acting, talking with friends, being a daughter, and being the best big sister she can to her 16 year old brother. After attending ASU for a few months, she is interested in taking cosmetology classes and exploring her options. She looks forward to learning all she can, and doing something positive with that knowledge and experience.

Filed under: Alcohol and Drugs, Substance Abuse · Tags: drugs, internet, Online

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