Online Drug Markets and
Novel Psychoactive Drugs
Web Science Institute and the Doctoral Training Centre at the
University ...
Ireland and Novel Psychoactive
substances
2005 - 6 headshops dublin city centre only
Mescaline plants untraditional substa...
2007 white powder product range came
onto the market substances being sold as
cocaine type effect
€25 a half gram
31st Mar...
Mephedrone IV
23rd August 2010 Psychoactive Substances Act became law – The
ultimate aim of this legislation was to shut down the head s...
“The whole head shop thing was a massive deal for us it broke down
barriers and taboos , we found there were school kids c...
Where Now
“Tablets are very much high on the list I would say in the
last two years, with the closure of the headshops
imm...
“People using cocaine or what people think is
ecstasy, then we find out through analysis it is BZP a lot
of those tablets ...
 Some suggest that the public health burden from
emerging drugs may increase after regulation. The
transition from licit ...
Customs Seizures since 2011
There are 808 seizures of Psychoactive Substances recorded on our systems. These
total approxi...
The online promotion of ‘drug
shopping’ and user information
networks is of increasing drug policy,
public health and law ...
Silk Road Market Place
Silk Road Users

Runa A. Sandvik
Silk Road’, the virtual drug marketplace: A single case study of user
experiences Van Hout & Bingham (2013)

 Online rese...
Surfing the Silk Road’: A study of users’ experiences.
Van Hout & Bingham (2013)
 Few reported prior experience of online...
Responsible Vendors, Intelligent Consumers: Silk Road, the online
revolution in drug trading Van Hout & Bingham (2013)
 V...
Market Places now closed
Black Market Reloaded

Atlantis
Utopia Market place seized
Users had claimed that the site loaded
much more quickly than Silk Road and
with the added fact...
11/02/14 the site was seized by
the Dutch Police.

After Utopia was seized , a moderator of the Silk Road forums posted a ...
Market Places
An i2p based marketplace

One of the new markets

A Thriving Russian marketplace

Requires a referral link t...
The environment is changing
Bitcoin Turmoil After Mt Gox Exchange 'Theft‘
 Reports 6% of Bitcoins in circulation, worth r...
Contact information
 Tim Bingham
 Email info@timbingham.ie
 www.timbingham.ie
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Online drug markets and novel psychoactive drugs

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Online drug markets and novel psychoactive drugs

  1. 1. Online Drug Markets and Novel Psychoactive Drugs Web Science Institute and the Doctoral Training Centre at the University of Southampton 25th February 2014
  2. 2. Ireland and Novel Psychoactive substances 2005 - 6 headshops dublin city centre only Mescaline plants untraditional substance being sold between €30 - €400 Magic mushrooms Controlled substances 2006 – BZP ( herbal ecstasy) Head shops expanded .Young people who were not using drugs were introduced to these drugs as they were being sold in the retail outlets known then as ‘legal highs’ not for human consumption selling for €5 a pill strength up to 540mg per pill compared to 100mg in an ecstasy tablet containg MDMA Late 2006 pre cursor to making MDMA methylethylketone became unavailable to groups who were in Holland and Belguim
  3. 3. 2007 white powder product range came onto the market substances being sold as cocaine type effect €25 a half gram 31st March 2009 1 BZP became a controlled substance Synthetic cannaboids were being introduced into the shops which were increasing in popularity By the end of 2009 102 shops were open throughout the country July 2010 7 cathinones controlled all BZP group were generically controlled Naphyrone arrives onto the market
  4. 4. Mephedrone IV
  5. 5. 23rd August 2010 Psychoactive Substances Act became law – The ultimate aim of this legislation was to shut down the head shop industry. There was no offence for personal possession under this act of a psychoactive substance that was not controlled 4 tonnes of psychoactive substances were handed in overnight
  6. 6. “The whole head shop thing was a massive deal for us it broke down barriers and taboos , we found there were school kids college going people there is that term experimentation it lifted all the barriers people don’t get involved with that because people don’t want to have to deal with the nasty side, don’t want to deal with criminals Our robberies were going through the roof because people were becoming addicted heavily on that, people who had never ever come to the attention of the Gardaí who came from good homes , good education were all of a sudden were robbing people on the street and beating them, their motive for doing it was to get more money.”
  7. 7. Where Now “Tablets are very much high on the list I would say in the last two years, with the closure of the headshops immediately after that we were found that a lot of stuff that had gone underground we were still occasionally making seizures there were still stuff around particularly BZP tablets somebody had these in storage, there have been instances of large seizures, in one instance we had a seizure of ½ million BZP tablets, the person who was holding onto them was of the firm belief they were ecstasy tablets .”
  8. 8. “People using cocaine or what people think is ecstasy, then we find out through analysis it is BZP a lot of those tablets have gone underground and are emerging on the scene, people don’t really know what they are using but are willing to at the same time. Cocaine as well it is being mixed up with headshop stuff”
  9. 9.  Some suggest that the public health burden from emerging drugs may increase after regulation. The transition from licit to banned substance would move marketing from legitimate retail outlets to the black market. As a result, street dealers may increasingly handle these products before it reaches end users; dealers are known to use cutting agents, which may include toxic substances. The increase in impurities and decrease in the awareness of content is likely to lead to negative consequences for users (Winstock et al. 2010). Winstock, A., Mitcheson, L., & Marsden, J. (2010). Mephedrone: Still available and twice the price. Lancet, 376(9752), 1537.
  10. 10. Customs Seizures since 2011 There are 808 seizures of Psychoactive Substances recorded on our systems. These total approximately 762 tablets (ecstasy type) & 15.968Kg (Amphetamine type & Spice) Country of Origin Seizures Substance Afghanisatan 1 Spice Austria 9 Spice China 3 Amphetamine Type Czech Republic 29 Spice Spain 8 Spice United Kingdom 15 Spice, Amphetamine type, Ecstasy type Hungry 614 Spice, Amphetamine type, Ecstasy type Ireland 37 Spice, Amphetamine type, Ecstasy type Netherlands 27 Spice, Amphetamine type, Ecstasy type New Zealand 2 Spice, Ecstasy type Poland 2 Amphetamine type Portugal 1 Amphetamine type USA 36 Spice Vanuata 1 Spice
  11. 11. The online promotion of ‘drug shopping’ and user information networks is of increasing drug policy, public health and law enforcement concern. The shift toward widespread global availability of all drugs is evident in the recent online presence of drug marketplaces such as ‘Silk Road’; ‘Black Market Reloaded’, ‘Atlantis’ , ‘Sheep.’ The ‘Deep Web’ has secure and confidential communication lines by encryption of computer IP addresses using Tor anonymising software or web proxy to the Tor network (http://tor2web.org ).
  12. 12. Silk Road Market Place
  13. 13. Silk Road Users Runa A. Sandvik
  14. 14. Silk Road’, the virtual drug marketplace: A single case study of user experiences Van Hout & Bingham (2013)  Online researching of drug outcomes, particularly for new psychoactive substances was reported.  Relationships between vendors and consumers were described as based on cyber levels of trust and professionalism, and supported by ‘stealth modes’, user feedback and resolution modes.  The reality of his drug use was described as covert and solitary with psychonautic characteristics, which contrasted with his membership, participation and feelings of safety within the ‘Silk Road’ community. (parallel life).
  15. 15. Surfing the Silk Road’: A study of users’ experiences. Van Hout & Bingham (2013)  Few reported prior experience of online drug sourcing. Reasons for utilizing ‘Silk Road‟ included curiosity, concerns for street drug quality and personal safety, variety of products, anonymous transactioning, and ease of product delivery.  Vendor selection appeared based on trust, speed of transaction, stealth modes and quality of product. Forums on the site provided user advice, trip reports, product and transaction reviews. Some users reported solitary drug use for psychonautic and introspective purposes.  Minority reported customs seizures, and in general a displacement away from traditional drug sourcing (street and closed markets) was described. Several reported intentions to commence vending on the site.
  16. 16. Responsible Vendors, Intelligent Consumers: Silk Road, the online revolution in drug trading Van Hout & Bingham (2013)  Vendors described themselves as 'intelligent and responsible' consumers of drugs. Decisions to commence vending operations on the site centred on simplicity in setting up vendor accounts, and opportunity to operate within a low risk, high traffic, high markup, secure and anonymous Deep Web infrastructure.  The embedded online culture of harm reduction ethos appealed to them in terms of the responsible vending and use of personally tested high quality products. The professional approach to running their Silk Road businesses and dedication to providing a quality service was characterised by professional advertising of quality products, professional communication and visibility on forum pages,  speedy dispatch of slightly overweight products, competitive pricing, good stealth techniques and efforts to avoid customer disputes.  Vendors appeared content with a fairly constant buyer demand and described a relatively competitive market between small and big time market players.  Concerns were evident with regard to Bitcoin instability.
  17. 17. Market Places now closed Black Market Reloaded Atlantis
  18. 18. Utopia Market place seized Users had claimed that the site loaded much more quickly than Silk Road and with the added factor that the site didn’t have the same CAPTCHA login that Silk Road had .being backed up by the former BMR admin backopy is suppose to become the biggest competition for Silk Road 2.0
  19. 19. 11/02/14 the site was seized by the Dutch Police. After Utopia was seized , a moderator of the Silk Road forums posted a message saying that Utopia’s seizure “is a serious blow to the darkweb marketplace community.” The Moderator called on users of the hidden market places to “regroup, and do it again.” “Show them that you, we, are a hydra — cut off one head and ten more spring up,”
  20. 20. Market Places An i2p based marketplace One of the new markets A Thriving Russian marketplace Requires a referral link to register both as buyer and as vendor Its Quickly growing
  21. 21. The environment is changing Bitcoin Turmoil After Mt Gox Exchange 'Theft‘  Reports 6% of Bitcoins in circulation, worth roughly $375m (£225m), have been stolen.  Mt Gox exchange has reportedly suffered a cyber attack, with an apparent internal document suggesting more than 740,000 Bitcoins are missing from the exchange. Silk Road 2.0 has pledged to pay back more than £1.7 million worth of bitcoins stolen from its servers during a heist last week.
  22. 22. Contact information  Tim Bingham  Email info@timbingham.ie  www.timbingham.ie

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