The leader in worldwide drug studies, Global Drug Survey (GDS), announced a media partnership with Australia’s Fairfax Media. Additionally, the 2017 survey will pay special attention to how drug users across the globe make use of the darknet and what role the darknet has on drug use.
The London-based organization was founded to collect information on global drug use, specifically focused on health and safety. They have conducted such global surveys for several years now and each time, the darknet-related information became more prevalent. Media partnerships started growing as well; in addition to the recent Fairfax Media collaboration, GDS has worked with news agencies like VICE and Cosmopolitan.
Results from Global Drug Survey 2016 highlighted various dynamics of drug use worldwide with the added element of darknet growth. In fact, in the “key findings” summary, the darknet was listed first. The introduction states that there are “more people shopping on the darknet, more people using MDMA experiencing harm, synthetic cannabinoids the most dangerous drugs in the world.”
The study noted that almost every country had an increase in darknet drug purchases when compared to previous results. Globally, in the 2016 study, 1 in 10 participants (9.3%) revealed that they had purchased drugs off the darknet. Only 6.7% reported ever using the darknet in the 2015 study and only 4.5% in 2014.
Drug policy, the study pointed out, has a significant influence on darknet involvement. Some countries had “static low rates” of less than 2% like Portugal and Switzerland and others had “stable high rates” of greater than 20%, like Sweden. The study pointed out that exit scams had become a darknet commonplace yet usage had only increased.
Both the 2015 and 2016 studies collected data on what drugs were purchased from the darknet and the results were remarkably similar between the two years. MDMA, cannabis, 2C-B, DMT, and LSD topped the list. Those who had ordered drugs off the darknet, the study revealed, usually kept within a specific range of drugs. In 2016, though, one third of buyers reported branching out slightly more than they did in 2015.
The 2016 study showed that 5% of darknet buyers claimed to never have consumed drugs prior to the darknet—something not shared with previous studies. First time orders were most likely to purchase MDMA, the study showed. (And, later on, the paper revealed that 2016 was the worst year for MDMA and MDMA users.)
“58% of UK participants reporting buying NPS last year did so online. Prior to the passing of the NPs Bill in May 2016, there had been increasing local efforts often
spearheaded by Trading Standards to close high street shops selling NPS products,” the study shared. We previously reported a study that revealed the UK “is winning in the darknet drug race,” confirming GDS’s findings.
2016 showed such an increase in darknet use that it will be highlighted, again, this year. The Sydney Morning Herald published the report regarding Fairfax Media and the darknet:
“The researchers hope to again tap into the habits, motivations, and experiences of the world’s diverse ecosystem of drug users to explore how they use the darknet, who’s taking what drugs and how much are they dosing,” the release read.
Readers were encouraged to anonymously participate in the study to further reduce harm “by sharing credible information.”