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Alexis Goosdeel, chief of The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), announced a new approach to fighting darknet drug sales. On January 4, Goosdeel spoke to the Belgian newspaper Le Soir about a newly drafted strategy aimed solely at the buying and selling of darknet-traced drugs. And according to Le Soir, the strategy, while not due for implementation any time too soon, looked promising. The EMCDDA reported that they would begin hiring hackers to disrupt the flow and usability of any illicit marketplace.

For those outside the EU member states, EMCDDA’s role is “to provide the European Union and its Member States with factual, objective, reliable and comparable information at European level concerning drugs and drug addiction and the consequences they cause,” one source summarized. The organization’s lengthier aim and mission is readily accessible at the Mission link on the site’s front-page—EMCDDA | Mission. DeepDotWeb reported the group’s studies routinely, especially in situations where fact-checking proved necessary.

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The drug-monitoring group kept an eye on the darknet as early as the notorious Silk Road marketplace era. They once, according to one of our authors, announced that the overall safety of drug use in the EU rose upon large-scale darknet marketplace usage. In the same vein and fittingly in the same article, EMCDDA called the darknet a “dark cloud in the horizon.” Given their unsure stance on the darknet back then, the latest announcement rendered very few surprised—save for the “hiring hackers” part.

From one of our articles on the subject titled “Dark Web Use Rising Making Drugs Safer EU Report Says” by American Guerrilla:

“These markets have proven to be very adaptable, and it appears that the effects of such interventions on the online anonymous ecosystem are short term and those operating such sites develop new ways to evade detection, for example by improving encryption and anonymization. It is suggested that a likely future development will be completely decentralized marketplaces that exploit aspects of game theory to side-step current weaknesses — perhaps a ‘dark cloud’ on the horizon.”

The EMCDDA’s new plan, scheduled for 2025, collected 2016 darknet days regarding drug purchases. Of course, this data played an integral role in the new course of action but local drug studies and even third-party studies proved essential as well. Throughout 2016, similar non-profit and health-oriented organizations conducted studies on darknet drug use. The 2016 Global Drug Survey found that 9.3 percent of responses admitted to purchasing drugs through the darknet—an exponentially unexpected increase from prior years.

In the July – September 2016 Drugnet publication, the Commissioner expressed “concern over the online supply of drugs, calling for a ‘more systematic and more sophisticated’ monitoring of internet drug markets.”

Reading beyond the mere “hiring hackers” headline, another interesting bit manifested itself—albeit within only a few sources, as if unimportant. According to Sputnik, EMCDDA planned to hire “former drug offenders” to quicken the process. They hoped said “hackers” could easily “track down websites and disrupt supply chains.”

He made only few details available to the public; or, maybe those details made the entire plan. We will know in 2017.