More people now buying drugs on dark web, according to survey


Despite a clampdown on the dark web and infamous sites being shut down, more people than ever are apparently visiting that part of the internet to buy drugs.

The annual Global Drug Survey shows 8% of 101,313 people questioned have used the dark web to buy drugs. That may not seem like much, but it's significantly more than the 5,000 in 2015 and 2,000 in 2014.

Among the countries with the largest increase are Sweden and the UK.

The most popular drug bought online is MDMA, 10% ahead of cannabis in second place. LSD and formerly legal highs are also popular.

According to Motherboard, 79% of people trying a drug for the first time said they purchased it through the dark web.

The annual report suggests a correlation between the legality of drugs in certain areas and the level of increase in dark web buyers.

"The low but stable level of darknet involvement in Portugal, where people can access cheap, good quality drugs with nil criminal penalty risk, sits in sharp contrast to the stable but high rates of involvement in Sweden, which boasts restrictive drug policies," it said.

a sheet of LSD tabs.
(Paul Faith/PA)

The dark web is usually accessed through a browser which makes it difficult for a user's IP address to be discovered - and Bitcoin is the currency used.

Despite exit scams, which research suggests are increasing, and repeated attempts by government agencies to seize online marketplaces, the dark web's popularity only seems to be heading in one direction.