Buyers use online currency Bitcoin to buy drugs
The online drug shopping on the internet is starting to rival other modes of buying illegal drugs globally, according to a new survey.
The 2013 Global Drug Survey revealed that about 22% of surveyed reported buying drugs online.
According to the survey, the online marketplace Silk Road has earned an ill repute similar to an eBay for drugs, in which buyers use the anonymous and untraceable online currency Bitcoin, which cannot be traced by the law enforcement.
About one third of survey respondents had heard of the Silk Road marketplace, while 14% had an account on the site and browsed its products.
Only 3% of the surveyed revealed that they had themselves purchased and used drugs from the site, while a similar number of respondents have taken drugs purchased by their friend on Silk Road.
In addition, survey presses the internet’s rise as a source for drugs as half of users started using the internet to buy drugs, while less than one in eight used the internet for purchasing drugs before 2005.
About 13% of respondents revealed plans to increase drug usage if they were not punished, while 8% of respondents were ready if the punishment would be a small fine.
NGO Release executive director Niamh Eastwood said the responses were corroborated by research conducted in countries which had decriminalised drug possession.
"The majority of respondents say decriminalisation wouldn’t impact their level of drug use," Eastwood said.
"That reflects the reality of these scenarios in other countries, according to our research across 21 jurisdictions.
"The research shows that punishing someone’s drug use acts as a form of social stigma and when you take the approach of reducing this stigma, people are more likely to seek help. This implies that the criminal justice approach is actually harmful to public health."