Distancing And Dark Net: UK Drug Dealers Adapt To Lockdown

Distancing and dark net: UK drug dealers adapt to lockdown

London, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 25th Feb, 2021 ) :Illicit drug users in Britain have reported few problems maintaining their supply since the first coronavirus lockdown, with around one in 10 purchasing from the dark web, according to a study published Thursday.

Users reported some difficulties in finding a supplier and a desired drug during the first national lockdown last year, and faced higher prices, according to the online survey of 2,621 respondents carried out by drugs charity Release.

But the majority of respondents now "did not report finding a supplier to be more difficult compared to before the arrival of COVID-19", said lead author Judith Aldridge, with more now seeking deals online.

"At the start of lockdown, many presumed that the drugs market would be severely affected by border closures... and by 'stay at home' restrictions.

"We did... observe increased difficulties in purchasing drugs as the first lockdown eased and was lifted, this also coincided with reports of increased prices.

" One in 10 purchases reported in the survey were made on dark web markets. Thirteen percent of those using such websites reported that it was the first time they had done so.

Cannabis was the most sought-after drug, with party highs such as MDMA and ecstasy dipping in popularity with nightclubs and house gatherings banned.

More respondents said their drug use had increased rather than decreased since the start of the pandemic.

Dealers have adopted measures similar to those used in legal markets to further prevent virus transmission, said co-author Laura Garius, "Suppliers were adhering to social distancing measures for the majority of purchases made during lockdown," she said.

Other measures included "suppliers accepting card payments, disinfecting cash, and modifying their packaging", she added.

Britain is in its third national lockdown in a year as it attempts to control one of the worst outbreaks in the world that has claimed more than 120,000 lives in the country.