Dark web sales involving prescription psychiatric drugs are on the rise in the U.K.
New research reveals a notable upsurge in Xanax and diazepam sales in the country, which now makes the U.K. one of the leading purchasers of sedatives on the dark web, accounting for a third of all trades in total.
The new findings reveal that diazepam, as a commonly used tranquilizer among U.K. citizens, was the drug that people were mostly buying from the dark web, and Xanax followed as the second most-purchased psychiatric drug in the country.
As consumption of dark web-purchased drugs continues to grow, the U.K. is facing an increased death rate as a result.
Increase of Xanax and Diazepam Sales in the UK
The analysis, done by a team of researchers from various universities, focused on the nonmedical prescription drug use in different locations, including the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Canada and a few additional countries.
Between September 2013 and July 2016 the researchers discovered that the volume of prescription drugs offered on the dark web had significantly increased in the U.K.
Xanax, which is the brand name for the sedative alprazolam, together with diazepam were the main choices of dark web drug buyers.
Their sales noticed a steady yearly increase of .9 percent, for as long as the research was conducted.
The prescription psychiatric drugs sales account for 12 percent of the total dark web drug purchases in the country that happened by the end of 2016.
Diazepam was the primary drug of choice in the U.K. when it comes to sedatives.
Nonetheless, with the increase of Xanax sales, which went from 10 percent to up a quarter of all sedative sales that were monitored in the country, this drug is rapidly climbing up the charts.
Currently, Xanax is unavailable in the U.K., as the National Health Service has not yet approved it for prescription use.
However, according to Dr. Jack Cunliffe of the University of Kent, one of the co-authors of the research, this might have to do with the increased use of Xanax in the U.S.
The sedative has become a part of popular culture in the country and is often glamorized, for example, in music by popular artists.
UK Accounts for a Third of Sedative Sales on the Dark Web
From the countries that were included in the research, the U.S. holds the first place for illicit sedative sales on darknet markets, with a share of just above 41 percent.
The U.K. holds second place on the charts, with 31.1 percent or almost a third of all sedative sales.
Apart from sedatives, the researchers were investigating the scale of use of other nonmedical prescription drugs as well, including stimulants and dependency drugs.
Over 30 dark web markets were included in the research, where the prices of the drug listings were offered in Bitcoin.
Xanax Crisis Leads to More Than 200 Deaths
Shocking numbers reveal the seriousness of the Xanax crisis that is happening in the U.K.
Just earlier this month, Victoria Derbyshire’s program on BBC revealed that more than 200 people died as a result of misuse of Xanax pills in the U.K. since 2015.
Over half of the deaths, or a total of 126 people, were recorded in Scotland over a two-year time period.
Considering that this anti-anxiety drug is not available as a prescription in the U.K., users obtain counterfeit Xanax pills from the dark web markets where the drugs are often mixed with other harmful substances.
Authorities are issuing warnings and trying to raise awareness among consumers about the negative effects and health-related dangers of misusing the drug.