The dark web is playing an increasingly significant role when it comes to illegal products and services, especially when it comes to illicit drug sales.
Research shows that the United Kingdom has the most extensive online market for illegal drugs in Europe.
This was after investigations were done on eight of the world’s largest dark web markets.
The researchers, Rand Europe, found that the U.K.’s online drug trade came second in size after the U.S.
It is clear that the rising popularity of the dark web is changing how young people perceive drugs, especially in Scotland.
Drugs like cannabis, cocaine to designer drugs like ecstasy are what young people are into, shifting away from drugs like heroin due to its reputation and the fact that it’s not a social media-savvy kind of drug.
Plummeting cocaine prices in Scotland has led to teenagers as young as 13 years old becoming addicted to the drug, according to Addaction, Scotland’s Drug and Alcohol charity.
The number of teenagers seeking the organization’s services due to problems with cocaine has increased.
This influx prompted Addaction to lower the age threshold from 14 years to 13 years in order to accommodate youth requiring treatment in South Lanarkshire.
Staff at Addaction in Fife have been receiving more and more clients of all age groups with cocaine problems, primarily through their web chat services.
The softening in attitude towards cocaine and other illicit drugs may also be perpetuating its use among teenagers.
In the last 18 months, a total of 62 people under the age of 16 were treated for problems related to drugs and alcohol.
A majority of them aged 15 or older reported personal cocaine use.
Statistics from the NHS Scotland’s Information Services Division showed that between 1996 and 1997 only 12 people were hospitalized due to cocaine.
Fast forward to 2015- 2016, the numbered soared to 187, with a total 51 being of ages 15 to 19 years.
One survey found that one in five 13-year-olds and 42 percent of 15-year-olds reported having ever taken drugs, and 80 percent of the 15-year-olds who regularly take drugs do not want to stop using.
Quicker Than Pizza
In the past, cocaine was seen as a rich man’s drug but it’s no longer the case due to the affordable prices and high supply.
The drug can be readily ordered through social networks or the dark web and is delivered faster than an order of pizza.
This means that users can purchase the drugs in more massive quantities, even those of higher strength at slightly more than the going rates, increasing their chances of addiction and mental health problems.
As the demand continues to grow, the quality of the cocaine has also adjusted with instances where the purity level was as low as 3 percent.
In some other cases, benzocaine has been sold as cocaine with the intention of maximizing profits.
Addaction believes in order to combat the cocaine menace, there is the need to set up more drug and alcohol services across Scotland.
The aim is early intervention with the realization that it can stop the problems before they get out of hand.
However, to achieve this, there is a need to approach the problem with new ways such as using the same medium (internet/social media) to target teenagers and young people in general at risk.