Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Bitcoin Crime The Internet

Opioid Dealers Embrace the Dark Web To Send Deadly Drugs by Mail (nytimes.com) 175

Anonymous online sales are surging, and people are dying. Despite dozens of arrests, new merchants -- many based in Asia -- quickly pop up. From a report on the New York Times: In a growing number of arrests and overdoses, law enforcement officials say, the drugs are being bought online. Internet sales have allowed powerful synthetic opioids such as fentanyl -- the fastest-growing cause of overdoses nationwide -- to reach living rooms in nearly every region of the country, as they arrive in small packages in the mail (syndicated source). The authorities have been frustrated in their efforts to crack down on the trade because these sites generally exist on the so-called dark web, where buyers can visit anonymously using special browsers and make purchases with virtual currencies like Bitcoin. The problem of dark web sales appeared to have been stamped out in 2013, when the authorities took down the most famous online marketplace for drugs, known as Silk Road. But since then, countless successors have popped up, making the drugs readily available to tens of thousands of customers who would not otherwise have had access to them. Among the dead are two 13-year-olds, Grant Seaver and Ryan Ainsworth, who died last fall in the wealthy resort town of Park City, Utah, after taking a synthetic opioid known as U-47700 or Pinky. The boys had received the powder from another local teenager, who bought the drugs on the dark web using Bitcoin, according to the Park City police chief.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Opioid Dealers Embrace the Dark Web To Send Deadly Drugs by Mail

Comments Filter:
  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Monday June 12, 2017 @12:49PM (#54603081) Journal
    Gary Johnson might not have been a very good candidate, but one good point he made was the U.S. has the best policies in place to cause drug users to die. Trillions of dollars spent, and they can't even keep the drugs out of prisons. Everyone would be better off if you could just buy crack, meth & heroin at your local party store, and rededicate the money being spent on imprisoning people to treatment programs. I just saw an article that said it now costs more to keep someone in prison than it does to send them to Harvard for a year.
    • I don't understand your reasoning. How does that strategy enrich the police union, the prison guard union, the owners of private prisons, fund black-ops programs [youtube.com] or impose arbitrary authority on people to make sure they know who their masters are?

      That sounds more like the Portugal [youtube.com] solution and they saw a 95% drop in drug crime, so this plan of yours sounds really bad for a lot of people. Are you against good American jobs?

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )
      While drugs like fentanyl, meth, crack, and heroin shouldn't be freely purchasable at your corner store, drug addiction should be stigmatized and recognized as the disease it is. Offer people safe places to take the drugs with medical staff close at hand in case of adverse reactions, as well as providing things like clean needles. At the same time, offer treatment services for people looking to actually get help. Legalize marijuana, decriminalize possession of anything else, and anyone arrested goes not
      • >Offer people safe places to take the drugs

        This may work for a few addicts, but many addicts are not just addicted to the drug, they are addicted to the lifestyle.

        Now, decriminalizing the drugs may take away much of the lifestyle's appeal, so it's still probably a good idea.

        • Now, decriminalizing the drugs may take away much of the lifestyle's appeal, so it's still probably a good idea.

          There was the guy - one of the Beats, I think? - who said that being gay was a lot more fun when it was illegal. Same idea: raw hedonism appeals to some people.

      • drug addiction should be stigmatized and recognized as the disease it is.

        Stigmatizing people for having diseases is a bad idea. But I think you meant the opposite. Anyway, drug addiction is one of those marvelous diseases where the victim is almost always self-created. Not getting an addiction to crack is quite easy: don't take it to start with. Decriminalizing it will lead to more people taking it (because they can get it) and thus increasing the demand for addiction services.

        You could point to Prohibition as a failure and argue that "drug prohibition" would be as huge a failu

        • You could point to Prohibition as a failure and argue that "drug prohibition" would be as huge a failure, but there are two differences. First, Prohibition was enacted long after the use of alcohol became commonplace and widespread. Second, it was prohibition of something that is trivial to manufacture. It isn't quite as easy to make your own crack or heroin or fentanyl.

          So, we should legalize pot?

          I mean, how much easier does it get to manufacture?

          Just simply plant a seed with the rest of the veggies in y

          • dollars to doughnuts those kid referenced in the summary would be alive today if they would have had easy access to pot.

            Teenage kids are going to experiment with drugs -- full stop. When they aren't able to get their mitts on pot, they'll do insane things like inhale glue, aerosols, or in this case, chinese made bath-tub chemicals of dubious providence.

            In Oregon: basically... a gram of pot costs about $5-10 dollars. I'd feel much more comfortable with kids going for *that* than resorting to less safe metho

            • dollars to doughnuts those kid referenced in the summary would be alive today if they would have had easy access to pot.

              It's easy to bet with other people's lives.

              The kids were 13 years old. I have a feeling that even people who advocate legal pot put an age limit on it, just like there is for both tobacco and alcohol. They wouldn't have "easy access" to pot even were it legal in their state.

              When they aren't able to get their mitts on pot, they'll do insane things like inhale glue, aerosols, or in this case, chinese made bath-tub chemicals of dubious providence.

              The word is "provenance." But I believe you are wrong. They got this drug from a friend, so of course it was safe. Of course. And they knew the right amount to take because, well, because it was obvious. And you want to make it legal a

              • The kids were 13 years old. I have a feeling that even people who advocate legal pot put an age limit on it, just like there is for both tobacco and alcohol. They wouldn't have "easy access" to pot even were it legal in their state.

                Well, I don't think anyone is promoting the idea for pot or beer, etc...at a young age, but then again, let's also be realistic.

                When did you and most people start experimenting with alcohol and pot for instance?

                Me? I was about 16yrs old....and I was a bit of a late bloomer in

          • So, we should legalize pot?

            I don't care what you do.

            Just simply plant a seed with the rest of the veggies in your garden, and voila!!

            The discussion is about legalizing all drugs, not just pot. Implying that all drugs are as safe to use as pot is is, well, not worth continuing the discussion.

            • The discussion is about legalizing all drugs, not just pot. Implying that all drugs are as safe to use as pot is is, well, not worth continuing the discussion.

              Who implied that? You're making a straw man argument. Any currently illegal drug would be safer if they were legalized, but that doesn't mean all drugs are equally safe.

              • Any currently illegal drug would be safer if they were legalized,

                Don't be silly. Legalizing a drug doesn't make the drug safer. It only makes it a non-criminal act to possess it. That baggie of PW9352 or whatever it was that killed the kids doesn't magically change into something safer just because it isn't illegal. There is no magic "if only" that would bring MJ back to life "if only" fentanyl was legal for recreational use.

                • Don't be silly. Legalizing a drug doesn't make the drug safer.

                  Oh really? During alcohol prohibition, people dying from tainted alcohol was a common occurrence. Having alcohol become legal almost instantly improved the quality of the product, making it safer. Also, if you had kids and discovered that they had drugs, would you rather deal with a drug dealer or a convenience store clerk.

      • That strategy is better than outright prohibition, but still causes an immense amount of increased harm over legal, regulated access. 'The corner store' is not appropriate no, but entirely abdicating control to the black market, like we have now, is even less appropriate if your goal is to minimize the damage caused by a dangerous, but desired and highly profitable product. You don't stop the money going to gangs and cartels so therefore their power and all its collateral consequences remains undiminished,
    • Gary Johnson might not have been a very good candidate, but one good point he made was the U.S. has the best policies in place to cause drug users to die. Trillions of dollars spent, and they can't even keep the drugs out of prisons.

      To be fair few institutions are as poorly run as prisons. Prison gangs are literally formed and run in the prison system. So many rapes happen in prison that when you factor those in more men are raped than women (citation below). Prisons should be rethought from the ground up as they aren't working. Unfortunately any helpful proposal is likely to suffer from the ever present "disparate impact" which makes the ridiculous assumption that anything that might impact different groups unequally must be a ban

  • Modern media must need to sensationalize everything. Just because something is on the Internet doesn't make it "virtual". Did I make a "virtual" purchase on Amazon? Or send a "virtual" message to my boss via email? I think they mean "currency like Bitcoin."

  • You MUST shut down the Interwebs because think of the CHILDREN!
  • "The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history."

    The War on Drugs was and is nothing more than Prohibition 2. And like most Hollywood sequels, everything involved, bootlegging, corruption, and violence, are simply done over on a more massive scale to impress the audience.

  • Legalization (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Monday June 12, 2017 @01:06PM (#54603233)
    Just another sign that we ought to legalize _all_ drugs, not just marijuana.

    Aside from the big three (alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana) they ought to be available only from stores licensed by either the state or the Feds (like liquor stores in some states) but you should be able to get whatever drugs you want from those stores. But those drugs should be regulated for quality and they should be heavily taxed, with the proceeds used for education, health care, and detox centers. (Even with taxes the price will probably remain comparable to current values once the overhead of having to circumvent the police/military is taken into account.)

    Yes, some people will become addicted and their lives will be ruined, and some people will die. But we have proven over and over again that you can't _force_ people to live responsibly if they don't want to. We can try to educate people when they're young, and the detox centers will be there for people who've gotten into trouble and want to get their lives straightened out. Even so, there will still be those who are unable or unwilling to control their impulses, and that's sad. But criminalization has ruined far too many lives, too often those who aren't even involved, and wasted way too much government money while putting way too much money in the pockets of those benefiting from the illegal drug trade.
    • So, I don't think anyone who makes decisions on a cost/benefit basis really disagrees.

      The problem is, most of the people making the decisions these days--counting voters--are basing their decisions on morals. To them, drug use is immoral, and society can only be set right (balanced with justice) by punishing those who make immoral decisions. This what people mean when they say folks must "pay" for their crime. Reformation, in their view, comes from God, if at all.

    • If they are heavily taxed, and addicts can no longer afford them because they've lost their job from the side effects, they would still have to resort to crime to buy them.

      • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
        We're not talking taxing with the intent to make them unobtainable, we're talking taxing like the taxes on cigarettes.

        Yes, some people will still be unable to afford them, and they may still turn to crime as a result, but the operative word is "still". I don't expect this solution to fix everything for everyone, it will just make things better overall.

        Hopefully the elimination of possible criminal penalties and (ideally) the reduction of the stigmatization would make it easier for people in that situati
    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      Just another sign that we ought to legalize _all_ drugs, not just marijuana. Aside from the big three (alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana) they ought to be available only from stores licensed by either the state or the Feds (like liquor stores in some states) but you should be able to get whatever drugs you want from those stores.

      A lot of hard drugs, even when controlled for quality, are just too damaging to the body to be allowed to consume. Also, by heavily taxing and controlling them, you will still have people purchasing drugs illegally because it's cheaper. Better to decriminalize the possession of hard drugs, but still criminalize the production and distribution of them.

  • When my late father required maintenance drugs to keep living, a one-month supply of the drugs cost $120 per month. He found a pharmacy in India that would sell him a six-month supply for the same price. When he got his first package, it was the same drugs that he got at the local pharmacy.
    • When he got his first package, it was the same drugs that he got at the local pharmacy.

      Did you do a chemical analysis on both so you know this for a fact, or are you basing your claim of "same" on the fact they looked the same?

      There are many cases of counterfeit sources of drugs from foreign countries that are "the same drugs", just they are made in unsanitary conditions, use inferior fillers and stabilizers, or don't contain the drug they claim to have or the amount. You can't just look at a pill and know it is the same as another. It is trivial to use the same colors and print the same id

      • Did you do a chemical analysis on both so you know this for a fact, or are you basing your claim of "same" on the fact they looked the same?

        Packaging looked identical. Whether real or counterfeit, the drugs did what they were supposed to do.

        • I get fake mucinex from Amazon. (Happened twice.) Packaging looked correct, even the holograms... but it was completely ineffective. Store-bought stuff works fine.

          Which gets down to the bottom line: even if you legalize drugs, you are still going to have people buying illegally to save a buck. You can hurt their margins, but if the taxes are meaningful the criminal dealers will still be around. Same goes for convenience and privacy.
          • When you live in a country with no health care system, sometimes people do desperate things.

            Perhaps it is more of a statement on the state of healthcare than the war on drugs.

    • by DrYak ( 748999 )

      He found a pharmacy in India that would sell him a six-month supply for the same price. When he got his first package, it was the same drugs that he got at the local pharmacy.

      Maybe he got lucky and got indeed a real pharmacy in India, that simply sells the same drugs, only produced locally (usually also in India) for the Asian market and thus have their sell prices adapted to what that market will bear.

      Maybe he could instead have got what was actually a small scam ran out of china, selling drugs in counterfeit packages, and produced by much less well controlled means. Meaning that not only the concentration of the active component might be off, but there might be other unwanted

  • Dangerous tools (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Monday June 12, 2017 @01:08PM (#54603249) Homepage Journal

    Chainsaws are extremely dangerous if mishandled.

    Drugs are tools. Amphetamines, opiates, and paracetamol are dangerous. People overuse caffeine; it's less-dangerous than amphetamine, and provides a sort of illustration about why we don't just give you a stock of 2.5mg d-AMP capsules instead of morning coffee.

    The kind of pain for which you need opiates will fuck you up. Pain does extreme psychological damage, and chronic pain is debilitating. Opiates provide an important component of a barely-adequate essential medical system.

    Opiates will also fuck you up if misused.

    Deal with it. There's a reason we have Codeine and Morphine, but don't use Diamorphine: it's ridiculously-addictive, physically harmful, and generally just no good for pain management. Diamorphine will work, but damn.

    I'd be okay with more latitude for self-care. Allow pharmacy technicians to prescribe more drugs after brief counseling; give patients with physician-approval a limited allowance to self-prescribe or to have a pharmacy tech prescribe. My doctor knows I'm not trying to get high and would have little problem just writing up sleeping med prescriptions--which has been done now and then, and I've found I really don't work well with GABA drugs; I don't have a standing Rx for Suvorexant or any Rx ever for Ramelteon, and I can't just walk into a pharmacy and get myself 10 of those to have on-hand or to test how they affect me. It would not be unreasonable for my doctor to have sent a class-based approval that allows me to say "I have X and want to try fixing it with Y" and get the pharmacist's opinion on that, followed by a pharmacy-tech prescription, no doctor's visit.

    There is, however, a reason we don't just let you walk into Rite-Aid and pick up a bottle of Adderall off the shelf. That doesn't mean Amphetamine is bad; it's just a very dangerous tool. Same with opiates.

    • Nice clear post, well reasoned argument.
    • I read a fascinating history of opium use in the United States and one of the most surprising thing was that opium smoking remained the primary means of recreational opiate use into the 1920s, which is strange because heroin and morphine were trivially available and outright legal up until 1914.

      What I find interesting about this is that it seems like there was kind of a deference to the least possibly risky means of opiate use -- opium smoking. Heroin didn't become the predominant illicit form until the 19

      • Do you see anyone injecting purified ethanol into their veins?

        People get the reward from smoking opium, sure. They'll avoid the high-test stuff because it's more-dangerous and too much. As you pointed out, when you tighten down on it, you get people who go away and people who seek a replacement. Some people are going for the hard shit regardless; others dilute the population if they can get the light stuff.

        That doesn't mean opiates aren't a dangerous tool. Some people take Tylenol 2-3 days per week;

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          I think the critical thing is the way potency and time-to-trouble interact.

          An addictive drug that's low potency still has long-term addiction risks, but it takes a much longer time for it to develop into a serious problem. In this time window, people may quit, lose interest or have some other thing happen that causes them to not use the substance anymore.

          It may be low enough potency that even though they are habitual users, they don't really develop any structural deficiencies in their life. Functional ad

          • That's true, and it makes a lot of sense regarding today's medical addicts who weren't properly evaluated, identified, and tapered after medical treatment with opiates.

            My problem is with drugs which are sufficiently dangerous with overuse. As I said: caffeine overuse is common today. Look as well at people who go to parties and pound loads of alcohol (or alcohol with red bull). Those are your uninformed victims of circumstance--people who weren't properly looked-after and told they can have a thing, b

            • by swb ( 14022 )

              The problem is the masses will never be "well appraised" of the dangers, and the people who want to decide what "dangers" they should be appraised of will always show bias (too much or not enough danger).

              I'm inclined to believe that if people had access to weaker drug formulations, they would generally sort themselves out. Given how objectively dangerous, addictive and widespread alcohol is, it's almost surprising that fewer than 8% of Americans are alcoholics.

              I think a world where nobody has problems with

    • Just a point of clarification to an otherwise good post... Diamorphine is frequently used in the UK. The full mu agonist semi-synthetics are not clinically all that different from eachother. Diamorphine, as most know, is 3,6-diacetylmorphine that is rapidly, before receptor binding, deacetylated into plain morphine in the body. It's superior to morphine in some measures too; for example if someone already tolerant needs rapid IV relief from acute pain, morphine and codeine are inappropriate as a large amoun
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Thieves use roads to travel and money launders use cash to transfer funds, news at 11"

    I'm continually amazed at the propensity of news agencies/government officials to vilify niche parts of society (3d printing, internet, drones, bitcoin, etc) in their quest to catch the "bad guys". Often these areas make up the tiniest fraction if illegal activities yet they become the primary/sole focus.

    • I am also amazed that so few seem to connect the dots and seen the futility of it all.

      An effective firearm silencer can be made from a scrap piece of metal on a common lathe in very little time. Just thread the inside of the piece to match the gun and the outside to match an off the shelf oil filter. Bigger guns need a bigger oil filter, and these things aren't exactly optimal, but they are cheap and easy to make. If anyone tries this without government permission first (and paying a tax, of course) then

  • gullible fools (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by ooloorie ( 4394035 )

    The authorities have been frustrated in their efforts to crack down on the trade because these sites generally exist on the so-called dark web, where buyers can visit anonymously using special browsers and make purchases with virtual currencies like Bitcoin.

    Translation: "Police want the power to intrude on your privacy on the Internet even further and to treat Bitcoin like child pornography." And the reason government hates Bitcoin and other new currencies has little to do with drugs, and a lot with power,

  • If they were deatha from legally prescribed pills, of which there are thousands in this country every year, would anyone care? The problem isn't that people die, it's that pharma isn't the one making money in this case.
  • It's becoming clear that we can't protect people from using deadly drugs stupidly.

    Is this going to be the way that humanity self-selects to live or to die from the gene pool? Being so lousy at self control that we kill ourselves with deadly drugs of uncertain origin and potency?

    --PM

  • It's a good thing that Nancy Reagan told us to just say no to drugs in the 1980s, otherwise we'd still have a drug problem.

    It was last summer I think when a local state prison guard got sent to federal prison for selling illegal drugs to inmates. At the same time they caught another guard for bringing in cell phones and cigarettes, I'm not sure this guy went to prison but he certainly had to find a new job. Point is that if we cannot keep drugs out of prison then we are doing a very bad job on this war on

  • Basically, with regards to overdoses these are less dangerous than Paracetamol, if medical-grade. But since the anti-fun fascists have decided that people have no right to medical-grade clean and affordable drugs, the illegal market did arise. And that one does kill people by impurities, varying substance contents, new replacement drugs that are much more dangerous than necessary, etc.

    By now, anybody rational can see that this is just another utterly failed prohibition and just another attempt to tell peopl

  • The problem of dark web sales appeared to have been stamped out in 2013, when the authorities took down the most famous online marketplace for drugs, known as Silk Road.

    There were half a dozen replacements for the Silk Road within weeks, for fuck's sake.

    -jcr

  • I'm in no way advocating this. The article I read explaining it all ended with his life becoming a nightmare that took much effort to escape.
    So reference only.

    Dried poppy heads with seeds can be purchased for floral arrangements. Made into a tea and total bliss till it bites you.
    Google: dried poppy head for floral arrangements - Floral changed to flower for another batch of results

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.

Working...