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More than 10% of drugs now purchased online: study

©iStockphoto/AndrewJohnson

A GLOBAL survey into narcotic use has revealed more people are buying recreational drugs online because it is cheaper than purchasing them on the streets.

The Global Drug Survey polled about 102,000 people from 50 countries, including 4030 from Australia, about their drug use.

More than 11,750 respondents said they had purchased drugs online on conventional websites and on sites like Silk Road, which was closed down last year.

But the number of online drug websites almost doubled following the closure of Silk Road with authorities saying they are growing and diversifying.

Those surveyed said they found darknet sites, like to be considerably cheaper with MDMA, LSD, marijuana and cocaine the most popular drugs purchased online.

The survey revealed Australia is still the most expensive place to purchase drugs behind Germany, France, United Kingdom and the United States.

The average price online for an ecstasy pill is $26, while a gram of MDMA and cocaine sell for $241 and $300 respectively.

Survey founder Adam Winstock told Fairfax Media the availability of drugs online had not led to an increase in the number of people using recreational drugs, but rather shifted a portion of users to a new marketplace.

"The reason people are using the internet is really dissatisfaction with the existing drug markets," he said.

"You have still got immensely expensive drugs in Australia and to be honest I am amazed that you do not have a more thriving research chemicals market."

Research chemicals, also known as legal highs, are newly produced chemicals that have not been regulated or made illegal yet.

But some, like synthetic marijuana, are now illegal in New South Wales and Queensland.

Those surveyed said they experienced less physical violence, threats to personal safety and less risk of being blackmailed purchasing drugs online compared with traditional sources.

Also, 49.8% of those surveyed said they had turned to purchasing their drugs online because they generally had to wait too long to receive the products from their traditional sources.

Topics:  drugs internet narcotics online technology



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