STORIES

Crackco: Dark Web Dealers Give Out Free Samples

By David Jenison on February 13, 2018

E-commerce drug dealers apparently give out free samples of various illegal drugs. 

A Boston College sociologist spent nearly a year on the dark web collecting data from a large e-commerce website that sells prescription and illicit drugs. His study, titled "Instantly Hooked? Freebies and Samples of Opioids, Cannabis, MDMA, and Other Drugs in an Illicit E-Commerce Market," appears in the Journal of Drug Issues. His research produced several fascinating findings. 

First, dark web dealers give away free samples of all the major drugs, and this Costco-style approach to marketing definitely "increases vendor sales for prescription drugs and opioid-based painkillers." Second, a look at online forums showed that reputable dark web "drug critics" are among the primary beneficiaries of the free samples. 

That's right, the dark web has actual drug reviewers. 

Earlier last year, the same researcher published a study in The British Journal of Criminology that found dark web sales increased in 2015 after the courts sentenced Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht to life in prison without parole. The Texan started the Silk Road in 2011 as an anonymous online black market for drugs, and it became a billion-dollar enterprise by the time he was caught in late 2013. The study estimated that in 2013 the Silk Road contained 12,000 listings for illicit items like drugs and counterfeit documents, while a 2016 look at the new dark web leader, Alphabay, contains nearly a quarter million listings for drugs alone. The press surrounding the case apparently served as effective marketing for the dark web. 

Ironically, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent involved in the Silk Road case was arrested in 2015 for allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoin from the dark web site.  

GET Silk Road Disposable Vaporizers

Bible Thumpers Get Stoned More Than You Might Think

Sex, Drugs and Clubbing Study Delivers a Shocker

I Ate a Bowl of Bird Spit at a Three-Michelin Star Restaurant

GET Nan Goldin's The Ballad of Sexual Dependency

Researchers Generate Electricity from the Urine of Cannabis Users

I Asked Japan's No. 1 Chef Why He Served Me Cod Sperm

The Impact of Illegal Vendors on Nevada’s Cannabis Market

GET Jane West CBD Coffee

7 Female Characters Who Literally Lit Up the Screen

Acid Farmers: The Original LSD Producers that Turned on the World

Canadian Strain Highlights the Dealer's Dilemma in the Legalization Age

I Spent a Weirdly Analog Night in a Cryptocurrency Club

Eartha Kitt Taught Cannabis Lingo to a First Lady

Chef Bruce Kalman Discusses All-Star LA Food Bank Benefit