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The Dark Web and the Opioid Crisis

It used to be that illicit drug sales occurred on the street – involving a physical transaction between a buyer and a seller.

And yes – it has long contributed to America's drug problem.

According to researchers at the University of Texas, another player has entered the field and contributes mightily to the opioid abuse epidemic.

That player?

The dark web.

What exactly is the dark web?

It's part of the internet that isn't visible to search engines and requires the use of a specific browser to be accessed.

According to the medicalxpress.com:

"Using a programming language to probe the dark web, the researchers found more than 248,000 opioid-related listings on 10 anonymous online marketplaces.

That included just over 28,100 opioid product listings and over 13,500 opioid promotional and review forum traces. These were linked to over 5,100 opioid suppliers' IDs and nearly 2,800 buyers' IDs.

Postings included product photos and reviews, as well as instructions for buying the items. Soon after a product had been posted and sold, the seller and site disappeared, according to the report recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research."

What will come of this research?

The authors of the study hope release of the report will lead U.S. policymakers to take more aggressive steps to prevent the dark web from serving as a source for opioids and other narcotics.

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