The popularity of the “Dark Web” for purchasing illegal drugs is especially worrisome because it is increasing the availability and acceptability of drugs, according to an addiction psychiatry expert.
“After talking with people who use the Dark Web, I became very concerned that many of them have lost the appreciation that this is drug dealing, not just e-commerce,” says Karen Miotto, MD, Director of UCLA’s Addiction Psychiatry Service, who has studied the Dark Web, also known as the Deep Web or the Hidden Web. “Buying or selling heroin balloons in the park is clearly understood as an illegal activity; buying or selling drugs online may be construed as e-commerce without full appreciation that it is also illegal.”
The Dark Web refers to illegal online marketplaces that can be accessed by downloading the anonymous browser called Tor, and purchasing the digital currently bitcoin. In addition to illegal drugs, these websites sell passports, pornography and weapons.