Darknet markets are increasingly adding dosage information, trip reports and other harm reduction advice at the point of drug purchase to reduce drug harms and inform consumers.
This is already common with any regulated substance. When you visit a doctor and are prescribed medication, it is taken for granted that you will receive the needed information to proceed your intake in a safe, informed and sensible manner. This will perhaps include the dose, the required frequency of administration, potential side effects, and so on. A small-print sheet with these details readily available might also be given.
With illegal substances, this is simply not the case, despite the various additional risks created by prohibition (such as the potential for substance impurity and toxic drug supplies). You are usually on your own, with input limited to whatever ad hoc advice is given by your peers or anything you research for yourself (assuming you make that effort, which many don’t).
Historically, darknet markets have had a more trusted process of buyer history and drug identification than simply buying drugs on the street. If online harm reduction information could be made available at the point of purchase, injecting safety awareness where and when it matters most, this could have a significant impact in mitigating risk, misinformation and reducing any potential misery from experiences.
Now, there is also a decent chance that at some point in the process you will be offered free harm reduction information in the form of a PDF copy of the book: The Drug Users Bible.
Over a 12 year period, the author self-administered over 180 psychoactive substances, both chemicals and plants. For each he recorded the life- sensitive safety data, including the anticipated onset times, the common threshold doses, the routes of administration, and the expected duration of the experience. In addition, he also produced a trip report for every compound, detailing the qualitative experience itself.
It’s clear that most governments around the world patently do not care about the welfare of drug consumers, with very limited access to government funded harm reduction information. The mainstream media do not care; law enforcement agencies do not care. If there is to be a safety net for this community, it must be built by the community itself. Left alone, we must look after ourselves.
This is precisely what is unfolding on the darknet.
A History Comment on Internet Harm Reduction
This has occurred before, disparately across countries. An example of online harm reduction is best characterised by the UK scene about 10 years ago. This was the UK Chemical Research Forum (UKCRF) which operated during the years where “legal highs” were still sold in shops until their blanket ban in 2016. As described in the book itself:
“The sophistication of the market developed equally quickly, with internet forums becoming a hive of often detailed discussion. These communities became increasingly important vehicles, and not only through the dissemination of safety information. They were central in framing vendor reputation, which in turn would positively influence the conduct of suppliers.”
“An astonishing scenario of market/public self-regulation flourished, no doubt saving many lives, until the Cameron Government introduced the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016… This free to access source of developing and life critical information, and of self-sustaining consumer protection, was instantly destroyed, with the inevitable tragic consequences.”
In the UK at least this scenario was real, and it was effective. The main players in the drug eco-system were self-regulating and protecting the consumer, despite the hostility of the usual culprits: the government, the media and law enforcement.
Zoom forward to 2023. Dread is the major social media platform on the darknet, and has long picked up the mantle of consumer protection: a place for those who choose to use drugs to learn how to avoid many of the more common pitfalls. It is the equivalent of the UKCRF in the above scenario, but on a massive global scale.
Dread has supported the provision of the Bible from the outset; announcing the launch of the PDF and encouraging the markets to involve themselves.
Established markets, such as Incognito Market, Kingdom Market and Cypher Market, have quickly stepped forward, as have a number of emerging markets. Drug vendors too have embraced the project, including some of the largest. All are offering links to, or hosting, The Drug Users Bible, or making the material available in some form to all visitors and consumers.
All these parties understand the magnitude of the issues, and the importance of education and awareness. It is about people: user and consumer protection. It’s about the safety of real human beings: the wellbeing of the community. It is ultimately about saving lives.
The darknet community has a longstanding tradition of self-regulating, voluntarily providing a framework of consumer protection, safety data and risk mitigation, free of charge. It demonstrates that the biggest problem in the entire scenario, in its widest sense, isn’t users, vendors or facilitators; it is prohibition. It is politicians, law enforcement agencies and the mainstream propagandistic media that continue to share abstinence-based messages that neither educate nor prepare people for the eventual consumption of drugs. People are expected to consume drugs with no safety knowledge, and to be shocked when avoidable tragic outcomes happen.
You can download a copy of The Drug Users Bible on this website.