Down the Reddit Rabbit Hole
Tech savvy millennials know how to get drugs, and they know how to get it fast. Young people of today have so much technology at their finger tips. Relationships, careers, services; everything and anything can be ordered online. In the rise of online shopping, black market laboratories have cropped up all over the world; mainly from third world countries selling to the US market. No ID needed, no prescription needed. Sites like reddit and blue light have been monitored by the DEA to have thousands of IP address visits daily, offer links to order, and actual consumer reviews of products ordered and used. With the right amount of cash you can order any type of narcotic, or a close cousin of it.
Although the FBI, DEA, and even President Trump have enacted new laws and procedures to combat the importing of research chemicals from China and the developing world; thousands of Americans are still dropping dead because of it. Substances like fentanyl, are making its way through the streets, online, and with little clarity on the purity of any drug. Trump himself has pleaded with China to formally ban all narcotic imports (including fentanyl) into the US. But can such a lucrative endeavor be stopped so easily?
In an episode of Vice titled Buying Drugs and Guns on the Deep Web, Vice journalists venture in the internet to see just how easy it is to attain opiates (particularly fentanyl which is 10x more potent than morphine). Vice journalists emailed a company operating out of china for a price list of services and products. The email correspondence shows a rather professional type of HR corresponding with Vice (unbeknownst to them) on finding just the “right” product and price. Real names for narcotics were used, accurate prices were given, even deals offered on bulk orders. It was all so cyber-monday-ish. Government officials have responded and explained that the type of servers these entities are using are Muti layered, untraceable servers, essentially the same ones the government uses to protect itself.
The biggest challenge on lobbying against such drug companies oversees, is that the chemicals are essentially shape shifting, and often. Underground lab chemists, in a round about way will slightly change one, maybe two molecules of these narcotic knock offs, further enabling them to avoid being charged with drug trafficking. You see, if it is one molecule off, it cannot be legally considered as the substance it is mimicking. The trouble with that is, there is no regulation. There is no testing of efficacy or purity. What the results are entailing, is an encompassing system of addicts, desperate to fill their supplies, without any real questioning of whats inside the box.
Throughout my ten plus year career of the junkie lifestyle, I never came across such drugs. But I have had friends that have. One such friend recounted a story of ordering a “Xanax” like powdery substance that he ordered from China. Once the package was delivered inside was a jar of powder with a small description of instructions for dosing: Lick a toothpick, dip the toothpick, and do not exceed this dose. What followed shortly thereafter was an overdose, with a hospital stay, and a quick trip back into treatment. Fortunately my friend survived, but he survived an overdose from a toothpick dip? The results are playing with fire.
Over the past five years, record breaking overdoses have been directly attributed to black market fentanyl from china, and it seems to be growing. According to the New York Times: “The spread of fentanyl in the United States over the last five years has resulted in record numbers of overdose deaths; it became the leading cause of overdose deaths in 2016 and contributed to 28,466 of the roughly 72,000 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counted in 2017.
How is this to be ceased? How can we attack the flood gates once they’ve been opened?
And as of April 2019, china has formally categorized Fentanyl as a controlled substance, in agreement with the promise that President Xi Jinping made to Trump last year. A significant win on the war on drugs, but is it a temporary solution to a growing problem? Those not so enthusiastic about President Trumps attempts have argued that China is only saving face. That the official ban has not and will not slow down the trade of narcotics oversees. You see its not in the ease of process that these drugs are being ordered that is insidious; its the rapid change of the molecules to skirt around the legality of such drugs. Changing molecules, atoms, and slight chemical structures has set a ghosty precedent, that ultimately is shaping the way we attain and use narcotics. In so many words, its a slippery slope that seems to only be growing.
And if we can’t stop it, what we can do is treat it. With the rise of Bupenorphine use and maintenance, better access to healthcare, and ultimately drug and alcohol treatment. Attacking drug trafficking has shown (at-least in the Regan administration) little to no containment. But the treatment industry is an option that many more individuals are coming around to accessing. And so we find that the solution is in treating to root of addiction. If you or someone you know is currently struggling with substance abuse, encourage them to get help.