Use of Synthetic Cathinones: Legal Issues and Availability of Darknet

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With the growth of e-business, “Darknet” marketplaces where online users can purchase illegal drugs over the Internet are also rapidly growing. Bath salts, or synthetic cathinone products are one of the most popular drugs that are available among darknets and gradually spreading in the U.S. Even though the Federal Analogue Act of 1986 is intended to prevent the distribution of designer drugs, its vague language makes it difficult to enforce the regulation of bath salts. An online voluntary survey was conducted among students at a University located in Massachusetts to see the possibility of switching purchasing methods from traditional to online. A total of 413 students participated in this study and all the responses were analyzed via Pared t test, ANOVA, and Vignettes. The study findings suggest that there are high chances of replacing the purchase method from direct contact with a drug dealer to purchasing drugs online. This study discusses the implications of such results, as well as the efforts being undertaken to curtail the proliferation of drugs through the darker regions of cyberspace. Policy implications, calls for future research, and the importance of international cooperation are discussed.

Original Citation

Choi, K-S., Earl, K.J., Park, A., & Della Giustina, J. (2014). Use of Synthetic Cathinones: Legal Issues and Availability of Darknet. VFAC Review (Sept/Oct, Issue 7), 19-32.