ISLAMABAD: Higher levels of anonymity and reduced risks of detention have made the Internet an attractive alternate for drug trafficking and secure method of distribution of substances for illicit drug markets, reveals the ‘World Drug Report 2022’ released on Wednesday.

The report released by the UN Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) in Islamabad, however, said that despite these advantages, the Internet has so far not dramatically changed drug supply chains, and online platforms over all account for only a small portion of the global drug market.

Increased interconnectivity and the continuing evolution of online platforms has brought numerous advantages for both drug traffickers and people who use drugs.

The marketing and sale of controlled drugs and new psychoactive substance (NPS) on the Internet can take place at different levels: on the open Internet, also known as the “clear web”, often using encrypted communications tools; on social media applications; and on the “dark web”, which forms part of the deep web. People who use drugs shift between these platforms, reacting to perceived risks and difficulties in handling rapidly evolving technologies, report explains.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2022

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