A Lethal Dose for $1 – Fentanyl’s Risk on the ‘Darknet’

Fentanyl Darknet Drug Dealer

Synthetic opioid overdose deaths in the United States soared from less than 3,000 in 2013 to almost 20,000 in 2016, accounting for half of all opioid-related overdose deaths. These medicines are frequently obtained on the internet’s secret “darknet.” An analysis published today (October 8, 2019) in Contemporary Economic Policy that examined the darknet’s opioid purchases from 2014 to 2016 found that vendors priced fentanyl in 2014 at a 90% discount compared with an equivalent dose of heroin.

Furthermore, fentanyl’s retail price declined by 50% to $0.21 between 2014 and 2016, exacerbating this difference. “By 2016 a lethal dose of fentanyl on the dark web had fallen to under $2.50, and with bulk pricing, a lethal dose cost approximately $1.00,” said author Jacob N. Miller, of Southern Utah University.

The study also found that, while legal efforts in the United States had no long-term impact on darknet market disruption, regulatory activities in China aimed at reducing fentanyl production corresponded with a halt in the decreasing trend in fentanyl pricing.

Reference: “THE WAR ON DRUGS 2.0: DARKNET FENTANYL’S RISE AND THE EFFECTS OF REGULATORY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTION” by Jacob N. Miller, 8 October 2019, Contemporary Economic Policy.
DOI: 10.1111/coep.12447

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