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The recovery of online drug markets following law enforcement and other disruptions


Van Buskirk, J and Bruno, R and Dobbins, T and Breen, C and Burns, L and Naicker, S and Roxburgh, A, The recovery of online drug markets following law enforcement and other disruptions, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 173 pp. 159-162. ISSN 0376-8716 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.01.004


Introduction: Online drug markets operating on the ‘darknet’ (‘cryptomarkets’) facilitate the trade of illicit substances at an international level. The present study assessed the longitudinal impact on cryptomarket trading oftwo major disruptions: a large international law enforcement operation, ‘Operation Onymous’; and the closure of the largest cryptomarket, Evolution.

Methods: Almost 1150 weekly snapshots of a total of 39 cryptomarkets were collected between October 2013 and November 2015. Data were collapsed by month and the number of unique vendor aliases operating across markets was assessed using interrupted time series regression.

Results: Following both Operation Onymous and the closure of Evolution, significant drops of 627 (p = 0.014) and 910 vendors (p < 0.001) were observed, respectively. However, neither disruption significantly affected the rate at which vendor numbers increased overall.

Conclusions: Operation Onymous and the closure of Evolution were associated with considerable, though temporary, reductions in the number of vendors operating across cryptomarkets. Vendor numbers, however, recovered at a constant rate. While these disruptions likely impacted cryptomarket trading at the time, these markets appear resilient to disruption long-term.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:cryptomarkets, darknet, illicit drug trade, law enforcement, new drug markets, online drug markets
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health services and systems not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Bruno, R (Associate Professor Raimondo Bruno)
ID Code:120206
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:28
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2017-08-15
Last Modified:2018-08-06

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