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How do People Buy Drugs on the Dark Web? 

dark web
Written by Joseph Mcqueen

For generations, the idea of purchasing illegal drugs has always brought up images of hooded men in the shadows, awkward handshakes and the fear of being caught by the cops. Ultimately, it is an activity that is hardly the most enjoyable, and does not have the monotony of going to the supermarket to purchase a quiche. However, with the evolution of the internet, many people now purchase their illegal substances online. More specifically, the dark web.

This is a part of the internet that is not shown by search engines and can only be accessed using specific software. The dark web is like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, except it replaces chocolate with illegal substances and services. But many ask the question: how does it work? Is it any easier to purchase drugs there rather than simply calling your dealer? And how dangerous is it to use? Let’s find out. 

Purchasing Illegal Drugs

Whether you like it or not, people purchase illegal drugs. There are limitless amounts of substances that are trafficked and bought in nations where those substances are banned. However, it is almost impossible for a country to completely stop the supply and demand for these drugs – especially as many of them are used in medical practices. Whilst the minority of people live in places where certain drugs are available legally – such as California for cannabis or Amsterdam for magic truffles – the rest of the world are forced to find their drugs the shady way.

According to the Worldometer, when this article was written, the spending on illegal drugs was almost 400 million dollars. As you can see, it happens. However, the way in which users find their drugs can vary. Some have friends who are dealers, or long-term relationships, which makes their purchasing experience much more relaxed and informal. Others are forced to meet random strangers in parks or get in the backs of their cars, taking part in awkward small-talk before finally getting their drugs. The truth is that purchasing substances can be a very varied experience, and the stereotypes are often skewed. Very Well Mind truthfully points out: 

“The stereotype of a drug dealer is often someone who is uneducated, cruel, and perhaps heavily tattooed or has a well-known criminal record. But drug dealers like that are often an anomaly; instead, drug dealers live and work right alongside law-abiding people.”

However, as time has gone on, not only are drug dealers now finding their substances on the internet, the users themselves are too. The world has evolved, you can buy practically anything online these days. There’s Ebay, there’s Amazon, there’s Facebook Marketplace and, of course, there’s the Dark Web. This part of the internet is untraceable and it is often associated with illegal activities such as drug trafficking, arms dealing, and the sale of stolen data. However, the dark web also has legitimate uses, such as allowing journalists and activists to communicate securely and access censored information. 

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What is the Dark Web?

First of all, it’s important to realise that there’s a lot of weird, funny and horrible stuff that resides on the dark web. It has the best and worst of humanity on it. You can hire a hitman, whilst also being free from global corporations tracing you. Due to its complexity and internet jargon, the best way to think about the dark web is as a metaphor. In Harry Potter, there’s a moment where Harry and the rest of his Wizarding friends begin a resistance. They train together in the room of requirement. This is the only room in the whole of Hogwarts that is invisible to the rest of the students and staff, but they can see it because they require it.

This, in a sense, is how the dark web works. It is hidden and can only be accessed through a specific browser. It is a part of something called the ‘deep web’, which refers to all web pages that are not shown by search engines (such as Google or Safari). Other things on the deep web include: online banking sites, email accounts, and password-protected forums. The dark web is a small portion of the deep web that can only be accessed using specialized software such as the Tor network.

What is the Tor Network?

The Tor network is like the ‘requirement’ in our metaphor. It allows people access to the room. The Tor network was developed by the U.S. Navy in the mid-1990s as a way to protect government communications. It works by routing internet traffic through a network of volunteer-run servers around the world, making it difficult to trace the origin of the traffic or the identity of the user. This anonymity has made it very popular with people who want to communicate and share information securely, as well as those who want to engage in illegal activities without being traced. In its very DNA, the Tor network ensures people are undiscovered, and thus it is a great place to purchase and sell drugs. 

How to Access the Dark Web

Step 1 – Download Tor

To access the dark web, you need to download and install the Tor browser. Guess what? You can download the Tor browser from the official Tor Project website for free. Make sure to read up on suggestions and recommendations, you want to ensure you have the newest and safest version.

Step 2 – Take Precautions

Searching the dark web – much like purchasing illegal drugs – can be dangerous. But also, with precautions, it doesn’t need to be. Make sure you have the right encryption software on your computer first of all. It is also important to note that using the Tor network does not guarantee anonymity. While it makes it much more difficult to trace internet activity back to a specific individual, it is still possible for law enforcement agencies or other parties to track down users if they are not careful. For example, if you log into your Facebook account while using the Tor network, Facebook will be able to see your IP address and potentially link it to your real-world identity. Reddit and other channels are good to use for research so as to avoid any of these mistakes.

Step 3 – Browse 

Once you have the Tor browser installed, have taken the necessary precautions, done your research, you can access the dark web by entering the address of a dark web site. These typically end in “.onion” rather than “.com” or “.org.” These sites are not accessible through a regular web browser, and you will not be able to find them using a search engine. Over the years, online marketplaces like The Silk Road and others have been shut down by authorities, so you’ll need to be patient and find other options. Thrillist writes:

“Reddit comes in handy here with /r/DarkNetMarkets. Tor has its own directory of sites you can browse as well. Some popular options like Agora require referral links, which can often be obtained on its forums. Be patient, but do your research to make sure you find a decent market that’s not likely to scam you.”

Step 4 – Find Quality Products

Once you’ve found an online market that works for you, now you can browse the products. The benefit of the dark web is that you can utilize other people’s reviews, and see how decent each individual seller’s products are. This makes it very obvious to notice when someone is a scammer or not. Ultimately, this is what makes the dark web a much safer environment to purchase substances. If a dealer was to scam someone online, they would be jeopardizing their whole business.

This is similar to that of Amazon or Ebay sellers. Once you have found a drug product that you like, you can now purchase it. Avoid anyone who wants you to pay them before the transaction is complete. The reliable markets have a special escrow method of payment which will ensure safety for both parties – like Airbnb or PayPal

Step 5 – Wait and Enjoy

It might take a few weeks for your substances to arrive, but when they do they will be – hopefully – better quality than you are used to. This is because, for once, the supply may actually match the demand. Usually, with street dealers, there is very little choice. On the dark web, the world is your oyster. Enjoy. 

Click here to hear about my experience taking magic mushrooms in Goa.


The dark web is often described as a scary place. But really, it is only as scary as you want it to be, or you allow it to be. In reality, it is just another boring internet browser. The dark web was not originally used for buying and selling drugs but now, due to its gifted anonymity, it is the perfect place for a safe and relaxed market to purchase substances. Precautions need to be taken of course, and there are many people who sell and purchase horrific things there. These must be avoided. But if you’re looking for a safe place to purchase illegal drugs and you’re willing to do the right research, the dark web is an ideal location. 

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About the author

Joseph Mcqueen

Joseph is a cannabis journalist in the UK. His search and love for the truth in the cannabis industry is what drives him to write.