The UK is among the biggest global purchasers of drugs on the dark web as the illicit online trade grows, new research has found.
The Global Drug Survey 2018 showed that more than a quarter of British drug users who responded, bought substances on websites where they seek to remain anonymous by disguising their location and paying with cryptocurrency.
Dealers then send drugs by post to evade checks at air and sea ports in the UK, where authorities are attempting to crack down on the practice.
Higher rates of dark web buying were only found in Finland (46 per cent) and Norway (30 per cent) and researchers said a variety of factors are driving the trend.
Professor Adam R Winstock, a consultant psychiatrist and founder of the survey, said the method tended to be more popular in countries with tight drug laws and an online shopping habit.
“We have one of the highest rates of CCTV cameras in the world in Britain and so people want to keep themselves away from prying eyes,” he told The Independent.
“People are looking at getting the best bang for their buck - this is the expansions of online consumption. They look for convenience, product range, quality vendor ratings - it’s exactly the same reasons you would buy stuff of Amazon.”
Ecstasy, followed by cannabis, LSD and novel (unapproved) drugs are the most commonly purchased on the dark web, according to the survey, which found the popularity of former “legal highs” has declined.