Dark Web Marketplace Warns Vendors Against Selling Fentanyl, Tainted Drugs

By Victoria Kim 09/01/16

After a wave of overdose deaths in August, the Darknet Hero League marketplace decided to pull the plug on the sale of potent adulterants. 

Dark Web Marketplace Warns Vendors Against Selling Fentanyl, Tainted Drugs

Some dark web marketplaces are making an effort to prevent overdoses caused by fentanyl—the synthetic opiate being used to lace heroin and even cocaine, in rarer cases, which has caused a rising number of fatal overdoses throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Industry sources report that Darknet Heroes League, one of many online marketplaces hidden on the dark web—a part of the Internet that can only be accessed by a secure and anonymous web browser—has banned the sale of fentanyl and other potent adulterants on its website. 

According to Deep Dot Web, DHL posted a notice on August 19 alerting customers and vendors that the synthetic opiate will no longer be allowed for sale on the site. “Due to recent deaths and the threat to customers’ well-being, we’ve come to the decision that starting today, we will no longer allow the sale of fentanyl and its related analogues on our market,” it said.

The notice went on to warn that DHL vendors caught selling the prohibited drugs will be barred from selling on the website.

Another darknet marketplace known as AlphaBay allegedly offered a free vendor account to sellers who promote harm reduction—like selling naloxone, the drug used to reverse opiate overdoses. 

The darknet community has its share of good samaritans, it seems. In August, one reddit user went on a darknet marketplace forum to offer 675 free doses of Narcan to fellow opiate users. “I’ll be honest, it would be nice to make money doing this,” wrote the user, “but it’s even better knowing I have the potential to save at least 675 lives at this point.”

Another reddit user—in response to a customer on AlphaBay who admitted he injected a counterfeit pill and came “the closest I have ever come to overdosing”—offered to send the user Narcan, naloxone in nasal spray form. “You have Narcan around? If not [private message] me and we will take care of that real quick,” he wrote. “If you insist on doing [fentanyl], I insist on sending you a couple of vials of Narcan.”

Others have made it their mission to help users test drugs for purity, like the DNM Avengers, who offered to pay for people to submit samples of their drugs to get lab-tested. The group is apparently funded by donations that allow them to reimburse users for the tests.

Another group, the now-defunct LSD Avengers, would sniff out fake LSD on the Silk Road marketplace by buying drugs from vendors and testing them for purity. Then, they would write a review on the vendor’s page detailing the results of their tests. The LSD Avengers wrote 60 reviews in total, separating real LSD from research chemicals like synthetic opiates and synthetic psychedelics, according to the Verge. They wrote their last review before retiring in 2013, the day before the Silk Road was shut down by federal authorities. 

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr