The teenage years are often full of experimentation, including experimenting with different drugs. Sometimes, the only easy way to be able to experiment is to buy drugs online. Many parents may wonder where on earth their teens get drugs, not realizing that drugs can be shipped to the house. When teenagers want to experiment, they can buy prescription drugs online without a prescription.
Buying drugs online can be very dangerous, as teens must sometimes access the dark web to obtain illegal drugs. As a consequence, teens may showcase their vulnerabilities (e.g., bank accounts, email addresses, private files) to hackers. Knowing what your teen is doing online can help protect them from drug abuse and addiction.
The Dark Web, Apps and Social Networks
The dark web may be unfamiliar territory for many parents. The dark web can be accessed by unique browsers that are different from Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, or Mozilla Firefox, for example. Alternatively, there are many apps to buy drugs on smartphones. Drugs are also available on social media. Some darknet markets that are used to buy drugs illegally include the Silk Road 2.0, which was replaced by AlphaBay, Hansa and Dream.
Top Drugs Purchased Online
How exactly does buying drugs on the dark web work? Teen prescription drug abuse is not a new phenomenon, but in recent years it has decreased among high school students. Nevertheless, there is still a market for buying drugs illicitly. Sometimes teens may not partake in drug use, but buy drugs off the dark web in order to sell them for a profit.
Additionally, teens often purchase certain drugs online because they cannot get them elsewhere. The top drugs that teens buy online from China include cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy. Many of these drugs are highly addictive — which is another reason why many teens turn to online drug purchasing.
How Safe Is Buying Drugs on the Dark Web?
Is it safe to buy drugs on the dark web? The short answer is no. One of the most significant dangers of buying drugs online is that the composition of the drug cannot be determined by visual inspection alone. In many cases, proper laboratory tests must be conducted to determine the true identity of the drug or mix of drugs. Thus, there are several health risks associated with buying drugs online. Drugs that are sold online can come from anywhere in the world and are often not regulated in terms of drug production.
Reports of Teen Deaths From Online Drug Purchases
Because teens buying drugs online do not know the actual quality or strength of a drug they are receiving, there is the potential for teens to overdose on drugs purchases online. Alarmingly, there are many synthetic drugs laced with fentanyl that are easily purchased online.
It may be beneficial for parents to have an open and honest discussion with their teens, especially if they have been caught using the dark web. During this talk, parents can discuss the dangers of using drugs and share stories of teenagers who have overdosed on drugs.
In 2015, a 17-year-old teen was found dead in his home after overdosing on a synthetic drug called DTP that he purchased online from China. Tragically, this case is not the only instance of a teen death as a result of an online drug purchase. In 2016, two 13-year-old teens from Utah were found dead from drug overdoses after they purchased a synthetic drug online for $40.
Signs Your Kids Are Buying Drugs Online
For parents or guardians, it can be frustrating wondering whether teens are buying illegal drugs online. Teen drug use is associated with certain signs. In particular, there are even more unusual signs that point toward drug use associated with buying drugs online including:
- Exhibiting secretive behavior like locking doors while on laptops or phones
- Unusual behavior at school like a drop in grades, missing classes or no longer participating in extracurricular activities
- When teens are suddenly hanging out with new people with whom they never used to interact
- After buying drugs online, they receive deliveries that involve unusual packages
- Having prescription medications or pills around that do not belong to any members of the family
Preventing Online Purchases:
What teens may not realize is that the chances of getting caught buying drugs online are high. There are government programs in place to detect illegal drug activity online. Teens should learn about internet safety either at school or from their parents. There are many different tips and strategies that parents can employ to prevent online drug purchases and other dangerous items.
- Communicate: How can parents effectively talk to their teens about drugs? Learning how to effectively communicate with teens is one of the most important ways to prevent them from making online drug purchases. Having an open and honest conversation about the risks associated with purchasing drugs is the first step. Since a parent or guardian is often the first person who may recognize signs of teen drug use or overdose, it is important to have these conversations immediately. If teens know that their parent or guardian is there for them, they may be more willing to open up.
- Check the search history: One of the first things a parent or guardian can do to prevent and monitor any purchases online is to check their teen’s search history frequently. Are they searching online for information on how to buy drugs or visiting websites that seem suspicious? If so, it may be necessary to discuss these potentially dangerous searches with teens.
- Restrict internet access: Restricting internet access to only websites that the parent or guardian is familiar with or can monitor can allow parents more control over what their teens see online. Parental internet-blocking software can be used to restrict teen internet activity. There are limitations to using these software programs as teens may still have access to their smartphones or their friends’ phones and computers.
- Intercept deliveries: By checking the search history and recognizing behaviors that are out of the norm for their teen, it may be possible for parents and guardians to intercept deliveries before their teen receives them. This may provide some sort of proof that their teen is buying drugs online. Sometimes teenagers will send drugs to an alternate address to avoid being caught. Thus, parents must not automatically assume that their child is guilty, but must objectively look at all the facts.
- Monitor finances: It is also vital to monitor finances if a parent suspects their teen may be purchasing drugs online. In normal circumstances, teens often have limited sources of income. Checking for any unusual deposits, withdrawals or charges to monthly credit and debit card statements can help parents identify suspicious financial activity.
When It’s Time to Get Help
If you notice signs of secretive behavior in your teen, it may be time to seek professional help. Fortunately, there are many avenues in which parents and teens can acquire resources about teen drug abuse. If a compromise is reached concerning drug addiction treatment, teen drug rehab is a great option. There are many different drug rehab centers for teens.
If your teen is struggling with drug addiction and purchases drugs online, Next Generation Village can help. Located in Sebring, Florida, Next Generation Village offers programs designed specifically for teens. To learn more about our treatment programs, call today to speak with a representative.
Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.