It is just one of many places to find drugs online. In recent years, some of the biggest black markets have been on the so-called dark net, where buyers can place mail orders using Bitcoin and other virtual currency to operate with anonymity. AlphaBay, one of the largest such markets, was shut down two weeks ago, after a law enforcement crackdown. On the public internet, drug buyers have been able to use sites over the years including Craigslist and Topix, forums on Google Groups and, more recently, mobile apps like Snapchat, Instagram and other social media platforms. The company said it evaluates violations of its user agreement case by case, but did not explain why the opiate-buying forum had escaped detection from Reddit and law enforcement for at least four years.
Reddit also hosts similar groups involving ecstasy and cocaine that have not been banned. While police departments and federal officials are often aware that the public sites are used for drug sales, they tend to focus on major suppliers — like clinics flooding the market with pain pills — rather than low-level individual sellers. Last year Reddit banned two so-called alt-right subreddits for repeatedly posting personal information that could lead to harassment.
It took no action, though, against a subreddit organized around gun sales, which drew scrutiny after a Mother Jones article suggested that some arms dealers sought to exploit a federal background check loophole. The opiate-buying forum that Reddit shut down last week offered a state-by-state directory where people could post their area code to show where they wanted to make a deal.
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Details of where and when to meet up were worked out in private messages, phone calls or texts. Several people who use the forum said it felt safer to them than buying drugs on the street in rough parts of town. Users were warned not to post information that violates Reddit rules against sourcing illicit substances. Frazier in getting opiates soon after she moved to Ohio. The user described serving — for her and others — as a broker.
And members of her group die every month, she says.
By Reddit standards, the forums are tiny — about 13, unique users posted on the buying and selling group over the past four years, some of them overlapping with the nearly 38, subscribers to the forum Ms. Helton Mitchell moderates. She distances herself from the drug-buying forum. Her group — which shares stories about scoring drugs and getting high, and discusses struggles with relapse, recovery and family — can save lives, she said in an interview.
Helton Mitchell, a former heroin addict. On the forum, she and others try to dispel myths, like the one suggesting that injecting someone with cocaine or speed after an overdose could save them. They offer warnings, such as a recent one saying that a batch of cocaine in the San Francisco area had been cut with fentanyl. Sometimes they send each other clean needles, or naloxone, the drug that can revive someone after overdosing. Helton Mitchell, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, says she has sent out more than packages of naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan among others, and kept a tally of lives that have been saved — at least One of the packages went to a Reddit user calling herself jelllly, who wrote a tribute to Ms.
Helton Mitchell two years ago. Along with breathing exercises, I revived a very close friend.
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