A year after the black market website Silk Road was shuttered by the FBI, many new sites selling illegal drugs have appeared.
Ecstasy (MDMA) is the most widely sold illicit drug on these sites, according to a survey.
Almost twice as much MDMA is being sold online as marijuana, the second-most popular illicit drug. LSD, cocaine and amphetamines were the other top-five drugs sold on these sites, according to The Washington Post.
Dozens of black market sites have emerged in the past year, the article notes. Silk Road and three similar sites had about 18,000 drug items listed for sale last fall. In April 2014, there were 10 such sites, listing 32,000 drug items. By this August, there were 18 sites listing 47,000 drug items, according to the Digital Citizens Alliance.
Daryl Lau, a programmer, analyzed drug sales on these sites, concentrating on the nine illegal drugs the National Institute on Drug Abuse says are most commonly used: cocaine, heroin, opium, amphetamines, MDMA, ketamine, mescaline, LSD and marijuana. These drugs account for about 28 percent of all drugs listed on one of the new websites, Silk Road 2.0. Much of the remainder are prescription drugs, or synthetic drugs such as "2C" or "NBOMe."
The black market websites allow users to rate their purchases. Because MDMA bought on the street is often laced with potentially dangerous ingredients, users may prefer to buy it online from a vendor who receives a high rating from other users, according to the newspaper.