Buy Painkillers Online. Opioid addicts are turning to online forums for advice about quitting. Their conversations have a lot to teach us about drug use and public health.Doug JohnsonUndarkOctober 20, 2019
Ryan Le Blanc got his first dose of opioids at three months old, after surgery for a unilateral cleft palate. Now in his late 20s, the English-as-a-second-language teacher has gone through about 15 more surgeries of varying severity.
With each operation came new painkillers. At 14, while living in New England, Le Blanc started buying and using illegal opioids for fun. By 16, he was injecting heroin, a habit that he carried from high school through college graduation.
As a teenager, Le Blanc came across Bluelight.org, a drug forum now more than 20 years old. He read post after post—innumerable lines of text and images about the substances he was taking, how to take them safely, and how to quit.
Today these threads aren’t just of interest to the site’s users. As the opioid epidemic worsens, claiming about 130 lives a day in 2018 in the United States alone, a cadre of researchers is looking for solutions to addiction and overdoses in the sprawl of drug forums. The researchers say that drug forums on the dark web—a catchall term for internet hubs that are often encrypted or unavailable through regular search engines—along with more mainstream counterparts such as Bluelight and drug-related threads on the website Reddit, might be medical or research tools in their own right.