Snapchat: The New Silk Road
With the boom of the technological age, we’re more digitally connected than ever. Now, you can find a date, follow your friend’s latest drama, deposit your paycheck, and apparently buy drugs with just an app. Apps seem to be the way a lot of us get things done and maximize productivity, with as minimal wasted time as possible. It’s almost hard to remember life without our phones, tablets, and millions of applications available at our fingertips.
Most of our daily activities have evolved along with advances in technology. Dating, banking, shopping, and hanging out with friends is mostly an online activity these days. Just like anything else, drug dealing and buying drugs has also changed with the times. A few years back, a website only accessible on the Dark Web was unearthed and found to be an online drug sales market. Called the “Silk Road” the only way to access the site was through a program called a Tor browser which allowed users to buy drugs online under the nose of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. Users could anonymously make purchases using cryptocurrency, which is a type of digital money that is difficult to track. The website was found and shut down by the FBI in 2013, but that hasn’t stopped online drug sales from continuing.
Snapchat is one of today’s most popular social media platforms. It’s a free messaging app that allows users to send private, disappearing messages that drug dealers have had a field day with. Dealers can send out pictures of their supply to trusted customers since the only way to really find someone on Snapchat is if they give you their specific username, so word-of-mouth has become the way to make new drug connections. It’s also fairly easy to remain anonymous on Snapchat, seeing as you can use a fake name and a fake picture. Snapchat is the new marketplace for nearly every drug out there including weed, cocaine, LSD, and prescription drugs.
The thing that sets Snapchat apart from things like the Silk Road is that you don’t need a fancy computer or know-how to use Tor to access the online drug market. It’s an app many kids (and adults who like the fun filters) already have on their phones and tablets. All they have to do is open the app, see what’s available, and make their purchase. Parents need to be more cautious than ever since drug dealers are literally in their kids’ back pockets. The game has changed from the days of riding around in bad neighborhoods, looking for a guy who’s holding, and hopefully, you won’t get beat up, ripped off, or robbed.
Drugs seem to be more readily available than ever and families need to constantly talk to their children about online safety because along with drug dealers, there’s also online sex predators and bullies, making virtually no website or social media site 100 % safe.
It’s never too late to talk to your loved ones about drugs, because they are literally everywhere.