The dark web has reintroduced ketamine to large markets around the world, including the UK and Taiwan. According to Drugs 2.0 author Mike Power, by early 2014, the supply and operations of ketamine dealers throughout the UK were wiped out. However, the dark web revived the global ketamine market and dealers have begun to supply the drug to larger markets.
Over the past decade, law enforcement agencies and regulators in various countries focused on the crackdown of ketamine abusers. Some countries have attempted to decrease the supply to ketamine so that only institutional healthcare service providers and hospitals would have stocks of ketamine readily available for emergency use cases.
Regulators have fought a decades-long war with ketamine suppliers and abusers solely due to the drug’s inconceivable effects to the human body. As Kit Kelly, the author of The Little Book of Ketamine explained:
“[Ketamine] unlocks powers so intense and improbable it is hard to believe such a substance could exist. At first glance, it might look like a simple pet anaesthetic, but when you actually try ketamine, it seems to violate all boundaries of what we think is possible. While the notion of cosmic journeys in a cat tranquilizer may seem silly, ketamine is much more complex than it appears.”
Researchers and experts within the healthcare industry became increasingly concerned over ketamine’s overpowering impact on the human body. For this reason, even authorized large-scale healthcare institutions rely on small dosages of ketamine to relieve patients of intense pain.
“Ketamine’s main medicinal use is as an anaesthetic for children, or car crash victims, or for people wounded on the battlefield, as well as in poorer countries, because unlike general anaesthesia, no expert backup team is required since the drug does not disable your respiratory system. It is used by vets to tranquilise pets ahead of surgery, since the drug blocks pain channels and wears off quickly,” Power further emphasized.
However, in the early 90s, the demand for ketamine surged significantly in countries including the UK and China. Naturally, the supply of ketamine increased proportionally and the drug became easily accessible in most major markets. By late 2000s, supply of ketamine started to decrease as governments in the UK and China seized large amounts of ketamine from dealers.
Martin Raithelhuber, United Nations Office on Drugs and Organised Crime synthetic drugs specialist stated:
“Seizures reach record heights, with most of them done in China. Evidence of illicit ketamine labs outside China, where they bust over 100 annually, is scarce, but in 2016, the first ketamine lab was dismantled in Malaysia.”
For a while, the demand for ketamine maintained a low level in the majority of markets due to strict regulations and harsh consequences. But, over the past few years, the supply of ketamine substantially increased due to the presence of the dark web and dark net marketplaces.
In fact, on April 30, DeepDotWeb reported that Taiwanese authorities seized 511 kilograms of ketamine obtained from the dark web. At the time, local publications reported that the amount of ketamine seized during the operation would have been enough to supply one million people. Upon the closure of the investigation, the Taipei City Police emphasized the large impact the dark web has on the distribution of ketamine in global markets.
The dark web and anonymous Tor network-based marketplaces have triggered a new wave of ketamine operations and dealerships throughout the world. Law enforcement agencies and authorities are in alert and as seen in the case of the Taiwanese ketamine dealers, international law enforcement agencies aim to focus on the crackdown of dark web operations and darknet marketplaces supplying and distributing ketamine in large markets.