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Drugs, The Darknet & The Media [My Story]


The darknet drug markets now provide more harm reduction information to users than both the government and the established media. How did this situation arise, and why does it remain unreported?


Furnishing individuals with safety information on their drug of choice reduces the risk of tragedy and death. This is a self-evident truth. Putting it another way, via a popular mantra: ignorance kills education saves lives.

This stark and somewhat obvious premise drove a project which began more in hope than expectation almost 15 years ago. It was during the summer of 2009 that I took the first steps in writing what eventually became The Drug Users Bible, a best-selling 638-page harm reduction tome.

This was always going to be a serious and lengthy undertaking. I resolved to not only document every drug in common use, both chemical and botanical, but to also experience them for myself. I felt that to have credibility amongst drug consumers this was an essential pre-requisite. As someone bluntly told me at the time, if I didn’t do this I would be like a nun offering sex education.

What I didn’t know at the start was that I would ultimately self-administer 182 different drugs, on a journey which would have tremendous highs, but far too many horrendous and traumatic lows. Despite the latter I got there in the end, and I was more than happy with final result. It is, without doubt, helping thousands to mitigate risk and to take more informed decisions regarding drug use.

However, there was always an element of dissatisfaction in the back of mind in the form of a question: what about the people who didn’t buy books or who couldn’t afford them? By the summer of 2023 my imagination was running riot as I sought to resolve this troubling and perplexing issue.

Imagine vital harm reduction information being provided without charge at point of drug purchase, on a global basis. Imagine the potential impact this might have in terms of user safety.

Is this vision really so far fetched? On visiting a doctor or a pharmacy provision of safety information is routine, and this usually extends well beyond dose, frequency and duration.

Why can’t the same apply to recreational drugs? Is there a way to integrate harm reduction into the supply chain despite the unremitting brutality of the drug war?

The answer to the latter turned out to be yes, at least in part.

The darknet, and in particular the darknet markets, play an increasingly important role in terms of the distribution of drugs. Consumers and vendors alike source from this hidden and anonymous alternative to the visible Internet which most people are familiar with.

With respect to this, my light-bulb moment regarding the above issues came in the form of a what-if.

What if I created a free-of-charge PDF version of The Drug Users Bible? What if I could actually communicate with the owners of the markets? What if they provided this PDF without charge to customers? Was this possible? Would they even listen?

I realised immediately that, although the prospects appeared to be slim, I had to go for it: even with limited success someone somewhere might pick something up from the PDF which would save their lives. But where would I start?

Luckily, like the Internet, the darknet has a social media stratum. This is dominated by a Reddit-like platform called Dread. This was the obvious start-point.

I contacted the staff there, explained my vision, and simply asked for help. With the response, an enthusiastic yes, I knew that this had a chance. The project was on.

Dread became the first darknet entity to host the PDF, and they launched it with vigour, such that even some of the markets would become aware of it. It was now obvious that I had to seize the moment.

I thus began to identify every significant market. I prepared my script and started the lengthy process of establishing a means of communication. One by one I approached them, explaining the mission and asking them to either host the PDF or to provide a link to it, so that customers (drug consumers) had the opportunity to obtain their own copy.

This took patience and persistence, and months of effort, but eventually I got there. Almost every market of any significance is now on board, thus adding to their innate regulatory functionality (such provision of an eBay-like vendor rating system, which helps to protect consumers against adulterated supply). In another unexpected turn, a growing number of individual vendors are also offering the PDF at point of sale.

The more drug consumers who are exposed to harm reduction information the more effective this project becomes. So by any measure the project has exceeded all expectations, and continues to do so. It is now making a difference in the real world.

The media though (with the honourable exception of the BBC World Service) never fails to disappoint. My Reddit quote, below, was perhaps borne of frustration, but is nonetheless a reasonable summary of the situation:

--- Quote ---“If an individual is caught selling drugs on a darknet market it is solemnly presented as a news-worthy story across much of the media landscape. If a market operator is caught it garners headlines across the world.

However, when those same markets evolve to provide life-critical harm reduction material directly at point of drug sale, this significant public health development remains unreported.”
--- End quote ---

Fortunately, this abrogation does not change the concrete reality on the ground.

At the very beginning I framed the context for the book, and the project, with the following commentary:

--- Quote ---“People are dying because of ignorance.

They are dying because unremitting propaganda is denying them vital safety information.

They are dying because legislators and the media are censoring the science, and are ruthlessly pushing an ideological agenda instead.

They are dying because the first casualty of war is truth, and the war on drugs is no different.”
--- End quote ---

Although the safety data I collated and researched over so many years is now literally at the fingertips of countless thousands, this remains the case. Further, no cavalry, in the form of a benevolent government or philanthropic authority, is going to appear and suddenly provide this form of education.

This, however, is a project with which anyone can help. Thus, if you know someone who may be at risk, or who may simply appreciate further information on drug safety; please feel free to forward to them. The download is available from all the major cloud networks, as listed on this page:

Despite the indifference of society at large and the many obstacles in situ, as a community we can reduce ignorance: we can educate. Collectively we can save more of those lives. Although this isn’t a sweeping all-encompassing solution to the misery and death inherently caused by the war on drugs, it is at least something. Let’s do it.

Dominic Milton Trott,


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