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EXCLUSIVE INVESTIGATION: This is how easy it is to buy illicit drugs

Oliver Peterson
Article image for EXCLUSIVE INVESTIGATION: This is how easy it is to buy illicit drugs

Dealing drugs is no longer confined to alleyways, nightclub toilets and empty carparks. With a few taps on a smartphone, anyone can get illicit and prescription drugs such as meth, cocaine, MDMA, Viagra and benzodiazepines delivered right to their front door.

Encrypted apps such as Telegram and other forms of social media are a popular choice for legitimate messaging, however it has also become a way for people to trade drugs.

Perth LIVE producer Liz Sheehan detailed how easy it is to find chat groups selling drugs and how explicit the content is.

“Grams, prices, what it was…. it’s all there,” she said.

Rod Bridge’s son Preston died in 2013 from an overdose of a synthetic drug purchased on the web. He founded the organisation Sideffect to educate youth about substance abuse and to empower them to make informed decisions.

He told Oliver Peterson he’s not surprised this is still going on.

“It’s like getting ice-cream delivered,” said Mr Bridge

“This has got to be monitored very carefully by the police and this has to be stopped pretty quick.”

Mr Bridge is calling for social media platforms which support illegal activity to be shut down.

“We’ve got kids sitting on their bed with the ability to do drug deals.”

Despite WA Police arresting 60 people in May 2020 for using encrypted apps to buy and sell drugs, these groups continue to flourish. A WA Police spokesperson told Perth LIVE,

“There are many young adults (and their parents) who were surprised to find police searching their homes during that operation. Many young people use online illicit marketplaces under the false belief they can remain anonymous throughout the entire process, however the arrests we made public last year were to show that is not necessarily the case.

Part of our messaging last year was to alert those young adults that the serious repercussions that come from criminal records can lead to life changing impacts, particularly around employment in professional careers and the ability to travel overseas. We certainly hope our strategy educated many in that respect, and deterred some from buying drugs, however we know those risks won’t deter everyone and our ongoing activity in that space continues.”

This video shows how easy it is to access chat groups selling drugs:

Click PLAY to listen:

Oliver Peterson