More people are going online to buy legal and illegal drugs – and the UK is leading the trend

A higher proportion of drug users in the UK has bought drugs online than any other of the 43 nations questioned in a new survey.

Almost one in four UK respondents had bought drugs online in the 2014 Global Drug Survey, which is typically answered by people who are regular drug users and is partnered by MixMag and the Guardian.

Six in 10 UK respondents knew about Silk Road, the online black market that was closed down last year that was often used for trade in illegal drugs, and 44% has accessed the website.

The drug most commonly bought online was cannabis, then MDMA, LSD and ketamine.

Almost 11% of the 7,326 UK respondents had bought a “legal high” in the past 12 months.

Legal highs – chemical compounds that are often new to the market and so have not yet been made illegal - have grown rapidly in popularity in recent years, and particularly in the UK.

In 2010, four times more types of legal high were identified in the UK than in any other European country.

Legal highs carry many risks because they have typically been invented very recently and their effects may not have yet been tested.

To find out more about why they have become so popular in recent years and how drug-buying online has fuelled the trend, read our feature:

Drugs and dotcoms: How the legal highs industry exploded online

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