eDarkTrends: Monitoring cryptomarkets to identify emerging trends of illicit synthetic opioids use
Dr Monica Barratt
Dr Francois Lamy, Wright State University, Ohio, USA
Professor Amit Sheth, Wright State University, Ohio, USA
Professor Robert Carlson, Wright State University, Ohio, USA
Associate Professor Raminta Daniulaityte, Wright State University, Ohio, USA
Associate Professor Ramzi Nahhas, Wright State University, Ohio, USA
Project summary: Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the number of seizures and unintentional overdose fatalities related to illicit synthetic opioids in multiple states across the U.S. This NIH-funded project builds a system to monitor the emergence of new synthetic opioids in darknet markets or cryptomarkets. The proposed study is significant because it will provide new information about illicit synthetic opioids and will identify new illicit synthetic opioids as soon as they appear on those markets. The key innovation is the development of a semi-automated system able to a) collect and analyse advertisement data from cryptomarkets and b) identify new emerging substances advertised on these markets.
Rationale: The study will collect and analyse data extracted from cryptomarkets to characterize illicit synthetic opioid marketing characteristics and trends in the U.S, and will identify new, emerging illicit synthetic opioid-related terms (e.g., substance names, product forms) as soon as they appear on these markets. It will be the first system to apply semi-automated computational techniques to monitor the supply of illicit synthetic opioids on cryptomarkets. The findings will inform public health interventions and policy responses.
Aims: The overall purposes of the proposed study are to (a) characterise illicit synthetic opioid marketing characteristics and trends, and (b) identify new, emerging illicit synthetic opioid terms (e.g., substance names, product forms) from three "cryptomarkets" located in the Deep Web. The Specific Aims of the study are to: 1) Develop a semi-automated knowledge-based system, eDarkTrends, to collect and process data about illicit synthetic opioids supplied on cryptomarkets; 2a) Describe and monitor US-based supply trends of illicit synthetic opioids on cryptomarkets (e.g., trends in availability of non-pharmaceutical fentanyl analogs, U-47700, MT-45), including types of illicit synthetic opioids, prices, advertised purity, dosage and product forms, quantity supplied, and drug combinations; 2b) Identify new illicit synthetic opioid substances and product forms soon after they appear on cryptomarkets.
For full details please visit the NDARC website.