Drugs on the internet: Mapping the terrain of engagement with darknet drug cryptomarkets in New Zealand
This thesis explores the experiences of New Zealanders who order illicit drugs from cryptomarkets, with particular attention to their perspectives on New Zealand’s conventional illicit drug market, the negatives and positives of drug cryptomarkets, and their notable insights and features. Internationally, research on engagement with drug cryptomarkets is emergent. However, peer-reviewed research on New Zealand drug cryptomarket users remains absent. This thesis attempts to begin to fill this gap, exploring the experiences and viewpoints of New Zealand drug cryptomarket users within the context of existing international literature. The study utilised qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 12 New Zealanders who have accessed drug cryptomarkets. The data from the interviews were interpreted through thematic analysis using constructivist grounded theory. The research found that the constraints of New Zealand’s conventional drug market push some drug consumers to use cryptomarkets to access illicit drugs. Although drug cryptomarkets have various pull factors that attract participants to them, they also have negative aspects which influence participants’ choices and behaviours when accessing cryptomarkets. The findings that are presented give voice to the lived experiences of New Zealanders who access drug cryptomarkets, extend scholarly knowledge of cryptomarket users, and highlight further avenues for research.