Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Drugs on the internet: Mapping the terrain of engagement with darknet drug cryptomarkets in New Zealand

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posted on 2021-12-08, 08:33 authored by Moss-Mason, Lucy

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.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Arts

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

Institute of Criminology

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Social and Cultural Studies


Hutton, Fiona