Darknet Guides

Harm Reduction: Best Practices for Darknet Market Shoppers

In this guide we will explain the concept of harm reduction as it applies to the darknet market drug shopping experience.

So, you’ve decided that you want to do drugs purchased from a darknet market. We’re not here to talk you out of it, but what we will do is provide some basic information on how to help make your experience more pleasant by reducing unnecessary risk.

Being armed with just a bit of extra knowledge about how to proceed when taking recreational drugs (especially for the first time) can go a long way in not only preventing bodily damage or unintended consequences but perhaps even save your life as well. There are plenty of resources available to help you in this regard and we’ve compiled and condensed a lot of pertinent information from them here.

When talking about “harm” as it applies to drug use, it’s important to note that psychoactive substances may be considered harmful in different ways; most commonly on a physical level (wear on the body), a mental level (wear on cognition), a psychological level (wear on mental health), or a combination thereof. Other ways in which they can be harmful are in terms of finances (drug cost, loss of employment, bad financial decision-making) and terms of relationships (strain on friends, family, or romantic relationships), although we will not provide advice on how to avoid harm in these respects.

Basically, harm reduction comes down to a matter of being educated about the substance you will be consuming, preparing yourself to adequately deal with the experience, and being aware of the potential consequences or aftermath. Purchasing a potentially dangerous mind-altering drug from a stranger on the darknet introduces additional concerns that you should be aware of – such as the legitimacy and potency of the product being sold – but these concerns can be mitigated by doing some basic research into a vendor’s reputation, the reputation of their products, and even testing the product yourself.

Types of Harm Reduction

There are several different approaches to reducing the level of damage one can potentially experience in the consumption of drugs purchased from a darknet market. These approaches are divided into the following categories:

  • Choice of substance. Some drugs are inherently more harmful than others which makes their consumption inherently riskier. For example, marijuana (cannabis) has never been responsible for a single overdose death, whereas hundreds of people overdose from microscopic amounts of fentanyl on a daily basis. Also to consider is the potential for addiction to a substance. For example, most psychedelic drugs are not physically addictive, but most opioids and stimulants are.
  • Choice of vendor. Many – if not most – darknet market vendors care about establishing a good reputation through good business practices, which means providing a product that is in alignment with what they are advertising. Some vendors fail at this accidentally, and some fail at it purposefully, selling products that contain entirely different substances than what is being advertised. This is why its important to seek out and choose a competent, reputable vendor. If you can find vendors whose products have good online test results, this is even better.
  • Size of dose. Knowing the appropriate dosage to consume of a drug is extremely important as it can sometimes mean the difference between life and death, or at the very least, a good time and a bad. Dosage needs to be determined not only by what is considered “average” for a particular chemical but by personal response and tolerance to a drug. This can only be determined through experience, which is why its always a good idea to start out small.
  • Route of administration. RoA refers to the method by which a chemical is ingested or introduced to the bloodstream. Some drugs can have very different effects based on how they make their way into the body, and its beneficial to first research how the RoA affects the experience of the drug you are taking. Other factors that change based on RoA include onset period, duration of effect, and intensity of effect. Some methods (such as IV or IM injection) pose far more risks than others and should be avoided when alternatives exist.

Ultimately, its up to you to establish your own risk/reward ratio when experimenting with drugs, but respecting yourself enough to take all four of the above categories into consideration will go a long way in improving your chances of not only having a good time but living long enough in a meaningful way to have several others.

10 Basics of Psychoactive Drug Harm Reduction

Below is a summarized version of the “10 Commandments Of Safer Drug Use” as found in The Drug User’s Bible by DM Trott. The author emphasizes that the responsibility of a drug user’s well-being always falls on themselves, and that the best way to avoid injury or general unpleasantness is being equipped with the knowledge to make “more measured and informed decisions.”

We recommend taking a few minutes to read through the following before taking the plunge into any sort of psychoactive drug. Regardless of whether you are a newbie or a seasoned pro, you might find something new and helpful in this list:

  1. Research. Conduct thorough research using various sources such as the internet, books, and experienced individuals. Take your time to gather information and avoid rushing, but prioritize accuracy. Acquire a comprehensive understanding of the chemical or botanical substance you plan to use well in advance. There is no greater piece of mind when heading into a trip than knowing what you are dealing with and what to expect on an intimate level.
  2. Exercise caution when sourcing. Assess your confidence level regarding whether a substance matches your expectations. Consider the possibility of it being adulterated with undesirable substances or being a close but not exact match to your order. Consider any potential issues that could have arisen during manufacturing or transport. Evaluate the reputation of your source. Obtaining the substance is just the initial stage of ensuring safety.
  3. Test your substance. Reagent testing is a straightforward method for identifying numerous common chemicals, and there is no more surefire way to know what you are consuming than performing a test on it. Test kits are readily available for purchase online, and there are plenty of simple guides to assist you. A second option is looking up test results for vendor products on places like the Dread forum, although this obviously isn’t as ideal as performing your own test.
  4. Buy a scale. Acquire a scale capable of measuring a substance down to the milligram level (0.001 g) and learn how to use it properly. Precise dosing is crucial, as many chemicals exhibit high sensitivity to dosage, even at low levels. It is essential to prioritize this aspect and avoid any attempts to save money or bypass it under any circumstances — this is perhaps the best way to reduce risk of accidental overdose.
  5. Know your dose. Thoughtfully and logically consider the dosage, accounting for your personal circumstances and the information you have gathered about the drug. In social settings, resist succumbing to peer pressure. Always remember that you can increase the dosage if necessary, but you cannot undo what you have already taken. When using a drug for the first time, you are introducing a new chemical into your body, and its reaction is unknown. Opting for a low dose generally reduces the risks to your personal safety and psychological well-being, including the potential for overdose or a negative experience.
  6. Allergy test. If you are prone to allergic reactions, you may want to conduct an allergy test to mitigate potential risks when consuming a substance for the first time. Although the risk may seem minimal, severe allergies can have fatal consequences. Begin by measuring the smallest possible quantity of the substance. Divide it into smaller portions and place one part under or on your tongue. If you experience any irritation, swelling, or soreness, it could indicate an allergic reaction; in which case you will not want to continue with your planned use of the substance.
  7. Mental and physical health check. Evaluate your well-being honestly. Consider whether you are feeling physically and mentally okay. This is a significant question to ask yourself. If you are unwell, sick, or in poor health, these conditions can be intensified during the experience and may have adverse effects on your body load. If there is any doubt whatsoever, it is best not to proceed. Just put the trip off until you are in a better state of mind about your well-being.
  8. Plan your trip. Prepare for the experience and establish clear parameters ahead of time to avoid making impulsive decisions while under the influence. Once you have taken your chosen dosage, practice patience and refrain from taking more if the onset is delayed. Assess your setting — the location and circumstance in which you will undergo the experience. When it comes to psychedelics, these factors often determine the nature of a trip and can occasionally lead to a negative experience. For a first time taking a drug, consider having a trip-sitter present. Ensure you have water, food, and any other necessary provisions or entertainment readily available.
  9. Prepare for a worst-case scenario. It’s not a terrible idea to keep the contact information of emergency help services nearby in case of urgent need (depending on what substance you are consuming). Write down the substance you are dosing and place the note in a noticeable location on your person. In the worst-case scenario, this information can assist emergency services. If you are partaking in the experience with a group, consider designating a specific individual to stay sober to ensure the availability of help and objective rationality if needed.
  10. Allow for recovery. Respect yourself by giving your body and mind ample time to recover and process the experience. If you regularly use drugs, take breaks between psychoactive sessions, and longer breaks between sessions involving substances from the same class. This practice helps prevent the experiences from becoming overly intrusive in your life and assists in managing tolerance while reducing the risk of addiction. Of course, it’s a good idea to avoid developing a habit of any type of drug use, including alcohol.

Tips on Choosing a Good Vendor

Generally speaking, you should only make purchases from experienced vendors who don’t just have a lot of positive feedback but also lack negative feedback — especially as it pertains to the purity or quality of their product. Depending on where you are in the world, there may be a limited selection of vendors willing to ship the product you desire to your particular location. However, this is no excuse to order from a vendor with a questionable reputation when it comes to the legitimacy of their product.

Example of a negative vendor review for a potentially mislabeled product.

Consider shopping around and browsing different markets when searching for a vendor who is known for being competent and honest about what they are selling. Remember that you don’t have to go by market feedback alone: you can always attempt to cross-reference a vendor by performing a search for their name on the Dread darknet markets forum (Tor browser required). Here you can read about what others have to say about them — whether or not they are good at delivery, the substances in their listings are as advertised, or even if their dosage measurements tend to be correct.

Tips on Testing a Substance

There are several different drug testing services available that are relatively inexpensive and allow for submissions to be made anonymously. These services require that you send a sealed sample of the substance which they then analyze and either send the results to you or post them online for public viewing. Some of the more popular of these services include:

  • Energy Control – Spain-based testing service, accepts international samples
  • GetYourDrugsTested.com – free testing service for Canadian citizens, displays test results
  • WEDINOS – free testing service for those in the UK, displays test results
  • DrugsData – lab analysis results of anonymously-submitted drug samples (incl. DNM vendors)

Alternatively, you can also buy your own drug testing kits to test for the presence or absence of popular substances (most common are for MDMA, cocaine, ketamine, LSD, amphetamines, and fentanyl). One particular online merchant that have sold such tests to recreational drug users for years is dancesafe.org, which also serves as a repository of information regarding testing and the effects of psychoactive drugs in general. Other resources for buying home testing kits include:

  • The Bunk Police – wide-range of kits and strips for most popular recreational drugs
  • TN Scientific – several different reagent kits and testing strips, including fentanyl
  • Psychedelic Passage – links to psychedelic drug testing kit providers

Example of a drug reagent testing kit for MDMA and fentanyl.

If you’d rather not have to do the test yourself, there are a few different testing initiatives that specifically apply to darknet market products. One of the newest and most interesting of these is called Test4Pay which started in November of 2022. Test4Pay operates purely on donations and compensates darknet market users for purchasing a product, sending a portion of it off to be tested, and reporting the test results to the program’s subdread (Tor browser required).

This method allows for an extremely transparent assessment of a vendor’s product as vendor name, listing title, test results, and the market from which it was purchased are visible to all. Thus, granted a vendor hasn’t altered their product in the meantime, it is easy to see if they are being honest about their product labeling, and if they are therefore worthy of your patronage. Vendors who are honest may continue being honest in the future; vendors who are dishonest will likely continue being dishonest in the future.

Test4Pay results on Dread for an MDMA product purchased from a darknet market.

Harm Reduction Resources

Much of the information used in this article was pulled from the following websites, which are all considered to be top-tier resources for those seeking to expand their knowledge on psychoactive drugs from a user’s standpoint. It is recommended that you reference them when performing research prior to taking a substance for the first time. This will allow you to go into the trip armed with the knowledge of what to expect, providing you with a peace of mind that may prove to be valuable during or even after the experience.

  • Erowid – one of the longest-running and most-trusted harm reduction resources on the internet, with drug profiles and user experience reports for hundreds of psychoactive substances
  • The Drug User’s Bible by DM Trott – a comprehensive guide to responsible psychoactive drug use, includes trip reports of 157 substances
  • Bluelight Forums – forums for pill reports, trip reports, drug culture, and individual substances
  • DanceSafe – resource for drug information and drug testing kits
  • TripSit – resource for drug factsheets, drug combinations, and a drug wiki (last updated 2018)
  • PsychonautWiki – comprehensive wiki for substances, effects, experiences, tutorials, and responsible use
  • WEDINOS.org – harm reduction project analyzing anonymous drug samples & providing reports
  • Harm Reduction on Dread – subdread dedicated to harm reduction techniques, resources, discussion (Tor browser required)

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