In n+1, Ned Beauman explores the world of online (illegal) drug sales—a world of ecommerce sites selling “plant food” and message boards and forums that help you figure out what dose of plant food will get you high. (“These forums do what no government anti-drug campaign has ever been able to accomplish: they make hard drugs seem boring.”) Adrien Chen wrote about the main drug dealing site—Silk Road—for Wired in 2011.
This essay from narrative.ly about buying heroin on the street makes for good companion reading (“She passed me a clear plastic bag. It was about the size of a baseball card. Inside were two folded wax paper bags stamped in bold purple: ‘Purple Label.’ Even heroin has a brand name. The bags were about the size of postage stamps. I quickly stuffed them in my pocket. Jamie cracked a warped smile and yelled ‘Enjoy!’ like a TV grandmother setting down a plate of piping hot oatmeal cookies. ‘I’m always around here,’ she said, ‘if you want to come by tomorrow.'”)