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Waterford, Ireland

Waterford Institute of Technology is a state funded third-level educational freely available large scale institution situated in the city of Waterford, Ireland. The Institute has six Schools and offers programmes in Business, Engineering, Science, Health science, Education & Humanities.The institute opened in 1970 as a Regional Technical College and adopted its present name on May 7, 1997. The institute is currently headed by President Dr. Ruaidhri Neavyn. Wikipedia.


Van Hout M.C.,Waterford Institute of Technology
International Journal of Drug Policy | Year: 2014

Background: Silk Road is located on the Deep Web and provides an anonymous transacting infrastructure for the retail of drugs and pharmaceuticals. Members are attracted to the site due to protection of identity by screen pseudonyms, variety and quality of product listings, selection of vendors based on reviews, reduced personal risks, stealth of product delivery, development of personal connections with vendors in stealth modes and forum activity. The study aimed to explore vendor accounts of Silk Road as retail infrastructure. Methods: A single and holistic case study with embedded units approach (Yin, 2003) was chosen to explore the accounts of vendor subunits situated within the Silk Road marketplace. Vendors (n= 10) completed an online interview via the direct message facility and via Tor mail. Results: Vendors described themselves as 'intelligent and responsible' consumers of drugs. Decisions to commence vending operations on the site centred on simplicity in setting up vendor accounts, and opportunity to operate within a low risk, high traffic, high mark-up, secure and anonymous Deep Web infrastructure. The embedded online culture of harm reduction ethos appealed to them in terms of the responsible vending and use of personally tested high quality products. The professional approach to running their Silk Road businesses and dedication to providing a quality service was characterised by professional advertising of quality products, professional communication and visibility on forum pages, speedy dispatch of slightly overweight products, competitive pricing, good stealth techniques and efforts to avoid customer disputes. Vendors appeared content with a fairly constant buyer demand and described a relatively competitive market between small and big time market players. Concerns were evident with regard to Bitcoin instability. Conclusion: The greatest threat to Silk Road and other sites operating on the Deep Web is not law enforcement or market dynamics, it is technology itself. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Hout M.C.V.,Waterford Institute of Technology
International Journal of Drug Policy | Year: 2013

Background: The online promotion of '. drug shopping' and user information networks is of increasing public health and law enforcement concern. An online drug marketplace called '. Silk Road' has been operating on the '. Deep Web' since February 2011 and was designed to revolutionise contemporary drug consumerism. Methods: A single case study approach explored a '. Silk Road' user's motives for online drug purchasing, experiences of accessing and using the website, drug information sourcing, decision making and purchasing, outcomes and settings for use, and perspectives around security. The participant was recruited following a lengthy relationship building phase on the '. Silk Road' chat forum. Results: The male participant described his motives, experiences of purchasing processes and drugs used from '. Silk Road'. Consumer experiences on '. Silk Road' were described as '. euphoric' due to the wide choice of drugs available, relatively easy once navigating the Tor Browser (encryption software) and using '. Bitcoins' for transactions, and perceived as safer than negotiating illicit drug markets. Online researching of drug outcomes, particularly for new psychoactive substances was reported. Relationships between vendors and consumers were described as based on cyber levels of trust and professionalism, and supported by '. stealth modes', user feedback and resolution modes. The reality of his drug use was described as covert and solitary with psychonautic characteristics, which contrasted with his membership, participation and feelings of safety within the '. Silk Road' community. Conclusion: '. Silk Road' as online drug marketplace presents an interesting displacement away from '. traditional' online and street sources of drug supply. Member support and harm reduction ethos within this virtual community maximises consumer decision-making and positive drug experiences, and minimises potential harms and consumer perceived risks. Future research is necessary to explore experiences and backgrounds of other users. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Van Hout M.C.,Waterford Institute of Technology
International Journal of Drug Policy | Year: 2012

Background: Mephedrone injecting has recently been reported in Romania, Slovenia, Guernsey and Ireland. The research reported here aimed to describe the experiences of a group of Irish injecting drug users, who were injecting mephedrone based headshop products prior to the introduction of legislative controls in Ireland, with particular focus on pre- and post-legislative use, effects of injecting mephedrone, settings and contexts for injecting, polydrug use and serial drug injecting, risk perceptions and harm reduction practises. Methods: Following a predevelopment phase with a Privileged Access Interviewer, in-depth interviews using a phenomenological approach were conducted with eleven attendees of a low threshold harm reduction service. Results: The findings describe the abuse potential of these mephedrone based headshop products when used by intravenous injection. Although participants were aware of risks and safe injecting practises, compulsive re injecting with excessive binge use over long periods of time was common. Nasal to injection route transitions, intense paranoia, violent behaviour and aggression, emergence of Parkinson type symptomatologies (in the form of spasms and '. wobbling'), and permanent numbness in lower extremities were reported. Multi and serial drug injecting with heroin was used in efforts to manage the intense rush and avoid unpleasant comedown. Participants reported limb abscesses, vein clotting, damage and recession resulting from product toxicity, crystallisation of the products when diluted and flushing practises. Seven participants were homeless, with groin and street injecting common. Following legislative changes use of mephedrone products declined due to closure of headshops, increased street prices, concerns around contamination and the emergence of new street stimulant drugs. Conclusion: Continued monitoring of drug displacement patterns in post legislative time frames is advised, alongside longitudinal ethnographic research to track the diffusion of mephedrone and other cathinone derivatives within injecting networks. Further investigation of the adverse health consequences of these drugs on injection is warranted. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Hout M.C.V.,Waterford Institute of Technology
International Journal of Drug Policy | Year: 2013

Introduction: The online drug marketplace called '. Silk Road' has operated anonymously on the '. Deep Web' since 2011. It is accessible through computer encrypting software (Tor) and is supported by online transactions using peer to peer anonymous and untraceable crypto-currency (Bit Coins). The study aimed to describe user motives and realities of accessing, navigating and purchasing on the '. Silk Road' marketplace. Methods: Systematic online observations, monitoring of discussion threads on the site during four months of fieldwork and analysis of anonymous online interviews (n=20) with a convenience sample of adult '. Silk Road' users was conducted. Results: The majority of participants were male, in professional employment or in tertiary education. Drug trajectories ranged from 18 months to 25 years, with favourite drugs including MDMA, 2C-B, mephedrone, nitrous oxide, ketamine, cannabis and cocaine. Few reported prior experience of online drug sourcing. Reasons for utilizing '. Silk Road' included curiosity, concerns for street drug quality and personal safety, variety of products, anonymous transactioning, and ease of product delivery. Vendor selection appeared to be based on trust, speed of transaction, stealth modes and quality of product. Forums on the site provided user advice, trip reports, product and transaction reviews. Some users reported solitary drug use for psychonautic and introspective purposes. A minority reported customs seizures, and in general a displacement away from traditional drug sourcing (street and closed markets) was described. Several reported intentions to commence vending on the site. Conclusion: The study provides an insight into '. Silk Road' purchasing motives and processes, the interplay between traditional and '. Silk Road' drug markets, the '. Silk Road' online community and its communication networks. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Misuse of pharmaceuticals is of increasing drug policy and public health concern. A scoping review was conducted on the diversionary use of pharmaceuticals for non-medicinal use and home production of drug solutions. The research question was broad: What is known from the existing literature about the diversion of pharmaceuticals for non-medicinal use and for home production of drug solutions? The scoping process centred on the systematic selection, collection, and summarization of extant knowledge within this broad thematic remit. One hundred and thirty-four records were grouped into discrete thematic categories namely: non medicinal use and tampering with pharmaceuticals, oral misuse of codeine cough syrups, homemade drug solutions, and home-produced drug-related harms in the narrative review design. Forms of abuse of codeine cough syrup include mixtures with alcohol or soft drinks ('Purple Drank'), with kratom leaves ('Kratom cocktails'), or chemically altered to extract dextromorphan ('Lemon Drop'). Production of homemade opiates ('Cheornaya', 'Kolyosa', Himiya', 'Braun', 'Krokodil'), methamphetamine ('Vint', 'Pervitin'), methcathinone ('Jeff'), and cathinone ('Boltushka') are described. Displacement patterns between the non-medical use of pharmaceuticals, commercial, and homemade drugs appear dependent on availability of opiates, prescribing practices, supervision of substitution drug dosing, availability of cheap ingredients, policing, and awareness of harms. Adverse health and social consequences relate to the use of unknown and contaminated (end) substances, injecting practices, redosing, medical complications, and death. The review highlights a public health imperative requiring a multidisciplinary approach to quantify potential impact and required integrated policy responses incorporating international regulation, enforcement, health surveillance and service delivery. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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