For those of you that are not yet familiar – DoctorX, Fernando Caudevilla, is a Spanish Family Physician who has been offering a service of information and assessment about drugs in a risk reduction perspective since April 2013. First in Silk Road Forum and then in Silk Road 2.0 Forum & the Hub forums, he has answered more than 1,100 different questions covering topics as effects, dosage, combinations, adverse effects and toxicity, use of drugs in diseases or physical conditions, contraindications, pharmacological interactions, therapeutic cannabis… His work has attracted general media attention and has gained popularity into the Deep Web during the last year and a half.
Now the “Ask a Drug Expert Physician about Drugs & Health” thread is re-opened in Evolution Marketplace forum, where you can ask your harm reduction related questions at:
We took the opportunity to send him a few questions that he was kind enough to answer:
What do you think was the harm reduction affect of the DNM’s on the vast majority of users you come in contact with? (as oppose to their street habits)
It depends. For some users my thread only serves to satisfy their curiosity. But there are some other cases of people who are afraid or fear to ask questions about drugs to their doctors. They feel like that they are going to be judged or considered as “addicts” if they express their questions about drugs to doctors. On-line intervention is not as useful as a face-to-face interview but, in some cases, the information I provide is relevant for users health.
What are the most common things you are being asked about on the forums…?
The list is very wide: Interactions between prescription and recreational drugs, use of drugs in people suffering different conditions (diabetes, metabolic diseases, psychological problems…), adverse effects, questions about dosage and pharmacological tolerance, cross tolerance between drugs, drug use in pregnancy or lactation…
Can you point out the most common misconception about drugs from the deep web?
It is difficult to point “one”. In general, misconceptions in Deep Web are similar to real world ones, but I think in Internet in general (and in Deep Web in particular) users are more educated than in streets.
Just to add a general safety advice that might be relevant for most users?
Search for reliable information. If you like drugs it is important to have quality information about them. Internet is full of high quality resources in pages as Erowid or forums as bluelight or drugs-forum. Another important aspect is to test the quality of drugs. Sometimes risks are not only related to characteristics of drug,but also related to purity or adulterations. In Spain I work with a NGO that provides a drug testing service to know purity of substances and detect adulterants and scams. We have recently created an International Drug Testing Service to expand this service to Deep Web users with more than 120 samples analyzed from DNMs in 6 months.
To your knowledge you think the DNM’s have affected the purity of drugs? (for better / worse)
It is logic to suppose that conditions of DNMs (system of feedback, ranking of users, possibilities of communication in forums) help to improve quality and purity. Our results in the Drug Testing Service agree with this idea, although scams are possible too and DNMs are no guarantee of quality by itself.
With the massive growth in DNM’s user base for the past year, do you see an increased awareness to harm reduction issues concerning drugs from the internet?
There are very good harm reduction resources in pages and forums. One of the advantages of Internet is the democratization of information. Risk reduction is a valid strategy for people that use drugs. Instead of trying to avoid use, it is better that users know how to preserve their health. It is noticeable that most forums in Deep Web have a very active “Drug Safety” section. My work has been very well-welcomed in Deep Web community.
Can you recommend some online sources for people looking for more personal advice and help with their drug usage?
In your offline work as a doctor for the past 2 years, did you see an increase in cases related to drugs bought off the internet, is this trend notable at all in the real world?
Yes. Although DNMs represent a very little proportion of all the drug business I think it is increasing. People from little villages have now direct access to many substances that were difficult to obtain some years ago.
Ask a Drug Expert Physician about Drugs and Health, Evolution market forum: