Analysis of the Bases of Power of Key Players in the Industry of Novel Psychoactive Substances

  •  Ahmed Al-Imam    
  •  Ban A. AbdulMajeed    


BACKGROUND: The study of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) should be at the intersect of neuroscience, psychology, social science, data science, information and communication technology, policy-making, and legislation. The amalgamation of social science should be widely implemented; the concept of the individual basis of power (authority) has been applied in this study; the aim was to quantify the magnitude of authority for the major players in connection with the NPS industry.

MATERIALS & METHODS: Data were collected for NPS researchers and e-vendors. Concerning the NPS scientists, fifty researchers were randomly picked using a random number generator. For each researcher; a power score was calculated; the power scoring is representative for the individual basis of power. There will be a kindred analysis for e-vendors on the darknet; the power scoring will rely on; e-vendor level, trust level, duration of membership in the e-market (vendor's antiquity), number of positive and negative feedbacks from e-customers, number of sold substances, number of subscribers, and e-vendor’s scoring on Grams search engine.

RESULTS: Unfortunately, the summative power scores of NPS protagonists were higher than those who oppose and regulate the NPS phenomenon. Terrorist organisations were found to possess the highest power scores due to the additional use of illegal tactics. Power scoring for NPS researchers was highest in Europe, particularly the in the UK and Italy. On the other hand, e-vendors’ power scoring was highest for the AlphaBay e-market of the darknet.

CONCLUSION: Principles of social science and psychology should be integrated into the collaborative efforts of NPS researchers. This study proposes a novel method to assess the authority of NPS-related personnel existing within the virtual space of the web; its applications are not limited to NPS researchers and e-vendors but can also be applicable for; e-markets, e-customers and (ab)users, and policy makers.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.