The basis of the experiment is the stories of the Telegram chats where you can buy everything. They can be found by finding a QR code in the city. Within half an hour, LTV found nearly ten such stickers in Rīga. Marijuana is mostly marketed in these chats.
Stickers can be found on road signs, trash cans, and even house walls. The aim of LTV was to find heavy drugs and find out how much they cost and when they can get them.
Within approximately 20 minutes of studying Telegram chats and their users, it is possible to access new correspondence with a much wider offer – job advertisements for illegal transport of people, so-called vape rip-offs and also graphically beautifully designed offers for the purchase of prescription medicines. Of course, drugs too.
Just like the supermarket, here are the top items of the week, with promotions and special offers every day. LTV started a chat with one of the sellers. He said he could get both mushrooms and synthetic drugs. The choice fell in favor of amphetamine. After agreeing on a location, all you have to do is transfer the money to a Lithuanian bank account.
However, LTV did not make the transfer, nor did it go collect the drugs. The seller got angry at what had happened. It turns out he had already put amphetamine somewhere in Ziepniekkalns and was ready to send the coordinates of the package. A discount is even offered to buy the drugs after all.
The supply is really broad and, as one seller says when promoting his product, “where there is demand, there is supply.” The State Police (VP) also agrees with this claim. The drug market has grown sharply this year.
“If 20-30 and 50 kilograms are brought in instead of 1-2 kilograms... Those people are working with us and testifying, it's not for another market, it's for our market. A person can only consume so much, so there has been an increase in users,” said Sandis Radziņš, deputy chief of the VP's Serious and Serial Crime Prevention Administration.
It is possible to fight some Telegram chats, but not eradicate all. Investigation takes time, but new chats are created daily. The investigation takes time, but new chats are founded daily.
Medical workers have repeatedly reported an increase in overdoses. The Psychiatry and Narcology Center told LTV four new patients were brought in last night alone. Their blood very often contains a mixture of all sorts of substances.
“Quite a lot of amphetamine, it goes with marijuana. And the frequency of cocaine use has increased recently. And cocaine is already used by students. Sixteen-year-olds have been coming to us with cocaine use disorders,” said Sarmite Skaida, a narcologist at the center.
“There's a feeling that young people are not scared and use them both alone and in company. There is demolition of Emergency Medical Service cars, demolition of our premises, also hotels. So huge aggression. And as if they are substances that shouldn't cause aggression. So we realize there's something else in there.”
According to police, the contents of the products removed often contain only 10-12% of clean drugs. The rest is of unknown origin.
“They mix arbitrarily, that substance is powerful. They mix it up at home and all that. There are no medical facilities. And that mix is that either there is no active ingredient in some portion, or there is too much which can cause overdose and death,” Radziņš said.