All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Elizabeth A Gardner

Advisory Committee Members

Harvey Hou

Jason G Linville

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science (MS) College of Arts and Sciences


The opioid epidemic began in the early 1990s due to the misuse and misinformation of pharmaceutical opioids. Since then, the increase in opioid use ranging from hydrocodone to fentanyl has become a world-wide issue. Over time, opioid use has evolved in many ways with three major waves of opioid use beginning with oxycodone, moving to heroin, and finally to fentanyl. Usage of online platforms and forums to sell and buy illicit opioids has increased significantly due to easier internet capabilities and social media platforms. A total of 1,946 illicit online opioid sell sites were found in this study to show the ease of access to illicit sites on the Clearnet. Countless legitimate companies’ services are being used on illicit opioid sell sites to buy and sell opioids through online methods. Bing, Bitcoin, Tawk(.)to, Gmail, and GoDaddy are legitimate companies being utilized on illicit opioid sell sites. If more legitimate companies were aware of improper use of service, less people would have access to illicit opioids.