Family physician and illicit drugs expert Dr Fernando Caudevilla has taken doctor-patient confidence to a whole new level. For the past 18 months, 40-year-old Caudevilla has donated his spare time providing tailored harm-reduction advice to users of the illicit drug markets on Silk Road.

21 Oct 2014

Silk Road is a marketplace where drug users can order any illegal drug they like, from cannabis to heroin, which is then delivered by regular post. Although the site  shut down briefly when its alleged founder was arrested in October last year, it was soon reopened by the administrators of the former site and is more active than ever.


Under the pseudonym "DoctorX", Caudevilla has been most active on the now-notorious Silk Road website. "I would like to contribute to this forum offering professional advice in topics related to drug use and health," Caudevilla, wrote on the Silk Road discussion forum in April 2013. The response was overwhelming. The doctor was inundated with questions about drug interactions, risks of use in people with specific medical conditions, dosage levels, adverse effects and toxicity. Users asked about enhancing sexual experiences with ecstasy, alleviating cancer-related pain with cannabis and how to store psychedelics to ensure their longevity.

His advice thread on Silk Road has had more than 64,000 visits and he has answered 750 questions in it. He is also active on The Hub, a centralised discussion forum for all the dark markets (that cannot be accessed on the regular internet) and answers questions by private message.  "The doc is a pillar of the community" wrote one user, TheChain,  last month. "If I went to my doc with some of the questions he's answered I would get the same old 'drugs are bad' response even though I was going to do it without his consent."

This refusal to pass judgment has made Caudevilla, one of the most respected voices of Silk Road. When one member said they were thinking about trying dissociatives (a class of hallucinogen, which distort perceptions of sight and sound and produce feelings of detachment or dissociation), the doctor went through the effects and dosages of each, and provided his recommendation and the problems associated with it.

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