Our research collaborations

Have you ever wondered how Bluelight stays online?

Bluelight co-owners have ensured the survival of the website after our benefactor passed away. There were a few options for us to establish our own revenue streams:

1. Constantly run donation drives (annoying to members, diverts from our focus, extremely time consuming for senior staff, and probably wouldn't be sufficient to pay our bills)

2. Sell advertising to the highest bidder (even more annoying to our members, clutters the site, diverts from our focus)

3. Paid memberships: defeats the purpose of providing harm reduction to the masses and would likely fail, anyway

4. Collaborate with researchers: (May have some hypothetical/theoretical drawbacks, but has many practical benefits, not the least of which includes going Bluelight an opportunity to directly contribute to the growing body of scientific research)

For many reasons we believe the last option provides Bluelight with the most benefit and least amount of compromise.

Most arguments against what we're doing seem to hinge on the idea that somehow, the information that's being collected will ultimately either be "sold to the government" or otherwise misconstrued to contribute to anti-drug "propaganda", with the end result being increased controls over or reduced access to certain drugs that are used recreationally.

What this critique fails to take into account is that many research organisations are already automatically mining Bluelight without our permission for the information they want via crawlers. The data is out there. By opening working with research organisations, we can have some influence and oversight over the research process.

We have partnered with the research organisation Inflexxion for a number of years now. We have a fantastic working relationship, where their team consults with us regularly, provides drafts of surveys for us to provide feedback, and has worked with us on one occasion to publish an article together on the research findings.

I am personally involved in checking through the survey items and liaising with researchers who wish to collaborate with Bluelight. Being in drug trend and drug policy research myself, I am in a unique position to ensure the integrity of these research collaborations from Bluelight's perspective.

That is not to say there aren't any potential drawbacks to these partnerships. Is there any possibility that this data could somehow lead to some consequence down the line that one of our members might interpret as negative? Of course, there is no way to rule that out. That said, drugs with high potential for abuse are already scheduled and heavily controlled, regardless. Tamper resistant formulations and reformulations are similarly an industry standard.

Nevertheless, we think that what's most important is that we ask people to balance relative fears over vague and nebulous possibilities against the very concrete realities. These collaborations not only allow Bluelight to exist, but they afford us an opportunity to evolve into something more than just a drug discussion board: a legitimate resource to the scientific community with a mission of our own to further.

You can read more at our Pledge to the Community.

And please feel free to comment below.

We also urge you to support our research partnership by considering completing the Inflexxion survey. Filling out a survey on Bluelight is as effective as making a cash donation, and it usually only takes 15 minutes your time. :)
 

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