Drug Addiction in the Times of COVID

Addiction comes in many forms from substance addiction to internet addiction and almost any addiction you could imagine (there’s even Sex Addiction Therapy available). However, when it comes to nicotine, alcohol and drug use, these are substances that affect the way a person feels, both physically and mentally. The feeling can be enjoyable and create a powerful desire to use the substance again.

The chances are, we all know the meaning of being addicted to something. Nevertheless, it means lacking that substance induces withdrawal symptoms. As such, because withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant, it is easy for a person to keep on satisfying their craving and with this, the cycle continues.

With time, the addiction begins to get out of control because the body will demand more and more to experience the same level of ‘High’ as it continues to build a resistance against the substance.

Since the first days when nations began to declare an outbreak of COVID-19 and lockdowns began to be imposed, public operations and online surveys have been collected to monitor the way people buy drugs. The main goal of this survey is to determine the impact of the 2019 coronavirus outbreak and the restrictions imposed on the public that has affected the drug market. This survey is open to anyone in the UK above the age of 18 years. It launched back on April 9th, 2020 and the findings came from 2,621 participants who agreed to take part in the report.

This intervening report captured comprehensive information regarding drug purchases made in keenness of and through the first nationwide lockdown. It also covered the purchases made during the easing and also the lockdown lifting.

A large number of the participants reported that they did not find suppliers or their desired drugs. Others reported that finding their desired drug was extremely difficult compared to before the coronavirus pandemic. The difficulties of finding a desired drug and supplier began immediately after the first national lockdown, which began a consistent supply shortage.

According to the report, more than 1 out of 10 purchases were made on the darknet. Out of these purchases, 13% of the people had used the darknet previously to get their desired drugs. Over a quarter of the participants said that they plan to use the darknet to buy drugs if the need arises. With this statistic, it is clear that drug usage and distribution are shifting to the darknet market, which has been accelerated by the pandemic.

Also, the reports of the prices being higher than previous the pandemic are frequent. The high prices were firstly and mainly reported as the first national lockdown was eased or lifted. This was due to a supply shortage.

A large number of the respondents mentioned that the purity remains the same, and some reported that it actually increased. This is a finding that was consistent with different suppliers, even when there was a shortage of drug supply.

Cannabis purchase was not affected in any way and was reported across 7 out of 10 purchases overall. However, when it comes to other drugs like MDMA or ecstasy and others, consistency interfered with few opportunities of getting them during the pandemic.

According to the report, 2/3 or 62% of drug users made the purchases while still maintaining government directives regarding social distance and lockdown rules. Although, there is proof that some suppliers took additional measures that are similar to the licit market. For example, accepting card payment and then dispensing cash to prevent further virus transmission.