Drugs During The Time Of COVID
Three are numerous reasons why addictions start. When it comes to nicotine, alcohol, and drugs, those substances affect how you feel, both mentally and physically. They can be enjoyable feelings and create a very powerful urge to want to use these substances again.
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When you are addicted to something when you don’t have it that will result in a ‘come down’ or withdrawal symptoms. This can be a very unpleasant experience, taking what you crave and carrying on is easier to do, which results in the cycle continuing.
An addiction often grows out of control since you increasingly need to satisfy your craving and experience the “high.”
Since the start of the very first nationwide coronavirus lockdown, a public online survey has been operated by Release and is designed to monitor the way people are purchasing their drugs. The survey is open to anyone over 18 years old living in the UK and its purpose is to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its corresponding restrictions, are having on purchasing illegal substances. The COVID-10 pandemic has had a profound impact on every aspect of life, so it is reasonable to assume that the global restrictions and lockdowns will impact the drug market as well.
The interim report contains findings from the initial 2.621 responses that were received between 9h of April 2020 when the survey launched and 17th September 2020. It contains drug purchases that were made anticipating and during the initial national lockdown, in addition to purchases that were made when the first lockdown was eased and eventually lifted.
Most of the respondents did not state that it was harder to find their desired drug or a supplier when compared to their experiences prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. But difficulties in finding their desired drug and a supplier were reported more often as the initial lockdown began to ease and then lifted. This is consistent with the supply shortages we have seen.
Over 1 in 10 drug purchases were done on the darknet. Out of those purchases, 13% did not use the darknet before to purchase drugs and more than 25% of the respondent said they were planning on using the darknet to purchase drugs if needed, which signalled a switch to the darknet markets that the pandemic might have encouraged.
Reports of higher prices compared to before the pandemic were more frequent compared to reports of prices being lower or the same. As the initial national lockdown was eased and then lifted, higher prices were reported more often – which was also consistent with the supply shortages that occurred.
Most respondents of the survey reported that the purity of their drugs was the same (and some actually increased). That is consistent with the response of suppliers to drug shortages when raising prices and possibly reducing the sizes of deals, as opposed to adulterants used to bulk up products.
Cannabis product purchases were the most commonly reported over all stages of the pandemic (overall, 7 out of 10 purchases), as was expected. Relatively infrequent purchases were found of ecstasy/MDMA and other types of drugs that are associated with partying and going out – which is consistent with there being far fewer opportunities to socialise due to restrictions related to the pandemic.
In connection with nearly two-thirds (62%) of the purchases of drugs made during the lockdown, survey respondents reported that government-recommended social distancing measures were adhered to by their suppliers. There is some evidence ha additional measures were also adopted by certain suppliers, similar to those that were adopted in licit markets (such as disinfecting cash and accepting credit card payments) to help prevent the further spread of the virus.