Pot, pills and the pandemic: how coronavirus is changing the way we use drugs

Tracking drug trends

Many experts, ourselves included, predicted significant shifts in drug trends as governments around the world introduced restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19.

Evidence from major environment, economic, and other past crises suggests the COVID-19 pandemic may have substantial effects on:

  1. drug use (for example, switching to different substances or being unable to obtain drugs)
  2. drug procurement (for example, shifts to online purchasing and buying drugs in larger quantities)
  3. drug markets (for example, changes in price, purity and availability of illicit drugs).

These changes may increase the risk of drug-related harms, such as withdrawal, drug dependence and overdose. This could be especially problematic given challenge in delivery of drug treatment and harm-reduction services during COVID-19.