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Drug Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic

People fall into addiction for many different reasons. Drugs, nicotine, and alcohol all have an impact on your physical and mental state and many people require help such as gambling addiction treatment. People enjoy the feelings these substances give them, which makes them want to continue using drugs and alcohol.

What defines addiction? When you're addicted to something, you'll experience symptoms or withdrawal or some sort of come down if you stop using the substance for an extended period of time. Dealing with these symptoms can be difficult, which is why many people find it easier to continue using.

On top of that, when people continue to use, they often need more in order to reach the same level of high.

After the first COVID-19 lockdown began, Release has used public online surveys to gather information about the ways people purchase drugs. This survey can be taken by any UK residents that are 18 or older. The survey is designed to gather information about how coronavirus restrictions have influenced the way people purchase drugs. Our lives have been significantly impacted by this global pandemic. It's likely that lockdowns and other restrictions have also influenced the drug market.

This report covers the first 2,621 responses the survey received. This input was collected between 9th April 2020 and 17th September 2020. This means that the survey includes purchases that were made in advance of the first coronavirus lockdown, purchases made when restrictions were loosened, and purchases made after the first lockdown concluded.

Most respondents stated that they did not have a harder time acquiring their drug of choice or finding a supplier before the first lockdown began. Once restrictions were in place, however, more respondents stated that they had an issue finding their chosen drug or a supplier. These difficulties continued even after restrictions were listed.

Over 1 in 10 drug purchases were conducted via the darknet. 13% of respondents stated that they had not used the darknet to purchase drugs in the future. More than 25% of respondents said that they intended to use the darknet to purchase drugs if they did not have other options. This suggests that the pandemic may have pushed people towards markets on the darknet. It is possible that these habits will continue in the future.

People were more likely to report higher prices after the pandemic began. People continued to report high prices after lockdown restrictions were lifted. This is in line with supply shortages that have been reported in many different industries.

According to the majority of respondents, there was not a decline in the purity of the drug they were purchasing. In fact, some reported that purity levels decreased. This is in line with suppliers adjusting to shortages by raising rates and lowering the sizes of deals instead of bulking out drugs via adulterants.

People were most likely to purchase cannabis during the pandemic. Cannabis products made up 7 out of every 10 purchases. Our study found that respondents were left likely to purchase substances that are frequently linked with partying, such as ecstasy/MDMA. This is likely because COVID-19 restrictions have made it more difficult for people to gather in social spaces.

62% of respondents said that their suppliers followed the social distancing advice provided by the government. Evidence suggests that many suppliers took additional steps to prevent transmission of the virus, such as allowing card payments and disinfecting the cash that they receive. These steps have been taken by licit markets as well.