Is Lockdown making drug takers use more?

We have seen how the coronavirus has affected people’s drinking habits; some have increased their alcohol intake during lockdown. Now, addiction experts are also concerned about how being in quarantine may impact drug abuse and bring on a change in behaviour amongst those using narcotics.  This at a time when Rehab services are more difficult to access in person.

Experts Feel Drug Takers May Use More Under Lockdown

Experts also feel that the ongoing isolation and quarantine is having an adverse effect on mental health. This could see drug users altering their behaviour by increasing the frequency that they partake.  Some who have previously only used cannabis or cocaine occasionally, on a recreational basis, may begin using them more frequently until they become a powerful force in their life.  Individuals living with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression may turn to narcotics or, if they already partake, graduate to harder drugs during quarantine.  Taking these more dangerous substances could have potentially fatal consequences.

Vicious circle

Addiction specialists have speculated that quarantine may turn out to be a tipping point for people. Some users who have a casual relationship with drugs may start using them more regularly.  For example, users may have previously snorted cocaine or smoked marijuana once or twice a week but end up taking it three or four days, or increase the amount each session.

They may see it as a way of repelling depression or anxiety during lockdown. They may be concerned those feelings will return if they stop taking drugs. People get caught in a vicious circle, where drug use contributes to their problems, but they are afraid to quit in case it makes them feel worse.

Ironically enough, trying to escape or deal with their problems during the coronavirus crisis, could lead to developing an addiction, and other health issues. This increases the possibility of an overdose, which could result in hospitalisation and could be life-threatening.

Are there any positives?

However, there may be encouraging news as some recreational users decrease their intake of so-called party drugs like cocaine and ecstasy. There has been an indication of a decline in the sale of such substances amid the Covid-19 crisis.  This could be because these are often taken socially, with friends or on a night out.  With these activities curtailed in the present situation consumption is reduced.

Sales of party drugs may decline due to social distancing, where users are reluctant to go out and buy cocaine or ecstasy or allow dealers to deliver to their homes. This would see users foregoing or postponing buying drugs and lead to a drop in sales.  Users may use lockdown as a catalyst to reduce their drug intake or possibly stop taking drugs altogether.

Lockdown is a double-edged sword

Alternatively, people may escalate to harder, more dangerous substances if their lockdown supplies run out, making the problem worse.

So, addiction experts are worried about how people struggling with drugs or alcohol dependency may be dealing with coronavirus restrictions. There are concerns the stress and anxiety of the situation may lead them to increase their drug intake. Alternatively, living in lockdown may provide an opportunity for some users to stop taking substances and possibly detox. It may give them the chance to escape from drugs and get clean. They may be ready to start a new life on leaving lockdown.