All across the globe, people are feeling the effects of Covid-19. Also commonly known as the Coronavirus, Covid-19 has caused widespread panic as the rates of infection continue to grow increasingly higher. This pandemic has caused major disruptions to everyone’s daily way of living, even for drug addicts. As we witness this unprecedented time in history, even the manufacturing and distribution of illegal drugs has been affected. Many items, including drugs are drying up during the quarantine.
Many of us have never seen a time in our lives where shelves in grocery stores remain nearly empty as masses of people panic buy items for safekeeping. This virus has also caused economic shut downs, calling for the forced closure of any business deemed non-essential. While the world has slowly tried to return back to normal we are still reminded that this is not over yet. Along with the shutdown of businesses, and the laying off of millions people, has come the restrictions on travel.
Covid-19 has severely impacted day-to-day living.
The coronavirus has caused a number of ramifications on daily life, that are more than surface deep. One issue at the forefront of discussion, at least for some, is the impact it has had on the substance abuse community. Early records indicate that there has been an increased rate of relapse among those in sobriety, this is in part due to unemployment and stimulus money. Seeing as how we are now a few months into this pandemic one may begin to wonder what effect that has had on the drug community in terms of access to their substance of choice?
Drug use has increased, even as the supply of drugs are drying up during the quarantine.
While data shows that there has been an increase of drug trade activity, primarily in England, on the dark web, an area of the internet that requires certain knowledge or software in order to access, the majority of the drug trade in the United States has all but dried up. Of course, that is not to say that there is no way to continue getting drugs, because most addicts will find a way. But, for several reasons, the illegal drug trading market has also taken a nose-dive during this time of quarantine and self-isolation.
A major reason why drug dealing has taken a hit is because of a rather obvious reason– the lockdowns that were being enforced across the country. With less and less people going out, drug dealers and buyers who were used to meeting face-to-face somewhere like in the supermarket parking lot would likely be putting themselves more at risk of getting caught as they could easily be seen as most people were at home or otherwise practicing social distancing. Social distancing has also led to a sharp decline in club drugs, such as ecstasy, as people were no longer able to gather together and use drugs to party. This has also led to an increase in pricing, which in turn has also caused some people to stop buying certain drugs on such a frequent basis.
The closing of stores also seems to have had a major impact as addicts who made their money by criminal activity, such as pawing stealing items or shoplifting, were now left without a way to make money and support their habit. Without many options to “hustle” or make money to buy these drugs that are being steeply priced, this left many addicts without another option.
As the supply of drugs is drying up, drug street prices have increased.
A major increase in prices across the globe has also become a major concern for those in the illegal drug trade or black market. Many suppliers are being faced with shipment difficulties, causing them to hike up their prices as uncertain availability seems to loom somewhere in the near distant future. There has been a huge spike in prices for many drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and spice (synthetic marijuana). Additionally, a large number of suppliers in the illegal drug trade operate their business out of China, a known source of the coronavirus outbreak.
Another explanation for why the drug supply in America is drying up is the increased restrictions on United States borders. Due to this, many Mexican drug cartels are suffering as the transportation of illegal drugs across different countries has become more and more difficult. Many dealers became worried about a border shut down and retreated back to their hometowns in Mexico, leaving a huge hole in the local drug trade of many cities.
While the drug trade drying up may sound like a good thing to some, and surely it is, but, what many people may not be aware of are the further implications that this has caused on the drug abusing population. As addicts are now having to look for new sources they are also having to adjust to different products whose strength to them is highly unknown. Unfortunately, has led to an increase of drug-related overdoses even though many drugs are not as readily available.
People with an addiction are finding other, sometimes more dangerous ways to maintain their drug habit.
Another factor to consider in all of this is what happens when an addict is cut off from their drug of choice? Many of them are unable to stop using drugs on their own, and will turn to other substances, such as heroin or alcohol, in order to continue getting high. This can have major ramifications as people are not used to dealing with that certain substance, this issue has also led to an increased number of unwanted overdoses.
There still remains a huge gap in data as far as how exactly the illegal drug trade has suffered, and just how deep it goes exactly, due to the coronavirus. But many addiction specialists and law enforcement agencies agree that, for the most part, there has been a significant decrease in drug availability. Although that seems to be true, there has also been an increase in overdoses, largely related to opioids, along with increased rates of relapse, as this epidemic continues.
If you, or someone you know, may be suffering from a substance abuse disorder, especially during these trying times, then we are here to help. We have many trained addiction specialists who are able and ready to help get you back on track to a healthy and fulfilling life of sobriety, even during quarantine.