The Impact of Coronavirus on Drug Use in Europe

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15 March 2021: Impact of Coronavirus on Drug Use in Europe

The effect of COVID-19 on the consumption of drugs in Europe has been varied depending on the drug type concerned. Overall, 51.6% of participants in a survey have increased their drug or alcohol consumption and 57.3% reported taking drugs more frequently. The main explanations for these inclines are due to boredom and anxiety, likely due to the imposed restrictions of strict lockdown measures.

According to Statista, Cannabis remains to be the most popular drug used within Europe as 27.2% of respondents revealed that they have used the drug in their lifetime compared to only 5.4% using cocaine. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, regular users of Cannabis have increased their usage, however it is important to note that this has only affected 10% of respondents.

There has been a major hold on the party lifestyle with the shut-down of nightclubs and lack of festival events. As well as, a decrease in the supply of readily available drugs on the market resulting from transport restrictions at country borders. This has impacted the usage of recreational drugs such as cocaine, LSD and MDMA which have seen a decline. The Global Drug Survey revealed that 40% of respondents have used these drugs less during the pandemic.

This detrimental trend has resulted in the domestic production of synthetic opioids. There is a very high risk that substitutes such as fentanyl will become more common. This prediction is concerning due to the dangers associated with such drugs leading to addiction and overdoses. For instance, fentanyl compared to heroin is 50 times stronger.

Public Health England has also released a warning relating to the rise in illegally produced prescription drugs sold as benzodiazepines. These cause harmful health issues due to the mix of unsafe and unknown components.

Randox Toxicology

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Using our revolutionary Biochip Array Technology, the Evidence MultiSTAT is a fully automated benchtop analyser that enables onsite, simultaneous testing for up to 21 classical, synthetic or prescription drugs from a single sample in under 20 minutes. This quick and highly reliable technology makes it perfect for use in non-laboratory settings for people with no lab experience.

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