There are many reasons behind the start of addictions. In terms of nicotine, alcohol, and drugs, such substances impact how you feel, not just physically but also mentally. Such feelings can actually be enjoyable, enough that you have a serious urge to go use such substances once more.
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When you’re addicted to something, it means that if you don’t have it, then you suffer a ‘come down’ or withdrawal symptoms. Given how unpleasant this can be, it’s possibly easier to keep on doing or having the thing you crave, creating a cycle.
Many times, addiction spins out of control since you need increasing amounts to get ‘high’ and satisfy your cravings.
Since the start of the initial national coronavirus lockdown, there has been an online and public survey intended to monitor how various individuals purchase their drugs. The intent of this survey, one open to any UK residents past the age of 18, focuses on how the pandemic and related restrictions have impacted those who choose to buy illicit drugs. The pandemic has had a serious impact on every aspect of life, so it’s safe to assume that national lockdowns and global movement restrictions have also impacted the drug trade.
The current interim report offers findings from an initial 2,621 responses. These were received between April and September of 2020. They captured drug buys made either during the initial national lockdown or in anticipation of it. It also covers purchases made throughout the easing and later lifting of the initial national lockdown.
Most respondents indicated that finding suppliers of their desired drugs didn’t get any harder than it was before the pandemic. Having said that, there were respondents that did indicate finding suppliers and drugs did get harder when the initial national lockdown eased up and got lifted, likely due to supply shortages.
Over 10% of all purchases happened on the darknet. Among these purchases, over 1 in 10 hadn’t previously gone on the darknet to buy drugs. More than 1 in 4 claimed that they are now intending to utilise the darknet for buying drugs, indicating a growth in darknet markets likely driven by the pandemic.
There were reports of drug prices staying the same or even going down during the pandemic, but there were even more reports of higher prices. The price spikes seemed to happen during the easing and lifting of the initial national lockdown, which is consistent with known supply shortages at the time.
Many respondents indicated that their product purity was level with pre-pandemic purchase. Some even saw higher purity in their product. This is assumed to be consistent with reports of suppliers reacting to drug shortages with increased prices and even smaller deal-sizes, rather than utilising adulterants in order to bulk products out.
Seventy percent of all purchases are likely to have been cannabis products throughout every stage of the pandemic. Given pandemic restrictions for socialisation and partying, drugs like ecstasy and MDMA weren’t bought nearly as often.
Over 60% of drug buys happening in the lockdown included drug suppliers adhering to social distancing protocols outlaid by the government. Some suppliers even went a step further, such as disinfecting cash and taking credit card payments, to keep the virus from spreading.
Some of these results are surprising, but others are not. However you feel about it, it’s a fascinating glimpse into the illicit drug industry in a time of the pandemic.