1. Drug Market and Use Changes During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Global Survey
With the emergence of the COVID-19 crisis, people with substance use disorder (SUD) were among the vulnerable groups affected globally while alterations occurred in healthcare facilities, drug markets and drug use. In order to obtain a snapshot of related global occurrences, ISAM conducted a rapid worldwide survey to answer pressing questions in this regard.
185 addiction medicine experts from the ISAM-GEN that represented 77 countries around the world were surveyed in April and May 2020. A part of the online survey consisted of questions related to situational assessment of drug prices and consumption patterns. Descriptive data were calculated as means and percentages for each country's response along with the average of the global responses and analyzed using RStudio.
The reports showed an increase in the price of cannabis, opiates, amphetamines, and cocaine in 39%, 37%, 34%, and 28% of the countries, respectively. The price of alcoholic beverages remained unchanged according to the report of 54% of the countries. Over 63%, 42%, 64%, and 41% of the countries reported an increase in the use of alcohol, cannabis, sedatives, and prescription opioids, respectively. The consumption levels of opiates, amphetamine, and cocaine had decreased in 31%, 29%, and 29% of the countries, respectively.
This global data may guide policymaking efforts and development of mitigating measures that may proactively minimize possible risks for people with SUDs. The study demonstrates the feasibility of rapid acquisition of meaningful data, and such efforts may help contend with probable future pandemics.