2. Impact of Covid19 on mental health and drug use: main findings from the EMCDDA trendspotter study
A general increase of mental health disorders has been reported since the start of the pandemic in all population, affecting particularly people with other social and health disorders, including substance use disorders (SUD).
The presentation aims to increase the current understanding of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the area of drugs and mental health, including the impact on mental health disorders experienced by people who use drugs, impact on patterns of drug use, associated harms and (unmet) needs for health and social responses.
The study applies a rapid assessment methodology (EMCDDA Trendspotter methodology), which includes two main phases: the first phase consists in data collection through literature review, analysis of existing data sets, and online survey with key experts in the area; the second phase aims at discussing the findings of the review and data collection with experts in facilitated working groups
The impact of the pandemic on mental health and substance use disorders is discussed with respect to specific individuated subgroups. Since most of literature focuses on opioid users/ people with substance use disorders and/or under treatment in US, the experts’ knowledge is strategic to get insights on European users, including also recreational substance use, and impact on specific substances use and use patterns.
Based on the findings from the study, the challenges for social and health responses for mental health and substance use disorders are discussed and translated in lessons learnt for the improvement of policies and services addressing psychiatric comorbidity.