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Fewer Illicit Drug Seizures Seen Throughout Lockdowns

Fewer Illicit Drug Seizures Seen During Lockdowns

FRIDAY, March 5, 2021 (HealthDay Information) — Seizures of illegal drugs fell sharply in america throughout early COVID-19 lockdowns, however spiked as soon as stay-at-home orders eased.

Researchers studied seizures of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl in 5 areas between March 2019 (a yr earlier than the pandemic started in america) by way of September 2020, six months into the pandemic.

Throughout that point, legislation enforcement officers made greater than 29,500 drug seizures in Washington/Baltimore, Chicago, Ohio, New Mexico and North Florida.

Seizures — notably of marijuana and methamphetamine — declined sharply in March and April 2020, when stay-at-home orders went into impact throughout the nation.

However after falling to a low level in April, drug seizures rose by way of the remainder of the spring and summer season as lockdowns have been relaxed, peaking in August.

After April, the load of medicine seized elevated considerably, pushed by a surge in marijuana seizures.

The August 2020 peaks in marijuana and methamphetamine seizures have been larger than the earlier yr, however the researchers mentioned it isn’t clear whether or not that was as a result of the medication have been extra obtainable or whether or not legislation enforcement officers have been “catching up” after a number of months of delayed seizures. The analysis was performed as a part of the U.S. Nationwide Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS).

“Though seizure knowledge just isn’t probably the most strong indicator of the prevalence of drug use, it does function an indicator of drug provide and availability,” research chief Joseph Palamar mentioned in a New York College information launch. He’s chairman of the NDEWS scientific advisory group and an affiliate professor of inhabitants well being at NYU Faculty of Drugs.

Palamar famous that fewer seizures or decrease volumes of medicine seized can mirror a disruption of provide chains.

The researchers did not discover any main modifications in seizures of cocaine, heroin or fentanyl through the pandemic’s early months, however seizures of fentanyl slowly elevated over two years, unbiased of the pandemic.

“Future analysis ought to harmonize knowledge on seizures with different research of drug use, availability and overdoses in an effort to decide probably the most correct image of drug use tendencies through the pandemic,” mentioned research co-author Linda Cottler, an epidemiologist on the College of Florida.

The findings have been revealed March 2 within the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Extra info

The U.S. Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse explains drug abuse and addiction.

SOURCE: New York College, information launch, March 2, 2021