Fewer Illicit Drug Seizures Seen During Lockdowns

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March five, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Seizures of illegal medicines fell sharply in the United States for the duration of early COVID-19 lockdowns, but spiked the moment keep-at-home orders eased.

Scientists analyzed seizures of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl in five locations between March 2019 (a yr right before the pandemic began in the United States) by way of September 2020, 6 months into the pandemic.

During that time, regulation enforcement officers designed extra than 29,five hundred 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 keep-at-home orders went into influence throughout the nation.

But just after slipping to a very low stage in April, drug seizures rose by way of the rest of the spring and summer time as lockdowns were comfortable, peaking in August.

Following April, the excess weight of medicines seized amplified noticeably, pushed by a surge in marijuana seizures.

The August 2020 peaks in marijuana and methamphetamine seizures were greater than the previous yr, but the researchers reported it’s not apparent whether or not that was simply because the medicines were extra accessible or whether or not regulation enforcement officials were “catching up” just after quite a few months of delayed seizures. The investigation was done as aspect of the U.S. National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS).

“Although seizure info is not the most strong indicator of the prevalence of drug use, it does provide as an indicator of drug source and availability,” review chief Joseph Palamar reported in a New York University information release. He is chairman of the NDEWS scientific advisory group and an affiliate professor of populace health at NYU College of Medicine.

Palamar pointed out that fewer seizures or decrease volumes of medicines seized can mirror a disruption of source chains.

The researchers failed to uncover any big changes in seizures of cocaine, heroin or fentanyl for the duration of the pandemic’s early months, but seizures of fentanyl little by little amplified about two yrs, impartial of the pandemic.

“Potential investigation need to harmonize info on seizures with other research of drug use, availability and overdoses in get to determine the most exact image of drug use traits for the duration of the pandemic,” reported review co-writer Linda Cottler, an epidemiologist at the University of Florida.

The findings were published March two in the journal Drug and Liquor Dependence.

More information and facts

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse points out drug abuse and addiction.

Source: New York University, information release, March two, 2021

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