Background Circle Background Circle

Fewer Illicit Drug Seizures Seen During Lockdowns

FRIDAY, March 5, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Seizures of illegal drugs fell sharply in the United States during early COVID-19 lockdowns, but spiked once stay-at-home orders eased.

Researchers studied seizures of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl in five locations between March 2019 (a year before the pandemic began in the United States) through September 2020, six months into the pandemic.

During that time, law enforcement officers made more than 29,500 drug seizures in Washington/Baltimore, Chicago, Ohio, New Mexico and North Florida.

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

But after falling to a low point in April, drug seizures rose through the rest of the spring and summer as lockdowns were relaxed, peaking in August.

After April, the weight of drugs seized increased significantly, driven by a surge in marijuana seizures.

The August 2020 peaks in marijuana and methamphetamine seizures were higher than the previous year, but the researchers said it’s not clear whether that was because the drugs were more available or whether law enforcement officials were “catching up” after several months of delayed seizures. The research was conducted as part of the U.S. National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS).

“Although seizure data is not the most robust indicator of the prevalence of drug use, it does serve as an indicator of drug supply and availability,” study leader Joseph Palamar said in a New York University news release. He is chairman of the NDEWS scientific advisory group and an associate professor of population health at NYU School of Medicine.

Palamar noted that fewer seizures or lower volumes of drugs seized can reflect a disruption of supply chains.


The researchers didn’t find any major changes in seizures of cocaine, heroin or fentanyl during the pandemic’s early months, but seizures of fentanyl slowly increased over two years, independent of the pandemic.

“Future research should harmonize data on seizures with other studies of drug use, availability and overdoses in order to determine the most accurate picture of drug use trends during the pandemic,” said study co-author Linda Cottler, an epidemiologist at the University of Florida.

The findings were published March 2 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.


More information

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


SOURCE: New York University, news release, March 2, 2021

Source link

You Might Also Like!
Coronavirus treatment breakthrough “will save thousands of lives" – BBC News

The first medicine that's been proven to reduce deaths among people infected with coronavirus is expected to save thousands of ENGAGE+

Common Prostate Drug May Help Prevent Parkinson's

By Cara Murez HealthDay ReporterMONDAY, Feb. 8, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- While scientists still don't know what causes Parkinson's disease, ENGAGE+

New Drug Combo Could Help Treat Uterine Fibroids

For their trial, Al-Hendy and his colleagues recruited 770 women from several countries, including the United States. All had heavy ENGAGE+

Experimental Drug May Fight Type 1 Diabetes

By Amy Norton HealthDay ReporterMONDAY, March 8, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Just two weeks of treatment with an experimental drug ENGAGE+

COVID Lockdowns Got People Smoking More

By Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporter TUESDAY, March 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The pandemic's spring lockdowns last year triggered an ENGAGE+

Depression Rates Up as Lockdowns Prevent Exercise

The study findings were published March 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Lynn Bufka is senior ENGAGE+

New Alzheimer's Drug Slows Cognitive Decline in Early Test

March 15, 2021 -- An experimental drug appeared to slow cognitive decline in people with early Alzheimer’s disease, according to ENGAGE+

Lockdowns Put Some With Eating Disorders in Crisis

By Cara Murez HealthDay ReporterFRIDAY, March 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- At Eating Recovery Center, which offers treatment and services ENGAGE+