People have obviously used many different types of drugs before and during the pandemic. There are two that police were confiscating more during the pandemic than before: methamphetamine and marijuana .
COVID-19 and Drug Use (Including Methamphetamines and Marijuana): How They’re Related
The last year has been intense. The COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely stressful for many people, and as a result, drug use has increased . Research shows that the number of overdoses increased 18% during the first few months of the pandemic. This trend has continued throughout the COVID-19 health crisis .
The pandemic has been stressful for several different reasons. Whether it’s the impact of social isolation, financial stress due to mass layoffs, or health concerns, the stress is real. Research shows this has caused an increase in drug use . Some people may have started using drugs for the first time or increased how often or how much they were using .
Another trend that researchers are noticing is that it may be harder for people to get the substances they used to use before the pandemic. So, people may be switching to other substances that are easier to get . Switching to a new drug increases the risk of harmful effects like overdose.
Drug use is also risky during this time because many people are alone . This means they are using drugs alone. If someone has a bad reaction to a substance or overdoses, there is a decreased chance that they will get the help they need since there’s no one else to help or call 911 .
Since many medical treatment facilities have had to change how many patients they can see, there may not be enough emergency services available. So even if someone is able to seek help for a substance-related emergency, there may not be enough medical services available to them .
The fact that some people have had to change to using other drugs may explain why police have been seizing methamphetamine and marijuana more than before . Whatever the reason, it’s important because of the harm that can come from increased substance use.
Substance Use Treatment During COVID-19 & How Addiction Hope Can Help
Even though this is a stressful time and treatment might look different right now, there is still help available. Treatment for substance use or other mental health issues is still being offered during this time. Depending on how severe someone’s struggle with drugs or mental health is, it will determine the type of care they receive.
Someone may need 24/7 medical supervision temporarily so they can detox safely from substances like methamphetamine. 24/7 support in detox programs or residential rehab facilities is still available during this time.
Outpatient services like 12-step meetings, weekly therapy sessions, or day treatment programs might be virtual right now. Virtual support is better than nothing, so it’s worth looking into. Addiction Hope has a treatment locator that can help you find treatment programs and providers near you.
 National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021, March 2). Law enforcement seizures of methamphetamine, marijuana rose during the pandemic. https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2021/03/law-enforcement-seizures-of-methamphetamine-marijuana-rose-during-pandemic
 Abramson, A. (2021, March 1). Substance use during the pandemic. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2021/03/substance-use-pandemic
About the Author:
Samantha Bothwell, LMFT, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, writer, explorer, and lipstick aficionado. She became a therapist after doing her own healing work so she could become whole after spending many years living with her mind and body disconnected. She has focused her clinical work to support the healing process of survivors of sexual violence and eating disorders. She is passionate about guiding people in their return to their truest Self so they can live their most authentic, peaceful life.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from multiple physical, emotional, environmental, and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Published on April 20, 2021
Reviewed by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 20, 2021
Published on AddictionHope.com