Over the past few weeks, we've been trying to understand what impact the Covid-19 lockdown has had on people who use drugs.
During Alert Level 4, we surveyed over 120 services and people who were using drugs, and the results are in: We know that although some people may be using more alcohol or other drugs during lockdown, others are using the time to take a break.
We are working with the addiction treatment sector to identify changes as early as possible, so that we can prevent or reduce drug harm. We found:
Youth services reported some differences. They mentioned supporting their clients with withdrawal more often than adult services. Many young people had higher parental supervision and lower access to substances during Alert Level 4. For some, this caused tension in their household.
As we transition down alert levels, we are recommending that people who have taken a break or reduced their use be cautious about starting to use again. Their tolerance to a drug is likely to have decreased, meaning that it is not a good idea to use the same amount as before. In addition, there is no quality control in an illegal market, and drugs may have been made in a new way, include other substances, or vary in strength.
If you know someone who might need a bit of extra information or support, check out our advice and helpful tips on how to be safer, manage withdrawal, stay in recovery, and support others.
You can download the full reports here:
Survey participants also reported that barriers to accessing services, resources and information were high.
A group of powerful synthetic opioids that were first detected in the country just a year ago may have already been linked to several deaths.
95% of respondents reported positive effects, in a study that looked at both prescription and black market cannabis use.