The spread of COVID-19 and the ensuing reactionary measures have both impacted illicit drug activity in the US. Dealing with a seriously contagious virus interrupted the supply chain of illegal drugs throughout the country and internationally.
The Source of COVID-19 And Illicit Drugs
The issue starts in China, the source of the virus and many drugs destined for the states. In order to deal with the rapid spread of COVID-19, China adopted severe isolation tactics. These measures significantly reduced or completely halted the production of drugs and drug manufacturing chemicals throughout China.
This supply interruption has sent waves through different parts of the illegal drug distribution world. Mexican and South American cartels that ferry drugs into the US have reported a significant decrease in their volume from Chinese suppliers.
Anti-viral measures taken by national governments harden border crossing standards. People who may otherwise be able to bring drugs into the US across the border are now turned away in order to avoid the risk of spreading the virus. These multiple hurdles in the way of drug trafficking are felt throughout illicit digital markets as well.
The Dark Net
While it avoids the physical risk of viral infection, dark net drug sales have taken a dip in the past months as well. This murky part of the internet offers goods and services that skirt laws or break laws completely. Like the cartels, online sources for illicit drugs are experiencing a major interruption in their supply.
A software that tracks the spending of Bitcoin returned recent results that show a significant decrease in spending on dark net sites. This type of software that’s used to track bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, can help establish general trends associated with market activity on the dark net. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin serve as the primary choice of payment in illegal online transactions because they’re harder to track to specific individuals.
Those struggling with a substance dependency can’t break their habits as quickly as the virus is spreading. While the profits of those selling the drugs will certainly fall, it’s those people who are still in the throes of addiction who will suffer during this pandemic. Whether someone’s drug seeking tendency takes them to the store for cigarettes or to a dealer for methamphetamine, they’re put at greater risk of infection than the average person.
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The Corona Virus primarily affects the lungs, so those people with lungs weakened from smoking cigarettes, crack cocaine, or methamphetamines are a vulnerable population during this pandemic. Their desire to continue using can lead them to situations that expose them and endanger their lives as well as the lives of those around them.
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People worrying that they won’t be able to get the substance they’re dependent on may try to stockpile drugs for the upcoming isolation. A larger than normal amount of drugs predisposes someone to using more than they intended. Overdoses and other immediate health risks increase in likelihood the more drugs someone who’s dependent has on hand. The relationship COVID-19 and illicit drugs share could potentially cost people their lives.
Michael Muldoon earned a B.A. in Media Studies from Penn State University, but instead of shifting into an academic career in social science, he has decided to put his skills to work in the pursuit of helping those struggling with addiction. He enjoys spending his free time at the climbing gym with friends.
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