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COVID-19 and the Drug Supply Chain: from Production and Trafficking to Use

May 15, 2020

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently released a report titled “COVID-19 and the Drug Supply Chain: from Production and Trafficking to Use”. The document gathers information from multiple sources including real-time data from 35 member states across the globe to report on how measures implemented to stop the spread of COVID-19 have affected the production, trafficking and consumption of illicit substances worldwide. 

Although the implications of COVID-19 restrictions on the illicit drug market are still unfolding, the report describes that to date, many regions are reporting shortages of certain drugs, a reduction in purity and an increase in price. This has resulted in some people switching substances for example from heroin, to more dangerous synthetic opioids like fentanyl.  However, there is also some emerging evidence of increases in people accessing drug treatment and governments reducing barriers for people wishing to gain access to opioid treatments like methadone and buprenorphine.

Download “COVID-19 and the Drug Supply Chain: from Production and Trafficking to Use” (2.5MB PDF)