Impact of COVID-19 on drug markets, use, harms and drug services in the community and prisons


Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the way we live, with European countries having to introduce unprecedented measures to protect public health. As with all areas of life, drug consumption, related harms and drug markets have been impacted, as have the services established to respond to drug-related problems. During the first weeks of the pandemic, the EMCDDA instigated two rapid assessment studies to identify the initial impact and implications of COVID-19.

This current study, conducted between January and March 2021, is a follow-up to the two previous assessments and aims to revisit the initial findings from the earlier studies and identify any signs of further developments in this area. The results from this study provide a first glimpse into new developments emerging both during and in response to the pandemic, and which could have important implications for the future.

Download as PDF

Table of contents

  • Executive summary
  • Introduction
  • Study methodology
    • Data sources and limitations
  • Results
    • Impact of COVID-19 on drug availability, patterns of use and harms
    • Impact of COVID-19 on European drug services
  • Conclusions
  • References