More drugs abuse due to boredom and stress: Experts

The use of ecstasy and speed has decreased during the corona period, but cannabis users have started smoking more. Tripods like 2C-B and ketamine also remain popular. This is what the Trimbos Institute centre of expertise has observed after its research. It also warns that because of home use of drugs, the risks in corona time have changed.

Newspaper The Telegraaf, the largest in the Netherlands, opened with a large story about this urging issue on Tuesday (09-03-2021).

On Tuesday, Trimbos published both the Large nightlife study and the National Drugs Monitor in the Netherlands. The latter shows that about one million people use cannabis on an annual basis. Among young people, the share is much higher: almost a quarter uses cannabis at some point. The number of people who reported to hospital with a cannabis-related illness increased significantly last year.

Boredom and stress

The fact that more people used drugs during the first lockdown is not encouraging in that respect, admits Margriet van Laar, programme leader for drug monitoring at the Trimbos Institute. After all, the reasons for using more remained the same during the second lockdown: many people start using more because they suffer from boredom, mental problems and stress. Moreover, the most avid blowers run the greatest risk of becoming addicted.

Nevertheless, Van Laar does not believe that the coffee shops should have been closed. “That might sound logical, but there is a chance that some of them would seek refuge in the illegal circuit.

Insight into drug use during corona crisis

The study provides a deeper insight into drug use during the corona crisis. Almost 4,000 partygoers (16-35 years old) were questioned about the period of the first lockdown and the subsequent relaxations. The use of typical party drugs such as ecstasy and speed decreased, as did the use of laughing gas. Partygoers, however, used psychedelic drugs such as LSD, ketamine, 2C-B and magic mushrooms about as often. “That party drugs were used much less is logical: the entertainment venues were closed. Drugs like 2C-B are more often used in a home setting”, says Van Laar.

That does bring other risks, according to the researchers. They think that the risk of overheating with ecstasy use decreases because people sit inside instead of standing on a hot dance floor. At the same time, when using XTC at home or at an illegal party, there is no first-aider present to come to the rescue.