In some ways, the virus pandemic has an adverse effect on the illegal drug supply chain.  Production, sales, and transport are feeling the impact of closed borders, bars, motels, and nightclubs.  These venues are some of the most profitable for dealers, but things have slowed down recently.  Also, the coronavirus disrupts illegal drug supply chains by increasing prices, making it difficult to sell the drugs if they manage to get them.  

Closed borders and limited air traffic also have an impact on drug smuggling over long distances.  For that reason, the use of drones, submarines, and unmanned platforms may be used to deliver drugs.  

The virus pandemic is causing a supply and demand problem that has dealers scrambling to keep customers and maintain profits. In fact, law enforcement officers have a new saying today:

“Not even the dope dealers can hide from the coronavirus.”

Traffickers Hoarding Drugs to Beat Shortages

Supply chain disruptions are affecting virtually every illicit drug.  The short supply has caused a ripple effect at both the retail and wholesale levels.  A decrease in money-laundering and dark-web sales are reported by the US Drug Enforcement Administration.  

Traffickers are trying every trick to keep their business afloat.  Some are hoarding or holding back existing supplies of methamphetamine in an effort to manipulate the market.  They threaten their organization members with death if caught selling meth during this time.

Methamphetamine and fentanyl are the two drugs most affected by the situation.  These drugs rely on precursor chemicals imported from China.  The head of DEA had this to say about the supply disruptions:

“This is something we would use as a lesson learned for us.  If the disruption is significant, we need to continue to work with our global partners to ensure that, once we come out of the pandemic, those precursor chemicals are not available to these drug-trafficking organizations.”  

Although some clandestine fentanyl labs exist here and there, cartels still rely on the precursor drugs from China because of low prices. One of the main suppliers is located in Wuhan, which is the epicenter of the virus outbreak.

Users Stocking Up on Their Drug of Choice

Not only are traffickers and dealers in a quandary over drug shortages, but users are also stockpiling as well.  In fact, some dealers encourage their clients to stock up if they can.  As a result of this advice, users inadvertently contribute to shortages and higher prices.

Another concern is that people may try another drug if they can’t afford their usual.  This substitution can be deadly, especially if they switch from opioids to heroin, for example.  Or, they may try a combination of drugs to get the desired effects they have been accustomed to.  These combinations are likely to cause a rise in fatal overdoses.  

Coronavirus Disrupts Drug Supply but Not Overdoses

People who have been using heroin may switch to fentanyl during the shortages, thereby increasing their chance of overdose.  Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and is the cause of most overdoses in the US today.  It’s possible the overdose death rates will climb more than ever.

The coming weeks and months will give a better picture of how the coronavirus disrupts illegal drug supplies.  However, the drug crisis alone has been causing deaths long before the virus appeared.  It’s important that we remain diligent in our efforts to prevent drug abuse now during this critical time in our nation.  

New Beginnings Has a Solution to Your Drug Problems

Enough people are dying from the virus, without additional deaths from substance abuse.  Far too many lives are in jeopardy today for a variety of reasons.  However, some of those deaths are preventable, such as those caused by drugs.  

Learn more about drug addiction and treatment programs by calling New Beginnings today.  One of our experts will be available to help you choose a path to recovery that is right for your situation.  

Sources:

cnn.com  – Why Coronavirus is Making People Hoard Illegal Drugs

abcnews.go.com – Cartels are Scrambling: Virus Snarls Global Drug Trade