Substance Dependence Increases Amid Pandemic

Substance Dependence Increases Amid Pandemic

Physical isolation and psychological stress due to the pandemic restrictions continue to spur substance dependence across the U.S.

Anjali Krishnan

Nearly one in four in the latest TIPP Poll reported increased reliance on substances due to pandemic restrictions.

We asked, “Have you or a member of your household experienced an increase in reliance on substances (alcohol, marijuana, etc.) due to pandemic lockdowns?” Almost a quarter of the respondents stated that they turned to alcohol or drugs to cope with the situation.

  • 24% said Yes
  • 76% said No

While the increase was lowest in the Midwest, only 17%, the west of the country showed the highest rise at 32%. Some experts believe that the legalization and easy availability of cannabis could be contributing to the increased drug use in certain regions. Records show that the online sale of cannabis shot up in the first few months of the lockdown. Where recreational marijuana is legal, more people reported an increase in their dependence.

  • 28% increase in states where recreational marijuana is legal
  • 20% increase in states where recreational marijuana is NOT legal

Driving The Increase

The pandemic has been tough on everyone. While most grappled with physical isolation, many Americans worried about their livelihoods and health. People found different ways to cope, but a significant portion of the population made unhealthy choices to deal with the trying circumstances. Reports show that the use of alcohol and drugs has gone up significantly.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported more than 81,000 drug overdose deaths for the twelve months ranging from May 2019 to May 2020. Synthetic opioids and cocaine were involved in more than a quarter of these deaths.

“The disruption to daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic has hit those with substance use disorder hard,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield, M.D. CDC reported that 13% of Americans had started using or increased their substance useto deal with the extraordinary circumstances. Health experts warn that people with substance use disorders are more susceptible to COVID-19 and face a higher risk of hospitalization and mortality.

Under The Hood

Alarmingly, data shows that substance use has gone up among the youth the most. Here’s the break up according to age category:

  • 33% in the 18-24 years
  • 41% in the 25-44 years
  • 16% in the 45-64 years
  • 4% among 65+

The survey also found that more men (32%) than women (16%) turned to alcohol and drugs to deal with the current stressful situation.

The pandemic and the ensuing restrictions have adversely affected a large section of the population. Economic stress is a significant factor driving depression and anxiety. Anxiety disorders, depression, and suicidal tendencies have also seen a considerable spike across the country.

Data revealed that certain sections of the population were significantly more vulnerable to increased substance use. As per our survey, an increase in substance use is relatively more common among Blacks and Hispanics.

  • 20% among Whites
  • 31% among Blacks
  • 39% among Hispanics

Based on income, it’s among the affluent, those households with annual income above $75K, that has shown the highest rise in dependence on drugs and alcohol. The easy availability of recreational drugs, the travel ban, and closed group parties are likely reasons for this trend. According to income brackets, the numbers are

  • 16% under $30K
  • 23% among $30K-$50K
  • 13% in the $50K-$75K
  • 39% among $75K+

The lockdown, closures, and restrictions on movement have taken away many coping mechanisms. As more people turn to alcohol or drugs more frequently to cope with the pandemic’s fallout, health workers urge vigilance and caution. Institutions like the CDC and APA are increasing efforts to spread awareness and step up monitoring. Medical professionals encourage people to seek help instead of reaching for a drug or drowning one’s anxieties in alcohol.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

About the survey

TechnoMetrica conducted The TIPP Poll, an online survey from March 31 to April 3.  The nationwide study had a sample of 1,436 Americans, 18 or older, and TechnoMetrica's network of panel partners provided the study sample. Upon the study completion, TechnoMetrica weighted the study dataset by gender, age, race, education, and geographical region to mirror known benchmarks such as the U.S. Census. The credibility interval (CI) for the survey is +/- 2.8 percentage points, meaning the study is accurate to within ± 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Americans been surveyed. Subgroups based on gender, age, ethnicity, and region have higher credibility intervals due to smaller sample sizes.


The prestigious Newark Star-Ledger recognizes our work.

Chalk up another win for Bergen County’s - and America’s - most accurate pollster | Mulshine
As a number of pollsters are trying to figure out what they did wrong in predicting the 2020 election, Rhaghavan Mayur is one who got it right

TIPP Takes

Torres Strait 8: Australian Islanders In Landmark Climate Fight

  • A group of indigenous islanders from Australia's Torres Strait has launched a world-first legal battle in a bid to protect their homes.
  • Torres Strait separates Australia's Cape York Peninsula from Papua New Guinea (PNG).
  • They argue Australia has breached their rights to culture and life by failing to adequately address climate change.
  • An estimated 6,800 Torres Strait Islanders live in the strait, and about 42,000 live outside the islands.
  • The low-lying islands, located on Australia's northern tip, have seen rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and flooding in recent years.
  • It's the first time a claim of this kind has been taken to the UN Human Rights Committee.

US, EU Threaten To Sanction Somalia

  • The United States and European Union say Somalia risks facing sanctions if it fails to resume talks to end its deadlock over elections.
  • But President Mohamed signed a controversial law extending his mandate for two more years despite the international criticism.
  • In a statement, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned that "such actions would be deeply divisive, undermine the federalism process and political reforms that have been at the heart of the country's progress."
  • European Union's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, also threatened "concrete measures" without an immediate return to talks on holding elections.
  • In Mogadishu (capital of Somalia), political and constitutional expert Aweys Salat said the term's extension was unconstitutional.
  • Regional observers have also warned that Somalia's current political crisis could deal a blow to efforts to stabilize the fragile state after decades of civil war and an Islamist insurgency.
  • Somalia has not had an effective central government since the collapse of Barre's military regime in 1991, which led to decades of civil war and lawlessness fuelled by clan conflicts.

SNP Manifesto: A Vote For SNP will Give Nicola Sturgeon 'Permission' For Indyref2

  • Nichola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, while launching her party manifesto, said her intention was for a second vote to be held in 2023, if the Covid crisis is over, regarding Scottish independence.
  • The drive for independence was announced as she laid out plans for £6 billion of new public spending.
  • Stressing that any referendum would need to wait until the Covid crisis was over, Ms. Sturgeon said: "I believe passionately that with the powers of independence, we can do so much more for Scotland."
  • Scottish Conservative leader (Sturgeon's primary opponent to an independent Scotland) Douglas Ross said: "The SNP manifesto confirms that Scotland has a choice of two futures – referendum or recovery."

TUVALU

  • His Excellency Right Honourable Sir Tomasi Puapua PC, KBE Governor-General of Tuvalu, addressed the UN.
  • Tuvalu, another Pacific Island Nation, has been arguing for environmental reform as the nation may become the first to be physically wiped from the earth.
  • At no more than three meters above sea level, Tuvalu is particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise.
  • "In the event that the situation is not reversed, where does the international community think the Tuvalu people are to hide from the onslaught of sea level rise? Taking us as environmental refugees, is not what Tuvalu is after in the long run," he said.
  • "Tuvalu, having little or nothing to do with the causes, cannot be left on its own to pay the price. We must work together." he urged.

Japan: Clock Stopped By Earthquake Restarts 10 Years On

  • A 100-year-old Japanese clock that stopped working after the 2011 earthquake has started ticking again - after another quake struck this year.
  • The clock was submerged by the tsunami on Japan's north-eastern coast that followed the devastating earthquake, which killed more than 18,000 people in March 2011.
  • On 13 February this year - weeks from the anniversary of the disaster - the same region was struck by another powerful earthquake restarting the clock!

Comments

Sign in or become a tippinsights member to join the conversation.
Just enter your email below to get a log in link.