Sciensano: Pandemic had little effect on use of leisure drugs
Share article:
Share article:

Sciensano: Pandemic had little effect on use of leisure drugs

© Robert McGowan for Unsplash

The coronavirus epidemic in Belgium had little overall effect on the use of leisure drugs, according to a survey carried out by federal health institute Sciensano.

Sciensano carried out a poll during three periods in 2020, and gathered more than 8,000 responses. The respondents were mainly males under the age of 25, and living in Flanders. Eight out of ten were users of cannabis, two out of ten were cocaine users and one in ten used ecstasy or amphetamines.

During the first lockdown in March 2020, the use of marijuana increased compared to the months before. However six months later the situation had returned to normal.

Consumption of cocaine and amphetamines, in contrast, dropped substantially in the first lockdown, only to recover six months later to exceed pre-lockdown quantities.

For ecstasy, meanwhile, consumption fell during the March lockdown and stayed down six months later.

Related News


The survey also found a difference between regular users and occasional users.

Heavy users of drugs – of all sorts – tended to consume greater quantities during the first lockdown, while for occasional users the reverse was true.

Availability may have something to do with this. During lockdown, bars and night clubs were closed, taking away many of the chance opportunities to purchase drugs for occasional users.

Regular users, on the other hand, tend to have personal contacts with suppliers, who are known to have developed new methods to cope with the restricted circumstances – orders via internet, payment via app and home delivery.

This research shows that the drug market remained relatively stable and that drugs were still available during the pandemic,” the report concludes.

Users appear to have bought relatively larger quantities than before, perhaps to have stock in case the drugs were less readily available or simply because the mode of transaction allowed it. Retail prices rose in 2020 for marijuana and cocaine in powdered form, while they fell for ecstasy pills and powdered amphetamines.”

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

‘Do what you want, but do it as safely as possible,’ experts warn
As the daily number of new coronavirus infections exceeds 3,000 for the first time since May, infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe and ...
‘We’re running dry’: Brussels teacher shortage reaches critical levels
The teacher shortage in Brussels is affecting schools across language borders, according to Brussels’ Minister for Multilingualism and Dutch ...
Belgium in Brief: Getting To The Airport
When I saw the news of plans for a tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels' outskirts to the airport, my first reaction was sheer joy.  Let ...
EU should invest €5 trillion in climate plan, says State Secretary for Economic Recovery
The European Union must invest €5 trillion in its climate plan over the next decade to "retain its credibility as a political project," according ...
Brussels café managers ask for security guards following stabbing over vaccination proof
Managers of cafes in Brussels are asking to be provided with security guards if they’re to continue enforcing rules surrounding proof of vaccination, ...
1.6 tonnes of drugs, 27 suspects: Belgian police bust major gang
The Belgian police and public prosecutor's office arrested 27 suspects and seized 1.6 tonnes of drugs, over €80,000 and a number of weapons in a ...
75% more sexual violence victims seek help in Brussels since summer
There has been a 75% increase in the number of people asking for help from the Brussels Centre for the Treatment of Sexual Violence (CPVS) since the ...
European Commission outlines possible action against the rule of law crisis in Poland
In a speech at the European Parliament plenary on Tuesday morning, Commission president Ursula von der Leyen listed three options for action against ...
PFOS contamination found in air around 3M factory
Months after unsafe levels of the chemical PFOS were discovered in the water and soil in the vicinity of a 3M factory in Antwerp, in addition to in ...
Belgium is global leader in plastic recycling and bioplastic innovations
Belgium is among the best-performing countries when it comes to innovation in plastic recycling and researching alternative plastics technologies, an ...
Lidl reopens all Belgian shops as strike actions end
Lidl has confirmed that all its shops in Belgium will reopen on Tuesday following six days of closure across various branches due to strike actions. ...
Brussels Christmas Market will once again return on 26 November
It may only be October, but the news that Brussels will get back its Christmas market this year means that seasonal celebrations with Glühwein ...