Constituting the fifth part of the World Drug Report 2021, the present booklet contains an early assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on drug markets, as the situation continues to evolve and more data become available. The aim is to paint a comprehensive picture of the measurable effects and potential impact of the COVID-19 crisis to assist Member States in anticipating and addressing challenges that may arise in the near future.
The booklet contains an analysis of how the pandemic has affected drug production, manufacture and trafficking, according to region and drug type. This is followed by an analysis of the most recent trends and patterns in drug trafficking and the distribution of drugs at the retail level, including on the clear web and the dark web. The booklet also contains an analysis of how the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures to contain it have affected drug use and patterns of drug use, possible health consequences for drug users and how the provision of treatment and services to people who use drugs has been affected; a number of innovations in this area, which stem from the reaction to the pandemic, are described. The booklet concludes with an overview of the potential for long-term changes to drug markets as a result of the pandemic.