Coronavirus Causing Shortage of Illicit Drugs in UK

  • UK police have an easier time tracking drug peddlers since the lockdown.
  • Vigilant neighbors are reporting suspicious neighborhood activity.
  • Drug dealers are turning to synthetic drugs.

The coronavirus crisis is causing a shortage of drugs in the United Kingdom. The lockdown and international travel restrictions have apparently affected the movement of narcotics into the country. According to the Guardian, law enforcement sources are reporting fewer drugs on the streets.

Benzodiazepines sometimes called “benzos”, are a class of psychoactive drugs whose core chemical structure is the fusion of a benzene ring and a diazepine ring. Benzodiazepines are considered major drugs of abuse.

The shortage is, however, also affecting the purity of drugs. This is as drug peddlers bulk up their product to make up for dwindling supplies. Traffickers are additionally turning to more powerful drugs as a substitute for popular narcotics, such as heroin. They include high-strength benzodiazepines. This class of drugs is normally used medically for sedation purposes. Doctors prescribe benzodiazepines to depress the nervous system and treat anxiety issues. Xanax is one such drug.

There is a risk of dealers turning to deadlier synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl, to replace heroin and cocaine supplies. The drug is 50 to 100 times more powerful than heroin and has an extremely high overdose risk. The United States has, in the past two years, struggled to prevent its entry and distribution to no avail. This is because of the high death rate that it leaves in its wake. Around 70,000 Americans die each year due to overdosing. A majority of the deaths are fentanyl-related.

According to Dr. Rachel Britton a director at the We Are With You drug treatment charity, the addition of more substances to cut purity is leading to a situation where many addicts don’t even know what substances they are taking.

“While less drugs on the street may seem like a good thing, what replaces them is usually more dangerous. We know the purity of many drugs is decreasing as dealers cut them with different substances to increase their bulk. This means people often don’t know what they are taking, increasing the chance of overdose.”

Fentanyl, also spelled fentanil, is an opioid used as a pain medication and together with other medications for anesthesia. Fentanyl is also used as a recreational drug, often mixed with heroin or cocaine.

The use of fentanyl in the UK has not really caught on, as most of the drugs, such as heroin come from Afghanistan. Despite the absence of this deadly substance on the streets, overdose deaths are on the rise. Throwing fentanyl into the mix would cause a disaster. In light of the unfolding situation, the National Crime Agency has reiterated its commitment to stop drug distribution in the UK and pursuing organized crime syndicates.

Coronavirus Lockdown Exposing Dealers

The coronavirus is exposing drug trafficking networks in the UK as more dealers are forced to work from home due to the lockdown. It also doesn’t help that law enforcement is doing a great job of keeping keeps the streets clear. According to a new report by the Mirror, there’s been an upsurge in reports from vigilant neighbors on unusual traffic in certain residences.

Police raids on such properties have led to substantial drug seizures. According to the report, thousands of pounds worth of drugs are being taken off the streets through such tip-offs every week since the lockdown. Thanks to the new mitigation measures, police surveillance systems are now able to clearly pick up spikes in heat signatures coming off drug dealing residences, and this has helped a great deal.

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Samuel Gush. W

Samuel Waweru is a Technology, Entertainment, and Political News writer at Communal News.

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