Coronavirus: Alcohol substitution may fuel rise in domestic violence among addicts

Sean Plunket 27/03/2020

Sociologist, Director of Criminal Justice at the University of Canterbury Jarrod Gilbert joins Magic Afternoons with Sean Plunket to discuss gangland activity during the lockdown.

Sean begins the interview by imagining the scenario of a drug user in search of drugs when under lockdown dealers will have been effectively shut down. 

Jrrod notes that for the drug economy, “supply lines have largely dried up.” Without cruise ships, flights and other overseas arrivals, he notes, the import of drugs has slowed down.

Freight generally has slowed to a crawl, meaning that there are fewer opportunities to smuggle drugs.

He points out further, “those that are being smuggled have a far greater chance of being discovered.” Beyond that Gilbert explains during lockdown it is much more difficult to sell the drugs as people's movements are more controlled and less easily disguised.

Jarrod does caution however much like “the nature of capitalism” drug suppliers will adapt to the current situation in new ways in order to continue.

This adaptation can take time, so in the short term there will be a reduction in supply with little hope of increasing supplies of drugs as they are difficult to manufacture in New Zealand. What addicts may do, he says, is substitute drugs like meth with local substances.

An easy substance to get is alcohol which poses some risks as it may fuel a rise in violence particularly domestic violence and abuse, as may occur with desperate addicts anyway.

You can listen to the full interview above.