Recreational Drug Use in Pandemics

Rutte says: Please Stay Home
Many hear: let’s get high!

Each morning I wake up to a bizarre new world: fines for socializing, international borders closing, panicked messages from home. Take a moment to think about how even two, three weeks ago, your world was completely different — maybe you were planning a winter holiday escape (try again in 202…2?), maybe you had just sent out invitations for a big surprise party for your partner’s birthday (which the party would, now, be a fineable offence and downright irresponsible) or maybe you were just about to begin an outdoor bootcamp (anyone know a good free fitness app that will tone and…oh, forget it).

The change from our realities from then to now is nothing short of bewildering. One thing however, that has never changed, and will never change – is the desire to alter our state of minds with substances.


For the foreseeable future, young people living alone or with partners or roommates have a lot of free time on their hands. We all have our ways of coping with this self-isolation and uncertainty and it should come as no surprise that one of those options is recreational drug use. We may have seen our mobility limited lately, but we can still go places in our mind. 


This blog series will be an ongoing exploration of recreational drug use, as the world retreats into their homes, in the face of this pandemic. But this adventure cannot happen without you. As a drug researcher, I am curious how the threat and presence of corona is changing the ways in which we relate to drugs. Is it changing your relationship to drugs? I would love it if you would share your thoughts and experiences with me. For example, are you getting high at home? Perhaps more so than before? Are you using this time to reduce your use? And how are you dealing with supply and hygienic measures? Have you developed new harm reduction tips for getting high in isolation?


So, I want to invite you blog reader, substance user, curious bystander, Poppi supporter, to create a dialogue with me. My role as a drug researcher wouldn’t exist without people willing to talk about their experiences with me. My hope is that you feel welcome to share your thoughts, experiences, and concerns surrounding your substance use in relation to this pandemic. If you have something to offer this infinitely broad topic of conversation of drug use and quarantine, which trust me, you do, please get in touch with me via Telegram @sharewithpoppi  or

Your anonymity will be guaranteed.


I will see you next Monday for the first part of this exploration: panic buying in the time of pandemics.


Hayley Murray is a drug researcher and project coordinator of the ChemicalYouth project at the University of Amsterdam. She is energized by talking to young people about their substance use and has had the privilege to do so with recreational drug users in the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and the United Kingdom.


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