Assessment of Pattern of Drug Abuse from Different Clinical Settings in a Reference Laboratory of Pakistan During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Keywords:COVID-19 pandemic, Pakistan, Substance abuse pattern
Objective: To determine the pattern of drug abuse from different clinical settings in a reference laboratory of Pakistan during the COVID-19 pandemic and assess any change from the previous trend.
Study Design: Comparative cross-sectional study.
Place and Duration of Study: Department of Chemical Pathology and Endocrinology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP), Rawalpindi Pakistan from Mar to Dec 2020.Methodology: Out of 6902 subjects tested for drug abuse, 672 subjects with positive results were included in the study. The study population was divided into three main Groups. i.e., Psychiatry, ITC/Emergency and Workplace testing. A pattern of drug abuse was compared in the pre (Mar-Dec 2019) and post-COVID (Mar-Dec 2020) periods.
Results: Out of 672 study subjects, 338(50%) were psychiatry patients. Around 629(94%) subjects were males. Mainly young individuals (306, 46%) were affected. Cannabis was the most frequent drug of abuse detected (357, 53%), followed by Benzodiazepines (BZD) (236, 35%) individuals and Opiates (47, 7%). Compared with pre-COVID data, an overall increase of 3% in the total frequency of drug abuse from 392(7%) to 672(10%) was found in 2020. About 14% decrease, from the frequency of 81(21%) to 47(7%) in Opiates usage, while 8% increase in frequency, from 106(27%) to 236(35%) in Benzodiazepines, was observed. There was significant mean difference (p<0.001) between Psychiatric and ITC patients.
Conclusion: Most frequent drug abuse in our settings is Cannabis, followed by Benzodiazepines and Opiates. An overall increase in drug abuse frequency while a decrease in the frequency of...........
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, Pakistan, Substance abuse pattern.