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COVID-19 Lockdown Saw Greeks Smoke Less, Shun Getting High

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(Photo by Eurokinissi/ Stelios Missinas, file)

ATHENS – One healthy side effect of a first COVID-19 lockdown in Greece early in 2020 that kept people mostly confined to their homes saw them smoke fewer tobacco products and use fewer drugs to get high, such as heroin and ecstasy.

But they also used more cocaine and psychoactive drugs and dietary supplements, said the findings of a study conducted by an Athens University research team, reported Kathimerini, although it wasn't said what happened with alcohol use.

The study, which was accepted for publication in the scientific journal Science of the Total Environment, analyzed wastewater from the Psyttalia wastewater treatment center before the  Coronavirus emerged and during the first lockdown.

There was  33 percent drop in smoking, as recorded in the substances contained in cigarettes discovered in the human waste products, researchers concluding that people smoked less possibly due to research that argued smoking is associated with a high risk of respiratory infections.

The use of anxiolytics (benzodiazepines) that are prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, increased by 20 percent, highlighting an increase in anxiety disorders. Ecstasy use went down because it's largely used in night clubs that were shut down for months during the lockdown.