Substances use between early and later stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel

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Aims: Only several empirical studies have examined substance use during the COVID-19 pandemic in general populations. Most of these studies compared self-reported substances use before the pandemic and during the pandemic's early stages. This study aims to identify the changes in substance use between the early and later waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey recruited 750 participants (ages 18–65) in two waves: (1) 427 during and following the first lockdown (April-mid-May, 2020); and (2) 323 following the second lockdown (from October to mid-November, 2020). Results: Participants who experienced two lockdowns reported more frequent consumption of all alcoholic beverages and cannabis in the last 30 days than those who experienced one lockdown. After controlling for demographic variables, significant differences were found between participants who experienced one lockdown and those who experienced two lockdowns in the consumption of alcoholic beverages (F(1, 742) = 6.90, p =.01, η2 =.01). However, there was no significant association between pandemic duration and other illegal drug consumption. Conclusions: There is a significant association between pandemic duration and alcohol consumption. Policymakers and practitioners should develop national alcohol and cannabis use prevention and harm reduction interventions during pandemics with a focus on men, singles and youth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number46
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Alcohol
  • COVID-19
  • Cannabis
  • Israel
  • Substance use


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