Photo of various illegal drugs.

New trends in drug trafficking, use, and prevention

The Evolving Illicit Drug Market During the Covid-19 Pandemic

June 2022, Number 26


The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the illicit drug market, including production, trafficking, distribution, use, treatment, monitoring, and prevention. Drug access and availability were disrupted when the pandemic hit, but the organized crime groups involved in the drug market adapted quickly to the new situation. Changes in drug use patterns and new trends such as extended use of e-commerce for drug supply and online services for prevention and treatment also emerged. These trends will undoubtedly persist beyond the pandemic. All of the above have created additional challenges for both public health and security. As a result, responses and measures to combat drug trafficking must evolve in order to mitigate the new risks arising from the distribution and use of drugs.

About the Author

Dr. Kalliroi Ziavrou is a forensic toxicologist who has been working for the Hellenic Police (Lt Colonel) in Northern Greece Forensic Science Subdivision since 2006. She holds a Ph.D. in Forensic Toxicology, a Master’s degree in Chemical Technology, and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. In 2013, she participated in the George C. Marshall Center’s seminar on Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction/Terrorism (CBRN) and in 2018 graduated from the Countering Transnational Organized Crime Course (CTOC). Dr. Ziavrou has previously been published by the Marshall Center and has had several scientific publications published in international journals.

The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany is a German-American partnership and trusted global network promoting common values and advancing collaborative geostrategic solutions. The Marshall Center’s mission to educate, engage, and empower security partners to collectively affect regional, transnational, and global challenges is achieved through programs designed to promote peaceful, whole of government approaches to address today’s most pressing security challenges. Since its creation in 1992, the Marshall Center’s alumni network has grown to include over 15,000 professionals from 157 countries. More information on the Marshall Center can be found online at

The articles in the Perspectives series reflect the views of the authors and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.