Methods: Participants were purposively selected through convenience sampling technique. They were recruited through one-on-one invitation and through referrals in Abule-Ijesha area of Lagos state. The interviews explored the participants’ consumption of substance of abuse, how they bought the substances and where the substances were purchased. 25 participants, who use different substances consented to participate in the study, which included 18 males and 7 females. Data were collected using in-depth interview guide. The data were analysed using NVivo 12 plus.
Findings: The findings show that there was an increase in the consumption of substance of abuse during the lockdown period in Lagos and this was largely due to the “free time” that participants had, as they were not actively engaged in any meaningful economic activity. Participants were able to purchase substance of abuse from street vendors. Some participants reported that they bought the substance of abuse in bulk when the government announced the lockdown, but they soon exhausted it because they consumed more. Apart from purchasing substances from street vendors, some participants were able to purchase some “edibles” from online retailers, who were mostly found on the social media platform, Twitter and Facebook, where they got the contacts of people who sold “happy cookies and brownies” (this is the street name for marijuana laced cookies and brownies). Other participants explained that their friends had already found sellers close to them via Twitter and Facebook before the lockdown and they were able to deliver to them in the evenings because of the proximity.
Conclusion and Implication: The lockdown was to a great degree instrumental in curtailing the spread of the Coronavirus disease, however, it also led to an unintended increase in the consumption of substance of abuse in Lagos state. Future lockdowns should empower people to be actively engaged in productive activities, while social workers should interface with the vulnerable group to educate them on the danger of consumption of psychoactive substances.
Keywords: Access, substance of abuse, social media platform, street vendors, consumption