This study aims to assess the impacts of the continuous pandemic state, gender and employment status on changes in substance use during the COVID-19 outbreak.
A sample of 828 Israelis participated in an online survey and answered questions on demographic characteristics, ranking their substance consumption, and perceived increase in alcohol/drug consumption. The age range was 18–65 (Mean = 30.10, S.D. = 11.99), and the majority (72.9 %) were female. We gathered the data in two waves: 1) during and following the early first lockdown; 2) following the second lockdown.
Men reported higher beer, hard liquor, and illegal drug consumption than women. Continuous COVID-19 was associated with higher consumption of all alcohol, and cannabis, and higher perceived increases in substance consumption than short-term COVID-19. Significant interactions were found between gender and employment regarding all-drug consumption measurements and interactions between gender, employment, and pandemic duration (short/continuous) were found regarding cannabis consumption.
The discussion addresses the results in the context of continuous COVID-19 and traditional gender roles. Policymakers should develop prevention and harm reduction interventions for substance use and abuse, focusing on unemployed men as an at-risk group.