Drug Use Can Increase the Risk of Contracting COVID-19

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Drug Use Can Increase the Risk of Contracting COVID-19

Drugs increase the risk of coronavirus.  Why?  Because people are more likely to take illicit drugs or drink alcohol during stressful times.  So, it’s not surprising that the virus lockdown has an impact on a person’s substance use.  Isolation, boredom, and financial problems are common today.  Also, uncertainties about what our future holds can lead to added stress or depression for many individuals. Unfortunately, in an effort to escape problems, users of illicit substances only make their situation worse.  

Understanding the Connection Between Drugs and COVID-19 Risks

As of today, experts still don’t know enough about the virus.  Also, there are no statistics that show the number of virus sufferers who abused drugs.  With that in mind, we should ramp up our efforts to reduce harm to those with SUD.  We already know how drug abuse affects a person’s overall health.  These individuals are at risk of contracting many other diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, STDs, and more. Therefore, it’s not difficult to expect substance abusers to be more vulnerable to the virus.

Why are Substance Abusers at High Risk for Health Problems?

The relationship between drug use and health problems is complex.  However, some of the most common links are as follows:

  • Weakened immune system:  Poor nutrition is common among substance abusers.  Without essential nutrients, the body is unable to defend against bacteria and viruses.
  • Lung problems:  Many drugs are ingested by inhalation.  This practice can damage the lungs and lead to respiratory problems.  Other drugs such as meth affect the lungs indirectly by restricting blood flow which depresses breathing.  COVID-19 primarily attacks the lungs.  
  • Chronic health issues:  Drug use can complicate chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, COPD, diabetes, and more.  This interaction can put a person at an increased risk of dying if they contract the virus.
  • Shared needles or other devices:  Many drugs are shared.  People who use marijuana often pass a joint from person to person.  Or, they share a bong.  Those who use injectable drugs often share needles.  If these individuals contract COVID-19, they can pass it to others through these shared devices.

On another note, people who use drugs occasionally are at risk of becoming dependent during these stressful times.  As they gradually increase their dosage in response to stress, the chance of addiction increases dramatically.  

Protect Yourself from Increased Risk

Now that you know how drugs increase the risk of Coronavirus, here are a few ways to reduce your risk.  Of course, the safest way to protect yourself is to stop using drugs altogether.  But, if you are unable to do that, here are some other things to try:

  • Stay healthy:  You can boost your immune system.  Eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, and get regular exercise.  Take vitamins.  The healthier you are, the less likely you will have severe complications from COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands:  Purchasing drugs can spread germs.  The packaging or money could harbor bacteria, so it’s best to be cautious.  Use plenty of soap and wash hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t share:  Stay away from situations where you would be expected to share a joint, bong, pipe, or needle.  
  • Find alternative routes of administering drugs:  Because COVID-19 damages the lungs, you should stop smoking or vaping your drugs.  

While we don’t advocate drug use, this information is provided to help reduce your risks of contracting the virus if you abuse drugs.  

Drugs Increase the Risk of Coronavirus: Stop Using Now

Avoiding the virus is only one problem you must address.  You must also consider the other health issues that develop with prolonged drug abuse. But, quitting drug abuse is difficult to do without professional help. If you are ready to stop substance abuse, please contact us at A Forever Recovery today to learn about our treatment options.

Sources:
drugabuse.gov – COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders

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