Scientists say that there is a connection between drug addiction and COVID-19. The National Institute on Drug Abuse wrote on its blog that people with substance-use disorders could be especially hard-hit by COVID-19. The statistics and research show that deaths and serious illnesses from COVID-19 are concentrated among people with health issues, such as diabetes, cancer, and respiratory conditions.
People with substance use disorders are particularly vulnerable to both catching the coronavirus and having a more severe disease when they do catch it. Many people with substance use disorders have chronic illnesses such as heart, kidney, and liver disease, which are risk factors for developing COVID-19 infection.
Smoking and vaping harm lung health. Having a preexisting condition—especially one related to respiratory health—increases the chances that someone will experience complications from COVID-19.
People who use opioids also face challenges to their respiratory health. Since opioids slow breathing, it may cause a harmful decrease in oxygen in the blood. Chronic respiratory disease increases overdose mortality risk among people taking opioids. And thus diminished lung capacity from COVID-19 could similarly endanger this population.
History of methamphetamine use may also put people at risk. Methamphetamine constricts the blood vessels. It is one of the properties that contribute to pulmonary damage and pulmonary hypertension in people who use it. These people can also experience complications if they get infected by COVID-19.
Support and Addiction Treatment Services Remain Critical During COVID-19
For someone struggling with addiction, all online services and treatments don’t work during the COVID-19 pandemic. People are told to stay home. It directly contradicts the need to go to clinics to get medications for addiction treatment. People with substance use disorders don’t go to a rehabilitation center because they have fear getting infected by a coronavirus.
While going to a treatment center during a pandemic may sound risky, it is still statistically safer than continuing to use drugs or alcohol.
People dealing with active addiction are more likely to expose themselves to others – increasing their likelihood of developing COVID-19. As a result, residential treatment centers remain available to provide patients with proper healthcare, therapy, and professional addiction support.
A common truism in recovery culture is that “addiction is a disease of isolation”. So, addicted people should avoid social distancing in every possible way. Experts make differences between physical distance and social distance emphasizing keeping physical distance. But they make extra efforts to maintain social bonds during this time of enormous stress and dislocation.
The social isolation that is so important to prevent the spread of coronavirus makes it impossible for people to attend peer-support groups, which are such a vital source of emotional and spiritual support to those who struggle to stay drug-free.
Drug overdose is another problem for addicted people. Many people had used drugs with friends before isolation. Now they are using them alone, and there is no one nearby who could call 911 in the event of an overdose. As a consequence, police have been finding people dead in their apartments.
What we need to do now is reach out more than ever to those who are struggling with addiction, and bring them to rehab to get them to understand that they are not alone and forgotten during a crisis. We need to make sure that they are getting treatment and the medications they need to recover, that they have access to medical care, food, and housing.
Just dealing with addiction alone is an extremely scary and difficult thing to go through. However, being in the midst of active addiction during a global pandemic can be even more terrifying. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, do not let the COVID-19 outbreak prevent you from going to an addiction treatment center. Rehab facilities like Hathaway Recovery are continuing to provide help to suffering addicts and alcoholics while following all CDC guidelines in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak. Call us today.
Hathaway Recovery Drug & Alcohol Treatment Center
Treatment Center, MD, LCSW, LMFT, ASAM
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: (909) 971-3333
Fax (909) 498-9898
1042 East Belmont Abbey Lane, Claremont, CA 91711