Over the past couple of months, the COVID-19 virus has spread around the world, and many people are making an effort to avoid spreading or contracting the disease. At the time of writing, over 1.3 million cases of the disease have been reported around the world.
For many people, cases are mild and can be managed at home. For some, though, recovery requires serious medical attention. Nearly 75,000 people have died from COVID-19 so far.
People who use drugs are one of the high-risk categories. Even those who don’t contract the disease but continue to use drugs during this pandemic will have additional risks to worry about.
Users’ Risk of COVID-19 Infection May Increase
COVID-19 is spread from person to person through droplets that mainly come from sneezes or coughs. This makes the risk of contracting the disease high for people who share drug paraphernalia.
Say you’re sharing a joint with a carrier of COVID-19. This person may be showing no symptoms of the disease, but they are still contaminating the joint that you’re putting into your mouth. The same goes for any other shared paraphernalia used to inhale, snort, or inject drugs.
There are additional concerns for users who have developed chronic health conditions as a result of drug use – these people are at a higher risk for developing a more serious case of COVID-19 if they do get sick with the disease. Some examples of high-risk groups include those who have developed asthma or COPD as a result of smoking drugs or tobacco, those who have cardiovascular disease as a result of abusing stimulants, and those who have developed HIV or have an otherwise weakened immune system from drug use.
Disrupted Access to Healthcare and Other Services
Hospitals across the country and the world are overwhelmed treating COVID patients. Drug users who require hospitalization or medical care may have difficulty accessing a professional in areas where outbreak numbers are high. In addition, simply being in a hospital at this time may increase a person’s risk of getting sick with COVID-19.
If you’re looking to enter recovery during the pandemic, you may have a harder than usual time. Many recovery centers are still operating, but be sure to check policies around isolation and quarantine if you’re looking at entering a residential recovery facility.
If you’re looking for talk therapy or a support group, many organizations have temporarily moved group meetings online to continue to be accessible.