People with substance use disorder are at risk of COVID-19 and its complications. Chronic substance use can harm or weaken the body, including the immune system, in ways that make it more vulnerable to COVID-19 infections. Opioids use act in the brainstem to slow breathing, lung damage caused by smoking is well known, and alcohol use can increase the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome and pneumonia. These drugs have effects on respiratory and pulmonary health of the individual.
For several months of COVID-19 pandemic people have adjusted to public health and safety protocols as provided by CDC and other public health services departments. The emergence of vaccines, approved by FDA, provided a safety net to the world in saving lives and it seemed as if we have had a control on the pandemic. COVID-19 vaccines have been free and broadly available to adults in US since mid-April 2021. Social and economic activities were returning to normalcy lately until different variants, especially Delta, emerged and created astronomical spikes in cases, hospitalization and deaths. According to the CDC, Delta is about twice as infectious as the original strain and estimated to be 60% more infectious than Alpha variant. Unvaccinated individuals suffer the most.
As we approach the winter months previous health and safety protocols, like mask mandates, are coming back. Social distancing guidance and stay-at-home orders may be returning and that could lead to higher numbers of people using drugs and become vulnerable to COVID-19.
If you or someone you know is in need of support right now reach out to us. We are here to help! We work hard to address access to treatment concerns from our patients and currently implementing a hybrid treatment process – in-person and telehealth!