Implications of Covid-19 on drug users and support service providers
The current public health crisis raises additional serious issues for the well-being of drug users, for ensuring the continuity of addiction treatment, and for the protection of those who provide care and support for people living with addiction. In the UK, 3.5% of adults, aged 16 to 59 reported using illicit drugs in the last year.
People who use drugs face the same risks as the general population, but may be exposed to additional risks related to the high level of physical and mental comorbidity. Due to the high prevalence of chronic medical conditions among illicit substances abuse, many of them will be at particular risk of developing serious respiratory illness if they become infected with COVID-19.
The risk of a drug overdose may be increased among addicts who are infected with COVID-19
The main life-threatening effects of an opioid, such as heroin, are slowing and stopping a person’s breathing. Because COVID-19, like any severe lung infection, can cause difficulty breathing among opioid users, there may be an increased risk of respiratory failure.
Naloxone treatment blocks the effect and reverses the difficulty of breathing caused by opioids, being used both clinically and in the community as a measure to prevent overdose. However, the impact of Naloxone treatment on breathing difficulties caused by COVID19 is unknown.
Crowded environments increase the risk of COVID-19 exposure
The characteristics of some of the places frequented by drug users may expose them to an increased risk of COVID-19. Recreational drug use often occurs in groups or crowded environments. This can be mitigated to some extent by social distancing by following safety guidelines or other measures established to reduce the use of or access to high-risk environments. Treatment centres for drug users may have areas where social distancing is difficult, such as waiting rooms or community spaces. On Guide to Rehab you can find the nearest therapist from parts of the UK, such as London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham or Scotland. Rehabilitation centers available on Guide to Rehab follow specific guidelines and rules to avoid exposure risks and contamination with SARS-CoV-2.
The prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma is high among drug users in treatment, and smoking heroin or crack cocaine can be an aggravating factor. So, if you or someone close need professional help, there are rehabs and therapists across the UK, able to help those struggling with addiction.