A Message From Gramma: COVID-19 and Substance Use Disorder Risk
As COVID-19 research progresses further, we begin to learn new facts and figures that better explain the disease. But research has come to show the effects and risk of COVID-19 to those who smoke and deal with addiction is far greater than those who do not. The message from Gramma above is an awareness campaign to bring attention on the dangerous complications COVID-19 can have on people with substance use disorder and drug dependence. The virus’ main entrance is through mucosal tissue, this is the nose, mouth, and upper respiratory tract. Tobacco smoke exposure to the lungs causes inflammatory processes in the lung which weakens the pulmonary system.
Cigarette smoking itself is a major risk for bacterial and viral infections. But because opioids act in the brainstem to slow down breathing, it makes COVID-19 particularly more dangerous since lung capacity is already compromised. A history of methamphetamine use is also a risk factor for COVID-19, as methamphetamine constricts blood vessels and consequently contributes to pulmonary damage and pulmonary hypertension.
In general, there is still very little known about COVID-19 and even less is known about its intersection with substance use disorders. However, past trends have made it clear that people with compromised health due to cigarette use and substance use disorders are at an increased risk to contract COVID-19, and may deal with more serious complications. Seeking addiction treatment by talking to an addiction counselor is the best way to not only get on track with recovery, but also protect yourself from the unknown side effects of COVID-19.
Visit our COVID-19 Resource page to get information on how you can find help get drug addiction help while still maintaining government guidelines on staying safe during this pandemic.