Yes, There’s a Link Between Drug Use and Covid

The Covid-19 virus can be contracted by anyone, although some are at a greater risk of harm due to particular habits. Individuals who use illicit substances, whether occasionally or because of dependence, place themselves at risk of more severe side effects and increased susceptibility to contracting the virus. To help give you a better understanding of why this is the case, let’s examine some of the facts surrounding the use of illicit substances that put users at greater risk.

Why Drug Use Increases The Risks of Covid-19

There are a couple of significant reasons why the use of illicit substances can increase the risk of contracting Covid and experiencing worse side effects. Common drug types such as alcohol, marijuana, heroin, PCP, opioids, methamphetamine, cocaine, ice, crack, LSD, and numerous other abused prescription drugs can all cause damage to specific functions and organs, increasing infection risk. Alcohol, for example, can increase the risk of infection due to reduced immune function. The more you consume, the greater this immune reduction is.

Inhaling, smoking, and vaping substances such as cannabis, methamphetamine, and heroin, can impact lung function and cause damage, which can worsen circumstances if Covid-19 is contracted. Some drugs, such as methamphetamine, can reduce blood flow to the lungs even if not inhaled, while heroin can depress breathing, creating additional problems. Since coronavirus weakens the lungs during infection, having preexisting lung damage due to drug use can make complications from the virus much more likely.

Chronic health problems that can come from extended drug use can also have an impact on potential complications if coronavirus is contracted. Chronic conditions such as heart disease are common among long-time users of illicit substances, and those with conditions like these are not only more likely to experience worse symptoms and complications, but they are also more likely to die from the virus than those without underlying chronic conditions.

Along with this, there are also risks that can come from sharing drugs. For example, cannabis joints are commonly shared among smokers, and this can increase the risk of infection if someone in the group has contracted the virus but isn’t yet showing symptoms or is otherwise asymptomatic.

Drug Use and Stress

In periods of prolonged stress, people are more likely to take illicit drugs or consume more alcohol in an attempt to manage their situations and take the edge off. As the pandemic has increased isolation, boredom, and financial worries, it isn’t surprising that more people might turn towards these outlets. However, in addition, to drugs lowering immune function, prolonged stress can also have a similar effect which compounds the risk even more.

Those who begin using illicit substances to manage stress are much more likely to develop a dependence on them, and those who are already dependent can relapse more easily during periods of stress, even after having successfully completed treatment. This makes finding alternative methods of stress management all the more valuable, especially if you have previously gotten clean through a rehabilitation program.

Covid-19 or Something Else?

With all of this being said, due to drugs’ ability to lower immune function, it is much easier to contract any type of illness, not just Covid. Because of this, it is important to consider alternatives and get tested if you or someone you know has developed symptoms. For example, Americans contract around one billion colds every year, and these symptoms can sometimes overlap with mild Covid symptoms. Whether or not you are a regular drug user, it is important to seek testing as soon as possible so that you can prevent the spread of the virus and get help if your symptoms become more severe.

Additionally, if you use drugs and begin feeling sick, it may have nothing to do with a virus, and instead, you should consider other causes. For instance, many water storage tanks in the U.S. are over 100 years old, and contaminated water can cause illness, as can eating contaminated food. If you’ve considered causes like this and still cannot determine what is making you ill, it’s never a bad idea to get tested for Covid, just to be on the safe side.

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