COVID-19 Poses Increased Risk to Those Struggling With Addiction

coronavirus and addiction

Covid-19, also known as Coronavirus, is impacting millions across the world right now. We’re existing in a pandemic of epic proportions, unlike anything we have previously seen in our lifetimes. If you think about that, we’re experiencing something together as a society that none of us has ever gone through before. There is no rule book for how to handle this situation, and we’re all learning as we go and doing the best we can to support one another in this time of crisis.

Defining Wellness Centers is taking the appropriate precautions of screening individuals before they enter the property to verify that they’re not running a fever or showing signs of illness. If we have a concern about anyone, we advise them to self-quarantine for 14 days to ensure the safety of themselves and everyone around them. Our housekeeping team is constantly cleaning hard surfaces, doorknobs, handles, sinks, light switches, toilets, etc., to reduce any potential spread or contamination. All clients are being assessed prior to admission and every effort is made to make sure that they’re not ill prior to admitting to our program.

This is all incredibly important because while older adults and those with serious underlying medical problems have been identified as “higher risk,” individuals struggling with addiction also fall into that category. According to Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “The research community should be alert to the possibility that [Covid-19] could hit some populations with substance use disorders particularly hard.”

How Substance Use Impacts Your Ability to Fight Coronavirus

Individuals who are afflicted with substance use disorders need treatment now more than ever before, as not only are they battling addiction daily, but they’re also in an immuno-compromised position and at greater risk for being infected with Covid-19. People who smoke, vape, or use other substances are especially threatened because the virus attacks the lungs.

According to Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Research Control & Education at University of California, San Francisco, the flu and other infections are more severe in individuals who smoke or vape. Because vaping affects the lungs at every level, the immune function in nasal cavities are affected and the ability of your upper airways to clear viruses is compromised.

Though originally touted as a virus that was only impacting older individuals, a big part of current hospitalizations in the US are made up of individuals under the age of 44. People who smoke are at an increased risk of experiencing things like acute respiratory distress syndrome. The likelihood of Covid-19 becoming more severe and potentially leading to death is 14 times higher among individuals who have a history of smoking, compared to those who did not smoke.

Opioid and methamphetamine users are also at risk because of the effects the drugs have on respiratory and pulmonary health. Opioids like hydrocodone, oxycontin, and oxycodone slow breathing and have been proven to increase mortality in people with respiratory diseases. Covid-19 decreases lung capacity and can lead to similar outcomes, further endangering opioid users.

Methamphetamines produce significant pulmonary damage because meth binds heavily to pulmonary tissue. If an individual is using meth and contracts coronavirus, the outcome could be deadly, especially without early intervention and treatment. Individuals abusing substances often find themselves sharing close quarters, products, and paraphernalia, which can increase the risk of contraction for the virus.

How To Stay Healthy

If you’re a smoker, the most immediate thing that you can do to decrease the severity of Covid-19, should you contract it, is to stop smoking. This will give your lungs a chance to start healing. If you’re smoking and contract coronavirus, you may experience severe symptoms. In the time of social distancing, it may seem strange to consider going to detox and residential treatment, but it’s critically important. Facilities are taking precautions to maintain safe environments for clients, and are screening every potential admission prior to acceptance into programs.

We know the impact that using substances can have on one’s body regardless of the Covid-19 virus, but the implications, when combined with the virus, are terrifying. Defining Wellness Centers offers a medical detox in a safe setting where you can receive the care that you need. By opting to go to a substance use disorder treatment program when you need detox, you’re freeing up a hospital bed that can be utilized for someone who is critically ill. We can screen and monitor for signs and symptoms of flu, while providing a comprehensive and safe medical detox.

The Medical Doctor at Defining Wellness is a board-certified pulmonologist, and closely monitors each client’s care to ensure they are receiving the time and attention that they need to recover. We understand that it’s a scary time to go to treatment, but isolating yourself in your addiction during this time can have deadly consequences. Reach out to Defining Wellness Centers today to learn more about how we can help you to begin your recovery journey.

References: https://amp-cnn-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/03/20/health/coronavirus-vaping-drugs/index.html?fbclid=IwAR2kJ-snqzb84AJFbZK4E44zkPqYyblK_r6ypf-tAkFOFtlISu8agDWHfKo