Study Suggests Addicts at Much Greater Risk of Covid-19

Study Suggests Addicts at Much Greater Risk of Covid-19

A study released recently suggests that people with substance use disorder are at much more risk of death from Covid-19 than those without substance use disorder. I have talked about this issue in the past, and these experts cite many reasons, including reasons that people with addiction would be more likely to contract the virus that causes Covid-19 and reasons they would be more likely to suffer life-threatening disease during the pandemic. Most of these issues are related to the environments that addicts might frequent and health-related comorbidities that can worsen lung illnesses, but I will take us through the entire list from the study. The study was published in Springer Nature, and I will cite all of the research I used for this article below. As always, if you or a loved one is in need of substance abuse treatment, the best drug rehab in Florida is Florida Springs, located in Panama City. It is important to note that they are experts in treating all alcohol and drug-related use disorders.

One important note that is made by the authors that I was not aware of is that there are people who have claimed that smoking cigarettes can offer some form of protection from Covid-19. This is not the case, and people who smoke are dying nearly 20% more often when they contract the virus. The first few items on the list deal with smoking in particular. People with all forms of substance use disorder smoke cigarettes and engage in vaping at a much higher rate than the general population. Unfortunately, the stereotype of everyone smoking at or outside of AA meetings seems to have some truth to it, as both recovering alcoholics and recovering drug users smoke more than other people. This fact alone makes people with substance use disorder more susceptible to serious cases of Covid-19, but there are many other factors on top of that one. Alcohol use, especially heavy use, hurts the immune system. In some cases, long term alcoholics can suffer from health problems similar to those with compromised immune systems. This makes alcoholism a scary comorbidity when it comes to Covid-19, and people with histories of alcohol abuse should talk to their doctors about this issue in particular. 

The next issues that I will talk about have to do with environments that people with addiction might be more likely to be around than other people. Access to disinfectant wipes and hand-washing resources is lower among people with substance use disorder. People with substance use disorder are also more likely to be in crowded environments without a good way to isolate themselves from other people. This includes homeless people or people with unsure housing situations, and people who go to crowded drug houses or drug markets where people are not social distancing. For many opioid addicts and other drug addicts, daily trips to crowded places are a daily occurrence, and until a person is free of that cycle it is difficult to find shelter and isolation from others who may have been exposed to Covid-19. 

Users of methamphetamine suffer from higher rates of pulmonary hypertension, which can put people who have used methamphetamine at increased risk. Methamphetamine and other drugs have also been connected to lowered immune system function. Another large issue that I touched on in a previous article is that people who bear obvious signs of drug use or alcoholism might feel stigmatized and be less likely to seek medical treatment. This can put people with addiction and those around them at greater risk if a person who is exposed to Covid-19 is wary of visiting a medical facility or getting a virus test. 

The great people at Florida Springs have asked me to mention one thing that I have not talked about in the past. If you or a loved one needs treatment and is interested in treatment at the best drug rehab and alcohol clinic in Florida, you should understand that Florida Springs is able to, in some cases, help patients negotiate the expense of a copay for alcohol or drug treatment in some way. Please call Florida Springs today at the number listed on this website for more information on treatment options for every individual.

By T.A. Cannon (Contact me at



LÓPEZ-PELAYO, H. et al. “The post-COVID era”: challenges in the treatment of substance use disorder (SUD) after the pandemic. BMC medicine, [s. l.], v. 18, n. 1, p. 241, 2020. DOI 10.1186/s12916-020-01693-9. Disponível em: Acesso em: 7 jan. 2021.