FOND DU LAC, WIS. (Sabre Voice) – People with substance abuse issues are more likely to get sick during the COVID-19 pandemic, as drug use stops the immune system from fighting off diseases. A study showed that individuals who abuse opioids or tobacco were more likely to die from COVID-19, according to ABC News, which is worrying as substance abuse is increasing during the pandemic.
“Drugs inhibit the ability to fight viral and bacterial infections, disrupting immune function,” Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and co-author of the study, told ABC News. Drug use can stop the immune system from keeping bad bacteria and viruses away.
Opioid use stops the brain from functioning correctly and slows down the breathing rate of the individual. One of the main reasons why opioid use and COVID are detrimental when paired is because both of them has an effect on how an individual consumes oxygen. This also means that the lungs are slowing down.
The combination of opioids and the coronavirus it can be risky. The opioid epidemic began in the 1990s. Now with the pandemic, two crises are coming together. Over 70,000 people died in the United States in 2019 due to opioid use, and the Centers for Disease estimates those numbers will be higher in 2020, according to ABC News.
According to the American Medical Association, or AMA, “More than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality as well as ongoing concerns for those with a mental illness or substance use disorder” People with mental health issues are using drugs even more during the pandemic to cope with their issues.
Tobacco and cocaine use also increase a risk of COVID as they cause heart attacks and heart failure. Cocaine use can also lead to high blood pressure. According to ABC NEWS “Chronic cocaine use can lead to high blood pressure, which is also a risk factor for COVID-19 complications.” High cigarette use can cause heart and lung disease, as well as weaken your immune system, which makes it difficult to fight diseases off and can increase the risk of getting COVID.