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How COVID-19 affects people using substances

The COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges for persons facing substance misuse. In an editorial article, Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, discusses three unique issues facing this group. First, COVID-19 is complicated by respiratory issues or other medical problems, and substances like marijuana or cigarettes affect respiratory health. Second, people with substance use disorders may face difficulty when seeking treatment from a system that is designed to be in-person or may be overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases. Third, people in recovery may struggle as social distancing separates them from social supports that were previously in-person.

The article, “Collision of the COVID-19 and Addiction Epidemics,” was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Research & Resources