COVID-19 and Addiction


Day 196: Stay Safe Minnesota

Recent studies revealed surge of substance addictive behavior during COVID-19 causing potential public health threat.

There are several reports indicating that home confinement and sustained lock-down due to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused unbearable economic burden to many communities and caused unwelcome emotional reactions and excessive substance abuse.

In the months since the pandemic took hold in the U.S., the opioid epidemic has taken a sharp turn for the worse. More than 40 states have seen evidence of increases in overdoses.

The New York Times

A recent study quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer, conducted by researchers at Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland MetroHealth System, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, funded by the National Institutes of Health found that “people diagnosed with substance use disorder in the last year were significantly more likely to develop COVID-19 than someone without a recent diagnosis, and that people diagnosed with a substance use disorder at some point in their lives were also at a higher risk than people without the disorder.”

The director of the National Institute for Drug Abuse, Nora Volkow and study author told the Inquirer “black Americans with a recently diagnosed substance use disorder had a much higher risk of contracting COVID-19, and getting much sicker from it, than their white counterparts”.

The most severe association comes for opioid use disorder specifically. If you have an opioid use disorder, even after adjusting for compounding factors like ethnicity, age and gender, you are 10 times more likely [to contract COVID]. With tobacco, you are eight times more likely.

Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute for Drug Abuse (source: The Philadelphia Inquirer)

In a recently published article COVID and addition in the journal Diabetes Metab Syndr, study authors lead by Mahua Janna Dubey write:

The 2019-coronavirus disease (COVID-19), undoubtedly the greatest public health catastrophe of our times, has been making universal concern throughout the world over the past few months and is throwing up several challenges for us in numerous ways.

The Washington Post health and science reporters William Wan and Heather Long write in a recent report that Drug overdoses are soaring during the coronavirus pandemic. They write “suspected overdoses nationally jumped 18 percent in March compared with last year, 29 percent in April and 42 percent in May, according to the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program, a federal initiative that collects data from ambulance teams, hospitals and police. In some jurisdictions, such as Milwaukee County, dispatch calls for overdoses have increased more than 50 percent.”

Coronavirus Pandemic Watch

According to the MDH latest tally (as of Oct 8, 11 a.m.) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 107,922 (out of 2,224,194 tested) with 2,107 deaths. According to Johns Hopkins database (as of Oct 8, 2:23 p.m.) there are 7,586,904 confirmed covid19 infection with 212,420 deaths. Globally the covid19 virus has infected 36,349,500 with 1,058,698 deaths.