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- How COVID-19 May Impact People Who Use Drugs and People at Risk of a Drug Overdose
How COVID-19 May Impact People Who Use Drugs and People at Risk of a Drug Overdose
Limited access to harm reduction supplies including sterile syringes and other injection supplies, fentanyl test strips, and naloxone.
Challenges accessing drug treatment resources including mutual aid and self-help groups, medication as treatment including methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone, etc.
Increased stigmatization of people who use drugs contributing to increased isolation, shame, risk-taking, reluctance to seek treatment and support, negative perceptions and violence against people who use drugs.
Higher levels of stress may cause changes in substance use patterns, access to support systems and services, and the availability of drugs and alcohol.
Increased risk of overdose and overdose death due to social distancing, isolation, using alone, changes in known drug supply, and fear of responding to an overdose due to COVID-19 exposure. Note: when responding to an overdose, use breathing shields/barriers, gloves if you have them, if not, wash hands thoroughly afterwards, etc. Using a breathing shield/mask is a good strategy for preventing transmission of any virus, including COVID19.