The Worrying Connection Between COVID-19 And Substance Use Disorder

With this summer’s Delta Variant surge of COVID-19 having tapered off it is easy to feel like the worst days of the pandemic are behind us. However, with the colder winter months forcing us indoors, as well as increased amounts of travel with the holiday season approaching, COVID cases could very well spike, even for those who are vaccinated. While breakthrough cases are less common, with breakthrough hospitalizations and deaths being even more uncommon, a new study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse has identified a connection between COVID-19 breakthrough cases and individuals suffering from Substance Use Disorder. Read on for an in-depth look at what this study has uncovered, and how people with substance use disorder can protect themselves against COVID-19 breakthrough cases.


The Truth About COVID-19 And Substance Use Disorder

Researchers have long suspected that there would be a connection between COVID and Substance Use Disorder, both in the severity of the cases as well as the number of infections. But a new study in the World Psychiatry journal has been able to illustrate it. The study focused on vaccinated individuals who were currently diagnosed with SUDs. These individuals were misusing a variety of substances including alcohol, marijuana, opioids, and tobacco. The study found in this group of roughly 30,000 people that, despite being vaccinated, they suffered COVID-19 infections at a rate that was almost double that of people who did not struggle with Substance Use Disorder. While this rate is relatively low at 7%, it is still a worrying figure given the highly infectious Delta Variant.

While the numbers for breakthrough infections for people suffering from SUDs are concerning, the real worrying figure came when they analyzed the number of hospitalizations and deaths that came from these breakthrough infections. Of those with SUDs who had contracted COVID, 22.5% required hospitalization and 1.6% of those individuals died.

These percentages may seem small, but they are staggering when compared to the breakthrough infections in people who do not have Substance Use Disorder. In non-SUDs cases, only 1.6% of vaccinated people had to be hospitalized and 0.5% died.

Researchers in this study found that people suffering from Substance Use Disorder, often had a more difficult time battling COVID-19 largely because of underlying health conditions, often exacerbated by their substance use. 


What You Can Do To Protect Yourself From COVID-19

The best thing one can do to protect against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated, but since people with SUDs still face higher levels of breakthrough infection, other steps need to be taken. Make certain to not forget the basics that we all learned at the beginning of the pandemic. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, wear your mask in public and try to maintain social distancing if possible. Lastly, it’s important to get tested for COVID-19 if you have been traveling or are starting to feel the symptoms come on. Getting tested will help you to make sure that you minimize contact with others who may be vulnerable, as well as allow you to prepare for the illness with medicine, fluids, and the possibility that you might need to go to the hospital. Being prepared is key for COVID recovery because the symptoms often take hold quickly.


Talk To A Representative At Fritz Clinic

While breakthrough COVID infections in those experiencing Substance Use Disorder have a higher rate of death, there is nothing more harmful to your health than SUDs itself. If you are struggling with opioids, Fritz Clinic is here for you. With 35 years of expertise in helping people heal from opioid dependency, Fritz Clinic is your place of healing. Call or contact us to begin your journey today.