COVID-19 (Coronavirus): How to keep drug use safe during the pandemic


The world is flooding with the words "Coronavirus" and "COVID-19", and justifiably so. With over 304,086 cases worldwide, and over 12,989 deaths as of 3/21/2020 [1], the virus has been sweeping fear and uncertainty to many. COVID-19 is extremely infectious, it can be transmitted easily from person to person without being aware of having it. Not only does the virus have an incubation period of 5 to 11 days [2], but in some cases, the symptoms can be very mild to the point where someone might dismiss it as having a cold; thus, spreading it unintentionally.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest things that get affected due to this is drug use. While we may not think about it, sharing joints, vapes, lines, can greatly increase the chances of becoming infected with COVID-19.

COVID19

General Health Advice

It's important to keep your health in check. Whether it is sleeping well, eating well, and staying hydrated, they play a great factor in keeping you just a bit safer from the virus. Furthermore, drugs such as Amphetamine (also its derivatives) [3] and Opioids [4] can greatly reduce immune system function.

Most worrisome, benzodiazepines such as Xanax (Alprazolam) and Valium (Diazepam) "may increase the risk of contracting pneumonia by as much as 50 percent and increase the risk of dying from it" [5]. This is important because most fatalities linked with COVID-19 have been a result of pneumonia [6].

pneumonia

If you wish to partake in the use of drugs, it's recommended that you know that the substances you are using come from a trustworthy source. Avoid IV (intravenous) & intranasal drug administration as it can increase the risk of infections. [7] Additionally, and most importantly, practice social distancing, especially if doing any substance.

Another big stressor of the immune system that lowers your ability to fight off infections is MDMA. As mentioned previously, amphetamine and its derivatives can lower immune system function, and MDMA, a Methamphetamine analog, is no exception. However, unlike regular amphetamine, MDMA is significantly more potent, and as such, it has a greater impact on the immune system. This risk also applies for Methamphetamine. [8]

mdma

Additionally, avoid drinking alcohol ask it also has a detrimental effect on the immune system. Due to alcohol's irritant effects, it can affect the gut barrier, resulting in more bacteria being able to get into your system. Furthermore, alcohol's disinhibitory effects can lead to participation in activities that can increase risk of infection.

Due to drugs lowering the immune system function greatly as mentioned before, it can increase your risk of infection if you come in contact with someone who is infected. Furthermore, Covid-19 can be spread via saliva, via hard surfaces, and from hand to mouth. As such, avoid sharing drug Paraphernalia, cigarettes, joints, pipes, bongs, vapes, glasses, cups, and bottles to lower the chances of spreading the virus.

person smoking

Working out at home can also boost your immune system's ability to fight off the virus [9]. While it might not be as great as hitting the gym, it's important to stay indoors as much as possible in order to prevent risk of contact with infected individuals.

While the virus is dangerous to all age groups, those 65 years and older [10] are more in danger of death by this virus. If you live with someone else who is eldery, it's imperative that you take most of these precautions the best you can.

Make sure to continuously wash your hands with soap before handling drugs, or at the very least hand sanitizer. Use the "ABC" method in which you wash your hands as long as it takes to sing the ABC song. You can also use the method with the "Happy birthday" song, but you have to repeat the song twice. [11]

washing hands

Safe Drug Use

Insufflation

If you're planning on Insufflating, also known as "snorting", a drug, be sure to clean the surface you're planning to use with a soap drenched cloth, Clorox wipe, and alcohol wipe. This applies to pretty much every surface, even your phone screen. [12]

Use clean snorting equipment such as straws. Even so, be sure to sterilize the straws prior to snorting. Avoid using bills as they can contain many pathogens, especially pathogens which can cause pneumonia which can complicate an existing COVID-19 infection, or it can have COVID-19 itself. [13] Also, make sure to avoid sharing snorting equipment for the same reason.

Furthermore, make sure to make the powder you're snorting as fine as possible. This is because it helps avoid damage to soft tissues, thus decreasing the chances of getting a virus.

cocaine lines

Injecting

Use a new rig (syringe) and needle every time you inject. Both the needle and syringe need to be new and sterile. If you use dirty needles or share needles, you risk catching coronavirus, and various other diseases, including HIV, Hepatitis B and syphilis.

Dispose of needles safely after one use. Use a sharps container or a clearly labeled strudy (hard plastic or metal) box. Make sure to keep used needles away from other people. Some communities may have drop boxes where you can dispose of your used needles safely.

Find a local needle exchange: [in the US}(https://nasen.org/map/).

Opioids

Due to COVID-19's main dangers coming from respiratory complications, it's advised to refrain from opioid use, or at least decrease the dosage. This is because, in an event of an opioid overdose, COVID-19 can further increase the chances of lethal respiratory failure.

needles

Smoking

Avoid smoking any drugs as it can irritate the lungs further. [14] This can lead to complications with COVID-19, resulting in potential pneumonia - which is the main contributing factor of death from COVID-19.

smoking joint

Message from the Psychosafety Staff!

We know we're all going through stressing times, but as seen in the past, thing will go back to normal. While it's always best to be prepared for the worst, it's not wise to panic. Panic creates more confusion, and that's the last thing you need in order to get through life

We wish all our readers good luck! If you feel lonely and need someone to talk to during the quarantine, feel free to visit our discord!


  1. Coronavirus Update (Live): 304,493 Cases and 13,000 Deaths from COVID-19 Virus Outbreak - Worldometer ↩︎

  2. Median incubation period for COVID-19 -- ScienceDaily ↩︎

  3. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1910138](Effects of amphetamine on T-cell immune response in mice) ↩︎

  4. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8947928](Effects of opioids on the immune system) ↩︎

  5. Widely used sedatives/sleeping pills linked to increased fatal pneumonia risk: Benzodiazepines affect the immune system, study suggests -- ScienceDaily ↩︎

  6. Coronavirus: what happens to people's lungs if they get Covid-19? | World news | The Guardian ↩︎

  7. Risk practices associated with bacterial infections among injection drug users in Denver, CO ↩︎

  8. Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ‘Ecstasy’): a stressor on the immune system ↩︎

  9. Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan ↩︎

  10. Older Adults | CDC ↩︎

  11. Songs To Sing While Scrubbing Hands 20 Seconds To Remove Coronavirus Pathogens: Goats and Soda: NPR ↩︎

  12. The Dirty Cell Phone: 25,127 Bacteria ↩︎

  13. Dirty Money - Scientific American ↩︎

  14. [https://share.upmc.com/2016/04/how-smoking-affects-lungs/](How Smoking Cigarettes Affects Your Lungs) ↩︎