Study Reports Opioid Users At High Risk for Coronavirus

Study Reports Opioid Users At High Risk for Coronavirus

Molecular Psychiatry’s September report says slow breathing rates in opioid users leave them vulnerable to COVID-19.

A study published in Molecular Psychiatry in September found that people who suffer from substance use disorders are more likely to contract COVID-19 and die from it, according to ABC News.

The study names opioid users as a group that is specifically at risk of becoming infected by the virus because opioids slow down breathing rates, while coronavirus affects a person’s ability to breath correctly.

“Drugs inhibit the ability to fight viral and bacterial infections, disrupting immune function,” said Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Opioids inhibit the respiratory centers in the brain. The combination of the two leads to the increased risk of COVID and its complications.”

The CDC reports that 70,000 people died from opioid overdose in 2019, and that number is expected to grow this year.

About the Author

Nikki Johnson-Bolden is an Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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