ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The St. Louis County Department of Public Health is warning the public about the particular danger that COVID-19 poses to tobacco, marijuana, vape and drug users.
“People who use opioids or methamphetamine may also be vulnerable due to those drugs’ effects on respiratory and pulmonary health. This risk is compounded by the fact that people who use drugs often face complex challenges like lack of health care, homelessness, incarceration, or comorbid mental health issues,” the Department of Public Health said in a release.
The Department of Public Health also advised those who are currently taking drugs, to take extra precautions to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19, such as:
- Be aware that you may not be able to access drugs or supplies if you get sick or there’s a shortage.
- Keep yourself and others safe. Stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Plan ahead for how you will cope with withdrawal. Stock up on over-the-counter medications like
- ibuprofen and Pepto-Bismol that can help with withdrawal symptoms.
- If you take methadone, buprenorphine, or any other prescription medications, make a plan with your doctor so you don’t run out.
- Make sure you have plenty of clean needles, fentanyl test strips, naloxone, etc. so that you can use safely.
For those who need help with substance abuse and addiction, you can visit the sites below:
- Missouri Opioid State Targeted Response, NoMODeaths: https://www.nomodeaths.org/
- National Institute of Mental Health: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/director/messages/2020/ coping-with-coronavirus-managing-stress-fear-and-anxiety.shtml
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Virtual Recovery Resources for Substance Use and Mental Illness. Includes links to online meetings and recovery support resources offered by various mutual help groups and other organizations, as well as information on setting up a virtual meeting. https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/virtual-recovery-resources.pdf
- Addiction Policy Forum and CHESS Health: Connections App: Free research-based smartphone app to help people with recovery from substance use. https://www.addictionpolicy.org/connections-app
- Center on Addiction: Resources for Parents, Families, and Caregivers: Provides mobile (phone- and text-based) education and support for family members struggling with a loved one’s addiction as well as links to other virtual resources. https://www.addictionpolicy.org/connections-app
- Unity Recovery, WeConnect, SOS Recovery, and Alano Club: Offering online recovery support group meetings five times daily, a daily family and loved one recovery support meeting, and weekly LGBTQ+ and Women’s Only recovery meetings. http://unityrecovery.org/digital-recovery-meetings