COVID-19: Increased Risk for People with OUD
People who use opioids at high doses medically or have OUD may be at increased risk because COVID-19 attacks the lungs.
For People with OUD
People who use opioids at high doses medically or who have OUD face additional challenges to their respiratory and pulmonary health. Since opioids slow breathing, it can cause a harmful decrease in oxygen in the blood which damages the brain. Reduced lung capacity from COVID-19 could be especially dangerous for people with OUD.
The CDC continues to monitor COVID-19 and its variants. Some people are more likely than others to become severely ill including older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective—protecting you from getting the virus, spreading the virus, and getting sick if you do. CDC recommends everyone ages 18 and older get a booster shot.
If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, talk with your healthcare provider or call the Resource Hotline at 1-800-920-4343 to connect with treatment and support services.
Decades of research show that people with compromised health due to smoking or vaping and people with opioid, methamphetamine, cannabis, and other substance use disorders could find themselves at increased risk of COVID-19 and its more serious complications—for multiple physiological and social/environmental reasons.
The healthcare community should be aware of associations between COVID-19 case severity/mortality and substance use, smoking or vaping history, and smoking- or vaping-related lung disease.