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COVID-19 Effects on Substance Abuse and Mental Health

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COVID-19 Effects on Substance Abuse and Mental Health

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Before COVID-19 hit the world, the addiction epidemic was already a large, growing problem in the United States. Data indicates that substance misuse has been rising on an annual basis. The pandemic caused a lot of turmoil and uncertainty. It negatively affected the mental health of many individuals. Lockdown isolation and fear of the unknown novel disease made life understandably chaotic for the majority of people worldwide.

With these unfavorable conditions, the prevalence of substance use disorder increased along with drug overdoses1.  The mental health crisis triggered by the pandemic is a problem that will continue into the future. Significant time and effort will be needed to address these important issues.

Many have turned to drugs to cope with the pandemic, and have been unable to receive treatment due to disruptions in healthcare services. People suffering from substance use disorder are likely to suffer a greater psychological burden from the pandemic, and are particularly prone to contracting COVID-192. With regular use of illicit narcotics, individuals are more likely to have lung problems, mucociliary dysfunction, compromised immunity, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. While smoking is a major health hazard on its own, it has been found to make COVID-19 worse3.

How Alcohol Abuse Plays a Role

In addition to drugs and nicotine abuse, excessive alcohol use is another significant health risk factor.  During the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, the sales of alcohol increased by 20% compared to the year prior4. Many people felt alone, isolated and scared turning to drug and alcohol abuse as a result.

Dealing with the risk of contracting COVID-19 and the effects of social isolation is difficult, and many are still navigating that environment today. With vaccination, appropriate use of masks and consistent lab and self-testing, we believe that things will improve. Increased testing will help individuals protect themselves and their communities at large.

COVID Testing is the Key to Getting Back to Normal

With significant levels of COVID-19 infections in the European Union and Asia, we expect an onincrease in U.S case-loads in the coming weeks.  There are many home or self-testing kit options to aid in determining our individual COVID-19 status, as well as the status of those around us. Both COVID testing and drugs of abuse testing are important means of addressing current important public health issues. View our selection of COVID-19 Antigen Self-Tests and Drug & Alcohol Screening tests here.

Citations:

    1. https://nida.nih.gov/drug-topics/comorbidity/covid-19-substance-use
    2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7282772/
    3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32945855/
    4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0741832921000732?via%3Dihub

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