COVID-19 Vaccination and Drug Abuse: What to Know

The COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccines have caused widespread contradicting thoughts and opinions. An important and often overlooked topic to highlight is: “are those who struggle with drug abuse able to receive one of the COVID vaccines?” 

In fact, many studies show that those who suffer from a substance use disorder (SUD) are at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19 infection, severe illness, and death. In this blog we will address the questions and concerns surrounding those battling a SUD and COVID-19 vaccinations.

At American Treatment Network, our goal is for each person that comes to us for treatment to achieve lifelong sobriety. We are understanding of the needs of those battling an SUD and recognize the added stress from the pandemic and how it can take a negative toll on mental health and add unprecedented challenges on the road to recovery. Increased stress can lead to increases in alcohol and substance use. If you or someone you care about is abusing alcohol or other substances or is increasing their use during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact the American Treatment Network today.

Drug Addiction During the Pandemic

As stated by the CDC, “People who use drugs and live in congregate (group) settings or who gather with others are at increased risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. People with underlying medical conditions, such as substance use disorder, chronic lung disease, chronic liver disease, or serious heart conditions, are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. People with a substance use disorder are at increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.” Because SUDs are considered an underlying medical condition, those battling a substance abuse disorder were some of the first to have access to the vaccination. 

Understanding the Impact of Drug Use on the Body:

The Gateway Foundation outlines the side effects of drug addiction as follows:

  • A weakened immune system, increasing the risk of illness and infection
  • Heart conditions ranging from abnormal heart rates to heart attacks and collapsed veins and blood vessel infections from injected drugs
  • Nausea and abdominal pain, which can also lead to changes in appetite and weight loss
  • Increased strain on the liver, which puts the person at risk of significant liver damage or liver failure
  • Seizures, stroke, mental confusion and brain damage
  • Lung disease
  • Problems with memory, attention and decision-making, which make daily living more difficult
  • Global effects of drugs on the body, such as breast development in men and increases in body temperature, which can lead to other health problems

Thus, when the health issues that come along with drug addiction are combined with complications brought on by COVID-19, the results can be deadly. Although the vaccination continues to become more widespread, COVID-19 is still a threat. Please consult a licensed physician when making decisions regarding SUD treatment, medication, and vaccinations. 

The American Treatment Network Difference

Here at American Treatment Network, we stand ready to minimize the pain of addiction by restoring emotional and physical health, spirituality, hope and renewed relationships. In February, American Treatment Center became a COVID vaccine distribution center for Haverford Township and Delaware County residents, offering 100 Moderna vaccines to township personnel and community transit drivers. We continue to recognize the needs and concerns surrounding the pandemic. Contact us today and get started on achieving your lifelong sobriety! 


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