Clin Infect Dis. 2022 Apr 27:ciac311. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciac311. Online ahead of print.
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has been associated with dramatic increases in substance use, as marked by increased alcohol, nicotine and cannabis sales. Lethal opioid overdoses also increased dramatically, especially during the initial phases of the epidemic when lockdowns and social isolation combined with increasing fentanyl contamination of the illicit drug supply resulted in more overdoses and fewer opportunities for rescue. Substance use, and especially inhalational drug use, increases the likelihood of both transmission and severe infection. Youth are especially vulnerable to substance use and have increased risk of long-term problems. These outcomes highlight the need for greater access to substance use treatment. Virtual treatment, which emerged as a promising format during the pandemic, may reduce access barriers. This manuscript reviews trends in substance use during the pandemic, explores root causes of increased use and overdose and examines the potential to increase treatment through virtual care, especially during future periods of disruption.
Source: ncbi 2