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David Condry, Project Coordinator

Above the Influence Wellness Coalition

During the past weeks it has been reported consistently that older adults and people with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease, or heart disease, are at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19. While this virus is a risk for anyone in our community it is important to recognize another group that has an increased risk during this time.

The US National Institute on Drug Abuse has advised that COVID-19 could also seriously impact populations with substance use disorders. Because this virus attacks the lungs, it could pose a serious threat to people who smoke or vape tobacco and/or marijuana. Individuals that use these substances should consider themselves as a population with a greater risk factor and take necessary precautions to keep themselves safe and healthy.

In addition, individuals with disorders related to opioids and methamphetamine use also may be in a more vulnerable position because of these drug's effects on respiratory and pulmonary health. Researchers continue to work at understanding the full impact COVID-19 has on individuals with substance use disorders but at this time the recommendation is to acknowledgethe continual impact these substances have on overall health and the current increased risk and potential serious complications due to COVID-19.

If you are in need of assistance with a substances use disorder contact the Area Substance Abuse Council for information and to connect with resources that are available to you. Free assessments are available at asac.us or call ASAC at (319)360-4611 to speak with a counselor about steps you can take in your recovery.

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