What specific risks are people who use drugs (PWUD) likely to face during the COVID-19 pandemic? What services will they need? How will professionals working with this group adapt on the frontline? These are among the questions raised, and answered, in a new EMCDDA briefing.
COVID-19 is a major global health threat. People who use drugs face the same risks as those of the general population and therefore need to be aware of the appropriate advice to reduce their risk of infection. They can be exposed to additional risks, however, that require developing assessment and mitigation strategies. These are linked to some of the behaviours associated with drug use and to the settings in which drug use take place, or where care is provided. Risks are increased by the high level of physical and psychological comorbidity found among some people who use drugs, the fact that drug problems are often more common in marginalised communities, and the stigmatisation that people who use drugs often experience.