In a new study, researchers found that people who are addicted to drugs or other substances are more likely to get COVID-19.
These people also have a higher risk of being hospitalized or die from the disease.
The research was conducted by a team at the National Institutes of Health.
In the study, the team found people with a substance use disorder made up 10.3% of those studied in the NIH-funded project but accounted for 15.6% of the COVID-19 cases.
In addition, those with a recent opioid use disorder diagnosis were most likely to develop COVID-19, followed by people with tobacco use disorder.
In terms of complications, the hospitalization rate for people with substance use disorder was 41%, compared to about 30% for those without it.
The death rate was 9.6% for people with substance abuse disorder and 6.6% for those without.
The team says the lungs and heart system are often compromised in people with substance use disorder.
This may help explain their heightened susceptibility to COVID-19.
Another contributing factor is the marginalization of people with addiction, which makes it harder for them to access health care services.
The team also found that high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and renal disease—all risk factors for COVID-19—were more prevalent among African Americans than white people with opioid addiction.
One researcher of the study is Dr. Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
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