Suggestions about treatment, care and rehabilitation of people with drug use disorder in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
Drug use disorders are frequently accompanied by somatic conditions such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and/or C, tuberculosis, lung or cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer and injuries and traumas among others. Moreover, people with drug use disorders, especially those who inject drugs, may have a compromised immune system. Finally, stigma and discrimination linked to drug use and drug
use disorders often result in limited access to basic resources such as housing, employment, health care and social support. For all these reasons, it may be more difficult for people who use drugs and with drug use disorders to protect themselves and they may be particularly at risk of developing COVID-19.
Therefore, it is important to ensure the continuity of adequate access to health and social services for people who use drugs and with drug use disorders and to provide the continuum of care required as described in the International Standards for the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders (UNODC/WHO, 2020) to the best extent possible also in times of crisis. This includes low-threshold services as well as psychosocial treatment and pharmacological treatment in a range of settings.