Harm reduction advice for people who use drugs during COVID-19 pandemic
The current COVID19 pandemic raises serious concerns for people who use drugs.
As this is a new virus, we continue to learn about the impact it can have on people who use drugs. We know it is an extra risky time to use drugs and that drug use can lower a person’s immune system, making all drug using groups at greater risk of illness from the virus.
Drug market changes
- There could be changes in the market or shortages if travel restrictions are in place
- It is safer not to use drugs during this time. If people choose to, we ask that they are extra cautious. See our overdose advise here
- You can't be sure of the contents of illict drugs or non-prescribed tablets. Learn more here
- Using alternatives to what you would normally use or using new types drugs can increase your risk of overdose
There are always risks when taking drugs.Now is an extra risky time and it’s safer not to use at all. A weak immune system and drug use can make you more at risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – before and after you handle and prepare drugs
- Use alcohol wipes on surfaces where you prepare drugs
- If you are snorting drugs, crush finely as possible before use to reduce the risk of nasal damage/bleeding
- Use an unused straw, rolled up post-it or clean piece or card
- Look after yourself and look out for others
- Do not share drug using paraphernalia such as needles/syringes, spoons, tooters, crack pipes
- Do not use notes or keys if snorting drugs as they can harbour infection
- Do not pass around or share cigarettes or joints
- Avoid physical contact with others if preparing or using drugs
Harm reduction resources
1. Download HSE poster 'Drug advice.Do's and Don'ts' HERE
3. Read harm reduction information for club drug users via our article with Four Four Magazine (12/03/20)
4. Download HSE/ Department of Health Alcohol Harm Reduction poster HERE
Overdose and COVID-19
Don't be afraid to get medical help by calling 999/112 if you or a friend become unwell or feel suicidal after using drugs.Using drugs alone can be dangerous due to the risk of overdose and lack of emergency help.
Breathing concerns associated with COVID-19 can increase the risk of overdose for people who use opioids.
Information about overdose and COVID-19 can be found on our site HERE.
Information about overdose response and administering naloxone can be found on our site HERE
General harm reduction resources can be found here.