UNODC-WHO Informal Scientific Network Statement 2021: Recommendations on Prevention, Treatment, and Care of Substance Use Disorders in Times of COVID-19.
Individuals with substance use disorders are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and if infected are more likely to experience negative outcomes. This vulnerability reflects both the adverse effects of the non-medical use of psychoactive substances on health, as well as associated psychosocial and structural factors, including poverty and stigma. Therefore, individuals with substance use disorders should be prioritized for COVID-19 screening and vaccination. Resources necessary to prevent infection, provide correct information, and ensure treatment, should be made available to this population. Governments need to build capacities to collect timely data on substance use and substance use disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence-based treatment of substance use disorders, including mental health and physical comorbidities, should be considered essential, and integrated into existing health care services.