If you’re someone who uses methamphetamine regularly, and you come into contact with COVID-19, you’re more likely to catch it and get really sick from it. The research says:
- Meth suppresses our immune systems, which means you’re more likely to get COVID-19 if you come in contact with someone who has it.
- Meth can cause inflammation in the lungs and affect lung function. Meaning that regular meth users are more likely to develop more severe symptoms if they are infected with COVID-19.
The good news is there are heaps of things you can do to make sure you don’t get very sick from COVID-19:
- If buying meth:
- Keep track of where you’ve been. By law, information in your contact tracer app or info given to contact tracers cannot be used for drug investigations or prosecutions. You don’t need to tell contact tracers why you were at a location or what you were doing.
- Wear a mask.
- Make the pick-up contactless and stay 2 metres apart.
- If you feel sick, stay home and get a COVID-19 test.
- Use clean equipment and avoid sharing equipment with others as this could spread the virus.
- Get a test regularly (especially if you've gone outside of your bubble to buy meth). If you regularly cough or have sore throats from smoking you may not notice that you have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Get vaccinated. This will make you less likely to catch COVID-19 and less likely to get seriously sick if you do catch it. It’s still safe to have the vaccine if you are using meth regularly.
- Be aware that contact tracers might not be able to get in touch with you quickly if someone you’ve come in contact with has been found to have COVID-19.
We spoke to addictions specialist Dr Vicki Macfarlane (Te Arawa) and asked her about how someone who uses meth could be impacted by COVID-19. She said:
Methamphetamine has a negative effect on immunity and is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and possibly lung disease putting them at a higher risk of experiencing complications from COVID 19. These effects and the risk of developing complications from COVID 19 is higher in heavy users of methamphetamine who are also often using other substances…
…A COVID 19 infection that requires hospitalisation can be complicated by the development of significant withdrawal symptoms that can be challenging to manage if the hospital are not familiar with how to manage MAP withdrawal.
Better known as party ‘n’ play or PNP here in New Zealand, chemsex refers to combining certain drugs with sex, and is associated pretty exclusively with men who have sex with men.
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