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People who use drugs, especially people who smoke or inject drugs, face additional risks and vulnerabilities to COVID-19 infection compared to the general population.
Smoking or inhaling particularly increases COVID-related risks, as it is associated with pulmonary and respiratory problems. People with a long history of opioid or stimulant use are more likely to have a compromised immune system, and people who inject drugs can have underlying medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to certain infectious diseases. Therefore, maintaining services for this population is even more vital during a public health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
This chapter of the Global State of Harm Reduction 2020 examines how COVID-19 disrupted harm reduction services and catalysed changes.