«Extensive scientific evidence has shown that abuse drugs impair the lung capacity of those who use them, causing local damage at the lung and cardiovascular levels. So, it is reasonable to assume that the commitment of lung function or respiratory diseases can put drug users at risk for abuse, exposing them to serious complications from Covid-19,» says The Doctor of Toxicology and academic at the University of Valparaiso, Fernanda Cavieres, who called for not being fooled by the increase in information in various media and social media that the abuse drugs could be effective against SARS-CoV-2 virus.
«For example, opium derivatives, such as morphine, codeine and heroin, are known to act at the brainstem level and reduce respiratory rate, causing a detrimental reduction in the level of oxygen in the blood. In turn, amphetamine derivatives, such as methamphetamine or amphetamine itself, have the effect, in addition to the stimulant, to contract blood vessels, which contributes to damage and pulmonary hypertension in those who inhale methamphetamine vapours. In addition, as is the case with all drugs in which vapours are sucked or smoked, these vapors cause irritation in the respiratory tract by damaging the epithelium,» says Dr. Cavieres.
As the academic explains, the decrease in lung capacity caused by Covid-19 could put people who users of these types of drugs at greater risk.
«Similarly, problematic cocaine use can be considered a risk factor in this pandemic, coupled with its extensive adulteration with immunosuppressive substances such as levamisol, a chemical compound that by its mechanism of action attacks the immune system. Base cocaine or base paste, contains impurities of origin and is contaminated with petroleum products used in the extraction of cocaine, which when absorbed by the user who sucks its vapours cause severe damage to the lungs,» he adds.
Cannabis: Can covid-19 prevent or cure?
Regarding cannabis, Cavieres notes that «they have published numerous notes on social media that their use could cure or prevent the disease, we should emphasize that these claims have no scientific asidero, especially when the evidence and publications point to precisely the opposite, that is, that chronic use of cannabis either in the form of cigarettes or vapers causes epithelial injury , with loss of defense mechanisms favoring the colonization of germs and thus increasing the risk of respiratory diseases. In addition, THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis, has been shown to alter the activity of alveolar macrophages, B and T lymphocytes and NK cells that are responsible for the immune response at the alveolar level.»
In addition, it argues that there is sufficient evidence to assert that chronic cannabis use is associated with respiratory disorders and in particular chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), much like what is happening with chronic use of tobacco cigarettes.
«We call on the community not to consider this news and social media posts regarding the beneficial effects of drug use on this Pandemic by Covid-19. There is no scientific evidence to support this information; on the contrary, an enormity of publications and rigorous scientific evidence emphatically points out that drug use can aggravate the picture and predispose various respiratory diseases,» he concludes.