Teen Substance Use Increase Risk for COVID-19

Be Too Smart to Start & Smart Enough to Quit

In the midst of this pandemic and beyond, we want you to be healthy and prevent any risk of getting COVID-19.  It is more important than ever for youth and young adults to STOP and/or reduce drinking alcohol, smoking (cigarettes, e-cigarettes, marijuana & vaping), and taking prescription drugs and using opioids.

SMOKING & VAPING INCREASES YOUR RISK FOR SEVERE COVID-19

Smoking marijuana or vaping, even occasionally, causes lung inflammation and damage, weakens your immune system, and increases your risks of becoming infected with the coronavirus. If you get COVID-19, which is a respiratory virus that causes significant inflammation of the lungs, your risk for severe complications and death from COVID-19 is increased as a smoker.

“What happens to your airways when you smoke marijuana (aka weed or gas) is that it causes some degree of inflammation, very similar to bronchitis, very similar to the type of inflammation that cigarette smoking can cause. Now you have some airway inflammation and you get an infection on top of it. So, yes, your chance of getting more complications is there. ” – Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association

 

Vaping affects your lungs at every level. It affects the immune function in your nasal cavity by affecting cilia which push foreign things out…the ability of your upper airways to clear viruses is compromised,” – Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Research Control & Education at University of California, San Francisco,

READY TO QUIT:  

  • This is Quitting, an anonymous text message program designed to help teens and young adults quit vaping. It offers tips, encouragement, and a sense of community, including information about building skills to help manage stress and reduce anxiety related to quitting. You can access this program by texting DitchJUUL” to 88-709 

 

  • Maryland Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW, is a FREE evidence-based telephone counseling program available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Quitline provides services in English and Spanish and other languages by highly trained Quit Coaches® to Marylanders 13 years and older.  Call: 1-800-QUIT- NOW   1-800-784-8669

UNDERAGE DRINKING INCREASES YOUR RISK FOR SEVERE COVID-19

In general, alcohol is known to be harmful to the health of all people as it can impair your decision-making and can increase the risk for injury, violence, and alcohol poisoning. For youth and teens, there a several dangerous consequences of underage drinking.

 

MYTH: Consuming high-strength alcohol can kill the COVID-19 virus. 

FACT: Drinking Alcohol DOES NOT protect you against COVID-19, and consuming any alcohol increases your risk for health problems.

DRUG USE INCREASES YOUR RISK FOR SEVERE COVID-19

Drug use of any kind wreaks havoc on your body and your brain in many ways. In relation to COVID-19, people who abuse drugs are at risk for serious complications as drugs negatively impact your lungs and the arteries in which blood flows to your lungs.

Opioids slow down the breathing. If you already have a respiratory disease like asthma or COPD, you have increased risk to die sooner than if you were not taking opioids. Even if you do not currently have a respiratory disease, if you are taking opioids and get COVID-19, your lung capacity will be further diminished from the virus. This may result in severe COVID-19 complications and possibly death. 

Methamphetamines cause significant pulmonary damage to the arteries that carry blood to your lungs, as the components of methamphetamines bind heavily to pulmonary tissue. With a positive COVID-19 infection, the risk of negative outcomes is multiplied. 

TEEN SHARES COVID-19 STRUGGLE & SURVIVAL STORY

Karla’s fight with COVID-19 was not connected to substance abuse; however, the story of what she had to endure,  as a 16 year old teenager, to survive COVID-19 hits home the reality that young people can get the virus. Once in your body, the coronavirus is very aggressive, so the healthier your immune system, the better chance you have to survive it.