While I am writing these lines, thousands of new COVID 19 cases have been registered worldwide. Today, the total amount of infected people has reached almost 9 million. The biggest wave of the pandemic hit the USA, Brazil, Russia, India and Great Britain. Out of 195 countries, officially recognized by United Nations, only 24 hasn’t not been effected.
Quarantine measures have effected almost 80% of the world economy leading to shattered wellbeing of people worldwide.
While I am writing these lines, the world society has forgotten about other dreadful pandemic, with which our humanity learnt to co-exist.
According to the UN’s 2019 report, merely 300 million people between 15 and 56 years of age heavily depend on psychoactive substances: alcohol, opioids, psychedelics, stimulants, medical drugs and other psychoactive substances.
While I am writing these lines, I remind to myself that average human life span who depends on psychoactive substances is maximum 3 to 5 years. Comparing to seasonal flue the death rate caused by COVID 19 is not higher than 2%. In other words, almost 98% of patients infected with COVID 19, will eventually get well, whereas every second addicted patient is risking to die without getting professional help on time.
While I am writing these lines, I clearly visualize the harshness of the circumstances people got into worldwide.
Having treated more than 18,000 patients for the past 30 years, I can feel exactly what the dependent person is feeling and imagine the threats and challenges that the pandemic created for their health and life.
• The first serious challenge is COVID-19 itself, against which weakened immunity is struggling to fight. This automatically puts addicted people at risk, in 2% of those who may not survive the pandemic.
• The second challenge is quarantine and a self-isolation regime, which makes it difficult to obtain a clean syringe on time, as well as the acquisition of the next dose, which means it increases the risk of re-using the syringe, getting HIV/AIDS. In addition, restrictions at the state level lead to interruption of drug trafficking, increased risks to the drug trade and, as a result, an increase in the cost of drugs.
• The third challenge is psychological: the “spring exacerbation” coincided with the onset of a pandemic, therefore, due to panic in the media, stress and phobias, psychological state and well-being of people worsened, depression and panic attacks appeared. This condition gives rise to suicidal tendencies and can be destructive to the person.
All this together leads either to excessive consumption of psycho active substances, or to a rapid stop of drugs intake due to lack of funds. In the first case, an overdose and subsequent complications are possible, in the second - no less serious consequences from "breaking", withdrawal symptoms may occur.
I talk to my potential patients on daily bases and I know that many of them consider COVID-19 pandemic as their chance to “break free” from drug addiction.
As a treating doctor, I can’t give general recommendations to the patients without performing personal examination and a number of tests. However, my duty is to warn my patients not to undergo a violent “dry withdrawal” without a professional observation or help. In some cases, it may have an overdose effect and it must be approached with extreme care.
That is why I am writing these lines - on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking, in order to support everyone who has faced the misfortune of their lives with drug addiction, and today does not know what to do and how to do it right. I want to tell you - you are not alone, there is help, it is nearby.
Overwhelmed by the hysteria over COVID-19, which states are skillfully inflating to strengthen control over the population, the world has forgotten about the real pandemic that threatens the very human species - drug addiction. Moreover, addicted people were left without proper medical support and treatment. Millions of seriously ill patients are left on their own which is a very sad and dangerous situation with irreparable consequences.
Therefore, I am writing these lines to you! Do not be afraid to ask for help! During these difficult times, try to take control of your strength, trust your family and friends and, if you feel that you need a professional help from psychologists and experts in narcology- ask for it! Take care of yourself for those who love you and who value you. The world needs you!
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot in your life and in the lives of 7.7 billion people across the globe. It is time for a big change. And each of us is able to start this change with ourselves.
Everything is in your hands!
the World League
“Mind Free Off Drugs”
Professor J.B. Nazaraliev