Generally, people who use alcohol and other drugs have the same risk as the rest of the population of contracting COVID-19. However, people who are physically unhealthy are likely to be have worse effects if they contract it.
Staying at home in lockdown can mean that you have more spare time, and things that prevented alcohol and other drug use impacting on other parts of your life may not be available. Others in your household may discover for the first time that you are using substances, and keeping that use out of sight of children is much more difficult. Also, the patterns that you set up during this period could be long lasting.
If you choose to use alcohol or other drugs while in lockdown, think about these things to reduce the impact it may have on yourself or others:
Think about these things to reduce the impact that your alcohol and drug use has on others in the household:
Feeling anxious or stressed about the current situation is normal. Without usual life activities that keep our lifestyles in check, such as work, you may also find yourself using more than you otherwise would. The patterns that you get into over the next few weeks could be long lasting. Stay physically and mentally healthy by avoiding using alcohol and other drugs to cope with feeling isolated, bored, or frustrated.
Consider using less or taking a break from using. Right now, we need to avoid giving extra work to our health services and police so we can stamp out COVID-19.
Think about these things to reduce the impact on yourself from alcohol and other drugs:
Emergency services will be stretched during this time. If you choose to use alcohol and other drugs, avoid needing emergency services by:
Call 111 immediately if you or anyone around you experiences any of these symptoms while using alcohol or other drugs:
Check they are breathing and place them in a stable side position. If someone has stopped breathing, start CPR. Click here for more information
Decide whether you want to use alcohol and other drugs or not. If you do choose to use, consider setting limits or boundaries.
Find other ways to deal with feeling isolated, bored, or frustrated that aren’t using alcohol or other drugs. Alcohol prevents your body from sleeping deeply. Try stopping drinking for a few days if you are struggling to sleep.
Think about these things:
These are the safer drinking guidelines from the Health Promotion Agency. How does your drinking compare to these?
Visit Living Sober to connect with other New Zealanders going through this, hear how they were able to reduce their drinking, and find support.
Talk with supportive friends, family, and the others in your house about your alcohol and other drug use. Their feedback will help you to identify early if your use is having a negative impact on yourself or others.
These actions can help:
Everyone can do their bit to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These actions can help:
If you do slip up and cause a bad situation, be gentle on yourself - it happens. Think about what you can do to get back on track, and try to avoid making the situation worse out of frustration.
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