COVID-19 Response for People Who Use Drugs

(Click here for a printable flyer version of the information below)

Wash your hands regularly and often with soap and water for 20 seconds!

  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your face

Do not share equipment for using drugs.

Such as bills, keys, pipes, and cookers. If you must share, wipe it down with alcohol swabs. Coronavirus is spread by infected surfaces and person-person contact. Visit your local syringe service program for supplies

Prepare your drugs yourself. 

Wash or sanitize your hands before and after using. Wipe down your surfaces. 

Reduce contact with other people. But Don’t use alone!!

Stay home if you can, especially if you have a weakened immune system.
Still, do not use alone. Visit or call (800) 484-3731.

Is there one, or a few, people you can use with just them for the next few weeks?

Prepare for drug shortages, changes in supply, prices increases.

You might lose access to your drug of choice, If you use heroin/opiates, contact your local SSP or community clinic for access to suboxone or methadone. You may want to keep a backup supply of suboxone to manage withdrawal.

You can buy medications to help with withdrawal symptoms at the pharmacy or from a clinic: Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Benadryl, Dramamine, Antivert, Imodium, lots of gatorade or pedialyte!

If you’ve been in withdrawal for a bit and then start using again, remember your tolerance may be lower, making it easier to overdose. You might not be able to handle using what you were using before; go slow and carry naloxone!

Watch out for serious infections.

Re-using supplies, flushing cottons, or using dirty water can result in bacteria, fungus or other contaminants getting into your bloodstream (sometimes called “cotton fever”). This can lead to sepsis (bloodstream infection) or endocarditis (infection of the heart lining), which are very serious infections and can be fatal if untreated. Unfortunately, symptoms of these infections can be similar to symptoms of withdrawal or COVID-19 (fever, chills, body aches, tiredness; endocarditis can also cause chest pain). If you think you might have an infection from injecting, we can refer you to a nonjudgmental medical provider!

Symptoms for COVID-19 could be similar to the flu or a cold. If experiencing symptoms that commonly occur with COVID-19, call your doctor, Fairview Healthcare, or Minnesota Department of Health (651-201-3920) hotlines for further instructions.

Information compiled from Florida Department of Health, CDC, World Health Organization Infographic by Christie Zizo/Spectrum News