Substance Use Disorders and COVID-19: Multi-Faceted Problems Which Require Multi-Pronged Solutions

Wossenseged Birhane Jemberie, Jennifer Stewart Williams, Malin Eriksson, Ann Sofie Grönlund, Nawi Ng, Marcus Blom Nilsson, Mojgan Padyab, Kelsey Caroline Priest, Mikael Sandlund, Fredrik Snellman, Dennis McCarty, Lena M. Lundgren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


COVID-19 shocked health and economic systems leaving millions of people without employment and safety nets. The pandemic disproportionately affects people with substance use disorders (SUDs) due to the collision between SUDs and COVID-19. Comorbidities and risk environments for SUDs are likely risk factors for COVID-19. The pandemic, in turn, diminishes resources that people with SUD need for their recovery and well-being. This article presents an interdisciplinary and international perspective on how COVID-19 and the related systemic shock impact on individuals with SUDs directly and indirectly. We highlight a need to understand SUDs as biopsychosocial disorders and use evidence-based policies to destigmatize SUDs. We recommend a suite of multi-sectorial actions and strategies to strengthen, modernize and complement addiction care systems which will become resilient and responsive to future systemic shocks similar to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number714
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
StatePublished - Jul 21 2020


  • COVID-19
  • addiction care
  • evidence-based policies and practices
  • integrated care
  • pandemic
  • risk environment
  • social capital
  • substance use disorder (SUD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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