Covid-19 interface with drug misuse and substance use disorders

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14 Scopus citations


The coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic intensified the already catastrophic drug overdose and substance use disorder (SUD) epidemic, signaling a syndemic as social isolation, economic and mental health distress, and disrupted treatment services disproportionally impacted this vulnerable population. Along with these social and societal factors, biological factors triggered by intense stress intertwined with incumbent overactivity of the immune system and the resulting inflammatory outcomes may impact the functional status of the central nervous system (CNS). We review the literature concerning SARS-CoV2 infiltration and infection in the CNS and the prospects of synergy between stress, inflammation, and kynurenine pathway function during illness and recovery from Covid-19. Taken together, inflammation and neuroimmune signaling, a consequence of Covid-19 infection, may dysregulate critical pathways and underlie maladaptive changes in the CNS, to exacerbate the development of neuropsychiatric symptoms and in the vulnerability to develop SUD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108766
StatePublished - Oct 15 2021


  • Central nervous system
  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19)
  • Host immune responses
  • Inflammation
  • SARS-CoV2
  • Substance use disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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