Coronavirus en alcohol, tabak en ander drugsgebruik

 

Coronavirus and alcohol, tobacco and other drug use

We will update this page regularly. Visit Unity.nl to stay up to date!

We can’t ignore it. The coronavirus has reached the Netherlands and has a major impact on our country.

Restaurants and bars are closed and parties are cancelled – sadly, but also completely understandable and necessary. In this period, we can’t be together physically, but we will, in collaboration with artists, organizers, clubs, concert venues and each other, try our very best to enjoy each other, and music, online.

We are all part of the same community and this is the moment to show its value and where we stand for.

We will be looking for alternative ways to stay in touch, to escape from the daily reality, and to relax. We would like to ask you to not take any unnecessary risks. This is not the time to go out of your mind and exhaust yourself, so let’s help and inspire each other to stay as alert, healthy and positive as possible.

Taking care of your body, in particular your immune system, is more important than ever. The use of drugs in these times brings about different risks than they usually do. How does that work, and what are those risks, and what does that mean for you?

We will keep on updating this page and could use your input in this. Visit Unity.nl to stay up-to-date.

What are the risks of using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs at this moment?

  • The use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs has an impact on your immune system. This could make you more vulnerable for negative effects of the coronavirus.
  • You could get infected through bags, your dealer or people you use drugs with.
  • Together, we have to try to reduce the pressure on the healthcare system. We can contribute to this by minimizing the unnecessary risks we take. Postponing drug use is one way to do this.
  • More detailed information regarding the risk of specific substances will follow.

Why is the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs bad for your immune system?
The use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs has an effect on your eat- and sleep patterns. Eating and sleeping well are important for your immune system. Some drugs reduce your appetite. As a result, you will eat much less than your body actually needs. Besides, all substances severely reduce the quality of your sleep after use. Read more about the effect of drug use on sleep here. Drugs can also affect your immune system directly. You can find out how that works here.

Why is it good to quit smoking now and what is your advice on that?
Find the answer to this question the article Samen de laatste sigaret uitdrukken.

What can I do to minimize risks in case I still want to use alcohol, tobacco and other drugs?

  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink, and, preferably, don’t use any other drugs for the time being. If things go wrong, it’s an additional burden on the health care system.
  • In case you do want to take drugs, take a lower dose than you would usually take. Do not combine it with alcohol, other drugs or medications. This will reduce your risk for needing medical care.
  • Only use drugs you are familiar with, for example, something you still have at home and have used before (and was tested at a drug testing service).
  • Postpone the use of a new substance. The effects can be unpredictable for you. In case you plan to use a new substance anyway, make sure you are not alone (but don’t meet up with other people unnecessarily which increases your risk of catching the virus).
  • Keep your distance from other people in the line for the coffeeshop (in the Netherlands). You could also go at less busy times, for example in the morning.
  • Sleep, eat healthy food (nuts, seeds, vitamins), stay active (sports) and stick to your normal rhythm for an optimal immune system.
  • If you use drugs with other people, don’t share. Try to use your own splif, cigarette, pipe, snorting tube or needle.
  • Do not use money as a snorting tool, but take a new piece of paper every time, for example post-it notes.
  • Do not go to crowded places to use, avoid (house)parties for example. Make sure you’re not alone, but don’t go for big groups either. The risk of getting infected is larger in these circumstances.
  • Alcohol and other drugs affect your judgement, take this into account. Practice safe sex.
  • Read our drugs ABC for specific tips.
  • Information on the risks of specific substances will follow soon.

I am looking for help for myself or for someone I know. Where can I go?

I used alcohol or other drugs and I am worried about my health. What can I do?

  • Contact your GP (general practitioner) and honestly tell what you have used. The GP has a doctor-patient confidentiality and will not share your drug use with others.
  • Are you seriously worried or is your GP unreachable? Do not hesitate, call the emergency number 112. They can think along, estimate how serious your situation is and even in these times, the emergency room is ready for everyone who needs help.

I have used drugs and have complaints ever since. I am worried about it. What can I do?

  • Contact your GP (general practitioner) and honestly tell what you have used. The GP has a doctor-patient confidentiality and will not share your drug use with others.
  • You can also contact the Landelijk Medisch Spreekuur Partydrugs (Nationwide Medical Consultation Partydrugs, link in Dutch), reachable every weekday via the number 088-358 29 40. The doctors that work here are specialized in partydrugs.

I am considering to (temporarily) reduce my usage or stop my usage. I could use some advice or help with that. Where can I go in these times?

When you use on a daily basis and you decide to stop completely, always contact your GP or contact a professional using the undermentioned options. You can find out together what kind of help is provided in your region.

Do you want advice by phone?

  • Jellinek Advice Phone: 088 505 1220 (weekdays 9-17u)
  • Drugs Infolijn: 0900 1995 (weekdays 9-17u) · Or call the local addiction healthcare in your region Do you want advice through the chat? Click here.

Do you want to send an e-mail?

Do you want advice in one consultation?

Some addiction healthcare organisations have a Prevention department that offer free advice consultations. In some cases it may even be possible to have a couple of conversations about your situation. Together with the Preventionworker you can find out what works best for you in order to reduce or stop your usage. Contact your local addiction healthcare for the possibilities.

Do you want to start a treatment?

Most treatments are given, even now, but it may be that it happens online. However, it is possible the waiting time has increased. Call your local addiction healthcare to put yourself on the waiting list, contact your GP and discuss what you can do in the meantime.

I am worried about the use of someone I know. What can I do?

There are several online courses or meetings you can join. Contact the organisation for addiction healthcare in your region for the possibilities.

What is the effect of alcohol and other drugs on anxiety and what are the Unity-tips in these circumstances?
Read more about this in the article Drugs and anxiety.

Is it smart to use psychedelics during quarantine?
Read more about this in the article Thuis blijven trippen, een goed idee?.

Can I still get my drugs tested?
All drugs testing services in the Netherlands will be closed up until April 23. You can find more information on drugs-test.nl or on the website of your local drugs testservice, for example Jellinek.nl/testen.

I think my drugs might be contaminated, what can I do?
In very exceptional cases, drugs can still be tested. For example, after a serious incident or if there is suspicion of contamination with a life-threatening substance. For more information, visit drugs-test.nl or the website of your local drugs test service.

Can I still call for the result of my drugs test?
The phone lines for requesting results of most locations are still open. Visit drugs-test.nl or the website of your local drugs test service.

What is the current help offering for gay and bisexual males?
Read about his on this page.

Where can I find the Unity Quarantine Playlist?
You can find it via this link on Spotify.

Where can I find the Unity coloring page?
Unity’s Evelien made a fantastic coloring page, which you can find here!

Where can I find reliable information on the coronavirus regarding the Netherlands?
– If you’re a professional, you can contact your local health departement (GGD in the Netherlands).
RIVM voor professionals: offers information on deployment of healthcare workers in hospitals and employees in risk locations (including company doctors).
Landelijke Coördinatie Infectieziektebestrijding (LCI): how to act in case of a (suspected) COVID-19 case.
RIVM: Up-to-date information and advice regarding COVID-19
Rijksoverheid: a broad overview of frequently asked questions for employers and employees, information regarding reporting obligation for medical doctors and advice for travelers.
Nederland wereldwijd: direct advice for travelers. This is a shared website of all Dutch representation worldwide, such as ambassies, consulates and trade offices.
NHG dossier COVID-19: Information and advice on how physicians work in case of suspicion of the virus.
Thuisarts.nl: General website for information on health and disease.

How do I know if something is fake news?
Fake news has been a problem for a while and can contribute to anxiety. Fake news messages, which can lead to unsettlement or motivate people to do the wrong thing, are frequently shared in Whatsapp groups. We have collected a few articles on this topic:

– Unity veteran, and by now longtime expert in risk communication, Tom Compaijen wrote an article on Fake news about Coronavirus in Whatsapp groups.
– Why do people generate fake news? How do you recognize fake news? What is your role in the spread of fake news? Good information and tips can be found on the website of Media-wijsheid.
– By now, we know fake news exist. But why do we read fake news messages? And do we always recognize it? And how come we believe it (partially)? Professor Ike Picone explains how to guard yourself against fake news.

My question was not in this list. Where can I ask my question?
– Mail: info@Unity.nl
– Jellinek Advice Phone: 088 – 505 1220 (Daily 09.00 until 17.00)
– Jellinek Q&A
– Chat alcohol & drugs: daily from 13.00-17.00u direct contact with an employee
Drugs Infolijn
Drugsinfoteam
Wij zijn Mind: for questions regarding stress and other psychological issues

I would like to receive help with using less or quitting, where can I go?
Most clinics have paused their treatments for now. Online self-help is available, for example at Jellinek.

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