By Robert Teltzrow & Kevin Merz / Pompidou Group

With millions of deaths and hundreds of millions infected worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest health crisis of our time. All sectors of society are challenged by the pandemic and are adapting to curb the exponential increase in the number of infections. The shutdown of businesses, schools and kindergartens are severe, but necessary, measures to limit physical contacts that cause the transmission of COVID-19. At the same time, huge efforts have been made to keep essential services running, pushing institutions and health professionals to their limits.

There are many people fighting the COVID-19 pandemic with all their might, but not all of them get much public attention. Among them are the frontline workers who continue to provide much-needed health services to people who use drugs. Every day, they stand up for a group of the most vulnerable people in society: people whose drug dependence often goes hand-inhand with social and health grievances, such as HIV infection, unemployment or homelessness.

Most people who use drugs recognise the seriousness of the current situation. To minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection for themselves and/or others, they show great awareness of the risks and adhere to infection control measures in places where they use drugs or seek help.