In this post, we present research on substance use in a COVID-19 setting. The results are based on publications registered in PubMed as published from January 1st, 2020, to June 5th, 2021.

The analysis of all research including covid-19 terms, AND substance use-related terms in title or abstract in PubMed from January 1st, 2020 to June 5th, 2021, is based on 2243 articles, which gave 510 keywords that appear in 5 or more manuscripts, that divided into 5 clusters.

The red cluster could be called “risk factors.” It includes four main topics: a) comorbidity, underlying diseases, hospitalization, and treatment.  b)  age factors and how taste and smell may be affected. C) risk assessments and time factors, and d) a small cluster on pain and pain management.

The green cluster could be called “substance use disorders.” This cluster includes two main topics: a) opioid-related disorders and treatment of this with, e.g., methadone and buprenorphine. Telemedicine, prevention, and harm reduction are also central to this topic. b) Another topic is public health.

The yellow cluster could be called “smoking.” It includes one main topic: research on smoking nicotine, e-cigarettes, lungs, and inflammation.

The purple cluster could be called “mental health and health behaviors.” It includes two main topics: a) research on mental health, including anxiety and depression, stress, and psychological adaptation. b) A second cluster includes research on quarantine and lockdown, social isolation and loneliness, and different lifestyle factors and health behaviors such as exercise, sleep, alcohol use, diet.

The blue cluster could be called “alcohol and infection control.” The cluster includes four main topics: a) epidemiology and infectious diseases, outbreaks and testing, b) research on preventative measures such as the use of hand sanitizers and masks. c) A third topic is on hospitals, including both health care personnel and patients. d)  alcohol in relation to infectious disease control and public policy.

The search: title/abstracts that included any of the following:

  • COVID-19,
  • SARS-CoV-2,
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • coronavirus 2,
  • 2019 novel coronavirus
  • 2019-nCoV
  • AND any of the following:
    • alcohol,
    • tobacco,
    • smoking,
    • snus,
    • opioid,
    • opiate,
    • methadone,
    • buprenorphine,
    • cannabis,
    • amphetamine,
    • methamphetamine,
    • nicotine,
    • cocaine,
    • ecstasy,
    • MDMA,
    • hash,
    • heroin,
    • kratom,
    • hallucinogen,
    • GHB,
    • inhalants,
    • ketamine,
    • marijuana,
    • khat,
    • synthetic cathinone,
    • benzodiazepine,
    • z-hypnotic,
    • cannabinol,
    • LSD,
    • snuff,
    • pcp,
    • thc,
    • anabolic steroid,
    • narcotic,
    • depressants,
    • illicit substance,
    • illegal substance,
    • psychoactive drug.

In the table below, we have listed the 20 most central keywords in each cluster.

Red cluster Green cluster Blue cluster Yellow cluster Purple cluster
risk factor opioid-related disorders alcohol smoking adolescent
comorbidity telemedicine communicable disease control children mental health
aged, 80 and over public health health personnel electronic nicotine delivery systems alcohol use
hospitalization substance-related disorders epidemiology angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 anxiety
severity of illness index analgesics, opioid socioeconomic factors tobacco depression
age factors health services accessibility infection control lung quarantine
mortality buprenorphine disinfection inflammation prevalence
prognosis opiate substitution treatment hand sanitizers animals lockdown
sex factors opioid use disorder social media vaping alcohol use disorder
obesity smoking cessation hand hygiene ace2 stress, psychological
diabetes mellitus opioids ethanol nicotine exercise
cardiovascular diseases cannabis covid-19 testing child, preschool social isolation
hypertension substance use emergency service, hospital antiviral agents health behavior
treatment outcome delivery of health care global health infant life style
risk assessment narcotic antagonists hand disinfection peptidyl-dipeptidase a stress
incidence harm reduction health knowledge, attitudes, practice smokers diet
respiration, artificial mental disorders masks sars physical activity
hospital mortality methadone disease outbreaks tobacco smoking feeding behavior
intensive care units drug overdose health status cigarette smoking lifestyle
pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive health policy personal protective equipment cytokines sleep

To open the map directly in VOSviewer, please use the Keyword co-occurrence MAP and NET files on CovidSubstanceUse saved in June 2021, available through the Open Science Foundation (OSF) repository: