Substance use disorders (SUD) are associated with increased risk of worse COVID-19 outcomes. Likewise, racial/ethnic minority patients experience greater risk of severe COVID-19 disease compared to white patients. Providers should understand the role of race and ethnicity as an effect modifier on COVID-19 severity among individuals with SUD. This retrospective cohort study assessed patient race/ethnicity as an effect modifier of the risk of severe COVID-19 disease among patients with histories of SUD and overdose. We used merged electronic health record data from 116,471 adult patients with a COVID-19 encounter between March 2020 and February 2021 across five healthcare systems in New York City. Exposures were patient histories of SUD and overdose. Outcomes were risk of COVID-19 hospitalization and subsequent COVID-19-related ventilation, acute kidney failure, sepsis, and mortality. Risk factors included patient age, sex, and race/ethnicity, as well as medical comorbidities associated with COVID-19 severity. We tested for interaction between SUD and patient race/ethnicity on COVID-19 outcomes. Findings showed that Non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian/Pacific Islander patients experienced a higher prevalence of all adverse COVID-19 outcomes compared to non-Hispanic white patients. Past-year alcohol (OR 1.24 [1.01–1.53]) and opioid use disorders (OR 1.91 [1.46–2.49]), as well as overdose history (OR 4.45 [3.62–5.46]), were predictive of COVID-19 mortality, as well as other adverse COVID-19 outcomes. Among patients with SUD, significant differences in outcome risk were detected between patients of different race/ethnicity groups. Findings indicate that providers should consider multiple dimensions of vulnerability to adequately manage COVID-19 disease among populations with SUDs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health