Climate Change and Opioid Addiction | AIR CARES

Woman in heat wave on a bench

High ambient temperature is considered a significant risk factor for human health, especially as the changing climate is projected to have more frequent and intense extreme heat events. People who use drugs may be particularly vulnerable to ambient heat change due to drug-related effects on their ability to regulate body temperature and risk environments.

A recent article co-authored by CARES Director, Amanda Latimore, highlights how people who use stimulants and opioids may be sensitive to short-term higher ambient temperature. Findings showed strong links between increases in daily temperature and emergency department visits for drug overdoses. This work suggests that mitigating heat exposure can be considered in harm reduction strategies in response to the substance use epidemic and global climate change. CARES is also involved in developing projects that center the lived experiences of people who use drugs, and how the ambient and built environment impact drug use behaviors and health outcomes.

Image of Amanda Latimore
Director, Center for Addiction Research and Effective Solutions (AIR CARES)