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1.
Glob Health Sci Pract ; 10(2)2022 04 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1897171

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and resulting lockdowns have disrupted health care service delivery globally. This includes disruptions in harm reduction and HIV service delivery for people who inject drugs (PWID), a population at high risk for not only COVID-19 but also poor HIV and drug-treatment access. However, little is known about these issues in Kazakhstan. We examined harm reduction provider experiences with delivering services and regulatory changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: We conducted in-depth interviews with 24 nurses, social workers, and doctors serving both HIV-positive and HIV-negative PWID at 13 needle and syringe programs (NSPs) and 4 AIDS Centers (HIV treatments centers) in Kazakhstan from May to August 2020. Participants were asked how the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted their PWID clients' risks, their organizational environment, and the services offered to PWID over the prior 3-6 months. Thematic content analysis was used to elicit findings. FINDINGS: The COVID-19 pandemic considerably impacted NSP and AIDS Center operations. Participants perceived high risks of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection for themselves and their clients, as well as pandemic-related increases in substance use and HIV risks for clients. Organizations instituted several policy and regulatory changes to adapt to the pandemic, most notably tasking NSPs with delivering HIV medications; these changes necessitated new roles and responsibilities for many providers. Despite this stressful changing environment and increased service demands, participants still shared examples of persistence and resilience as they worked to meet client needs during these challenging times. DISCUSSION: NSPs in Kazakhstan are well-positioned to reach key populations with crucial information and flexible services during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they need recognition as essential organizations and additional equipment and staff support to protect staff and clients, maintain pandemic-related regulatory changes, and address additional challenges such as overdose prevention among clients.


Subject(s)
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome , COVID-19 , Drug Users , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Continuity of Patient Care , Humans , Kazakhstan/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pharmaceutical Preparations , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/complications , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/therapy
2.
J Behav Health Serv Res ; 49(3): 262-281, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1872666

ABSTRACT

This study aims to describe which substance use service (SUS) organizations and who within these organizations support the maintenance of policies targeted at improving substance use treatment services. An online survey assessing respondent, organizational and program demographics, and knowledge and support regarding policy changes was distributed to all certified SUS and harm reduction programs in NYS. Bivariate and latent class analyses were used to identify patterns and associations to policy choices. Across the 227 respondents, there was a support for maintaining expansion of insurance coverage, virtual behavioral health/counseling and medication initiation/maintenance visits, reductions in prior authorizations, and access to prevention/harm reduction services. Three classes of support for policies were derived: (1) high-supporters (n = 49; 21%), (2) low-supporters (n = 66; 29%), and (3) selective-supporters. Having knowledge of policy changes was associated with membership in the high-supporters class. Implications regarding the role of knowledge in behavioral health policies dissemination structures, decision-making, and long-term expansion of SUS are discussed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Substance-Related Disorders , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Policy , Humans , Insurance Coverage , New York , Substance-Related Disorders/therapy
4.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 228: 108977, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1372960

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Although national syndromic surveillance data reported declines in emergency department (ED) visits after the declaration of the national stay-at-home order for COVID-19, little is known whether these declines were observed for suspected opioid overdose. METHODS: This interrupted time series study used syndromic surveillance data from four states participating in the HEALing Communities Study: Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio. All ED encounters for suspected opioid overdose (n = 48,301) occurring during the first 31 weeks of 2020 were included. We examined the impact of the national public health emergency for COVID-19 (declared on March 14, 2020) on trends in ED encounters for suspected opioid overdose. RESULTS: Three of four states (Massachusetts, New York and Ohio) experienced a statistically significant immediate decline in the rate of ED encounters for suspected opioid overdose (per 100,000) after the nationwide public health emergency declaration (MA: -0.99; 95 % CI: -1.75, -0.24; NY: -0.10; 95 % CI, -0.20, 0.0; OH: -0.33, 95 % CI: -0.58, -0.07). After this date, Ohio and Kentucky experienced a sustained rate of increase for a 13-week period. New York experienced a decrease in the rate of ED encounters for a 10-week period, after which the rate began to increase. In Massachusetts after a significant immediate decline in the rate of ED encounters, there was no significant difference in the rate of change for a 6-week period, followed by an immediate increase in the ED rate to higher than pre-COVID levels. CONCLUSIONS: The heterogeneity in the trends in ED encounters between the four sites show that the national stay-at-home order had a differential impact on opioid overdose ED presentation in each state.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Opiate Overdose , Analgesics, Opioid , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Emergency Service, Hospital , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
5.
J Subst Abuse Treat ; 133: 108550, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1284257

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, regulations for substance use services changed to accommodate stay-at-home orders and physical distancing guidelines. METHODS: Using in-depth interviews (N = 14) and framework analysis, we describe how policymakers developed, adopted, and implemented regulations governing services for substance use disorders during COVID-19, and how policymakers' perceived the impacts of these regulations in New York State. RESULTS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers shifted to more inclusive approaches of knowledge generation and co-production of recommendations. Barriers to adoption and implementation of new regulations included medication/services supply, lack of integration, stigma, and overcriminalization. CONCLUSION: Findings from this study highlight the potential feasibility and benefits of co-produced policies for substance use services and the need for consistent service supply, better integration with health care services, reduced stigma, improved funding structures, best practice guidelines, criminal justice reform, and harm reduction support. These considerations should inform future policy maintenance and modifications to substance use services related to COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Substance-Related Disorders , Humans , Pandemics , Policy , Policy Making , SARS-CoV-2
6.
J Addict Med ; 16(2): e123-e132, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1276244

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: This paper uses a social media platform, Reddit, to identify real-time experiences of people who use drugs during the COVID-19 lock-down. METHODS: Reddit is a popular and growing social media platform, providing a large, publicly available dataset necessary for high performance of machine learning and topic modeling techniques. We used opioid-related "subreddits," communities where Reddit users engage in conversations about drug use, to examine COVID-19-related content of posts and comments from March to May 2020. This paper investigates the latent topics of users' posts/comments using Latent Dirichlet Allocation, an unsupervised machine learning approach that uncovers the thematic structure of a document collection. We also examine how topics changed over time. RESULTS: The final dataset consists of 525 posts and 9284 comments, for a total of 9809 posts/comments (3756 posts/comments in r/opiates, 1641 in r/OpiatesRecovery, 1203 in r/suboxone, and 3209 in r/Methadone) among 2342 unique individuals. There were 5256 posts/comments in March; 3185 in April; and 1368 in May (until May 22). Topics that appeared most frequently in COVID-19-related discussions included medication for opioid use disorder experiences and access issues (22.6%), recovery (24.2%), and drug withdrawal (20.2%). CONCLUSIONS: During the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic, people who use drugs were impacted in several ways, including forced or intentional withdrawal, confusion between withdrawal and COVID-19 symptoms, take-home medication for opioid use disorder issues, and barriers to recovery. As the pandemic progresses, providers and policymakers should consider these experiences among people who use drugs during the early stage of the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Media , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Pandemics , Physical Distancing , SARS-CoV-2
8.
J Subst Abuse Treat ; 122: 108196, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-922082

ABSTRACT

The temporary loosening of regulations governing methadone and buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) in the U.S., instituted to prevent the spread of COVID-19, has created an opportunity to explore the effectiveness of new models of care for people with OUD. The opioid cascade describes the current status of the treatment system, where only a fraction of people with OUD initiate effective medication treatment for OUD (MOUD), and of those only a fraction is retained in treatment. Regulatory changes-such as availability of larger take-home supplies of methadone and buprenorphine initiated via telemedicine (e.g., no initial in person visit; telemedicine buprenorphine permitted across state lines)-could modify the cascade, by reducing the burden and increasing the attractiveness, availability, and feasibility of MOUD both for people with OUD and for providers. We review examples of more liberal MOUD regimens, including the implementation of buprenorphine in France in the 1990s, primary care-based methadone in Canada, and low-threshold buprenorphine models. Research is needed to document whether new models implemented in the U.S. in the wake of COVID-19 are successful, and whether safety concerns, such as diversion and misuse, emerge. We discuss barriers to implementation, including racial and ethnic health disparities, and lack of knowledge and reluctance among potential providers of MOUD. We suggest that the urgency and public spiritedness of the response to COVID-19 be harnessed to make gains on the opioid cascade, inspiring prescribers, health systems, and communities to embrace the delivery of MOUD to meet the needs of an increasingly vulnerable population.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Pandemics , African Americans , Buprenorphine/therapeutic use , Health Services Accessibility , Healthcare Disparities , Humans , Legislation, Drug , Methadone/therapeutic use , Narcotic Antagonists/therapeutic use , Opiate Substitution Treatment , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Telemedicine , United States/epidemiology
9.
AIDS Behav ; 25(2): 354-359, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-670571

ABSTRACT

People living with HIV (PLWH) and substance use disorder (SUD) are particularly vulnerable to harmful health consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The health and social consequences of the pandemic may exacerbate substance misuse and poor management of HIV among this population. This study compares substance use and HIV care before and during the pandemic using data collected weekly through an opioid relapse prevention and HIV management mobile-health intervention. We found that during the pandemic, PLWH and SUD have increased illicit substance use and contact with other substance-using individuals and decreased their confidence to stay sober and attend recovery meetings. The proportion of people missing their HIV medications also increased, and confidence to attend HIV follow-up appointments decreased. Optimal support for PLWH and SUD is critical during pandemics like COVID-19, as drug-related and HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) non-adherence risks such as overdose, unsafe sexual behaviors, and transmission of infectious diseases may unfold.


RESUMEN: Personas con VIH y con trastornos por abuso de sustancias son más vulnerable a las consecuencias de la pandemia: COVID-19. Dentro estas poblaciones, las consecuencias sociales y de la salud, causadas por la pandemia, pueden exacerbar el mal uso de las sustancias, y la adherencia a los antiretrovirales. Este estudio compara el abuso de sustancias y el cuidado del VIH, antes y durante la pandemia, usando datos colectados semanal de otro programa que también investigo la prevención entre personas que han recaído con el uso de opioides y que tienen VIH. Nuestro análisis encuentra, que durante la pandemia, incrementaron el uso de sustancias ilícitas, y contacto con otras personas que usan sustancias, y perdieron la capacidad de mantenerse sobrios, y tambien dejaron de asistir reuniones de recuperación/apoyo. También, el porcentaje de personas con VIH no siguiendo con sus planes de tratamiento de VIH, incrementó; perdieron su motivacion en mantener sus citas médicos. Es muy crítico, durante una pandemia como COVID-19, tener recursos para personas que pertenecen a estas poblaciones, si no, casos de sobredosis, sexo sin protección y la transmisión de enfermedades infecciosas van a prevaler.


Subject(s)
Anti-HIV Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/psychology , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/psychology , Health Services Accessibility/statistics & numerical data , Substance-Related Disorders/complications , Substance-Related Disorders/psychology , Telemedicine , Adult , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance-Related Disorders/epidemiology
10.
Psychol Trauma ; 12(S1): S111-S112, 2020 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-607254

ABSTRACT

The United States is facing both the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and an ongoing epidemic of opioid overdose. Opioid use disorder is associated with other mental health problems, trauma, and social and health disparities. While the United States has acted to improve access to treatment for mental health and opioid use, research will be needed to understand the effectiveness of new policies in the context of COVID-19. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/psychology , Drug Overdose/psychology , Opioid Epidemic , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Opioid-Related Disorders/psychology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/psychology , Social Isolation , Adult , COVID-19 , Humans , Opiate Substitution Treatment , United States , United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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