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1.
Int J Drug Policy ; 109: 103825, 2022 Aug 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1977192

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Syringe services programs (SSPs) provide critical evidence-based public health services that decrease harms from drug use for people who use drugs (PWUD). Many SSPs have experienced significant and evolving COVID-19-related disruptions. We aimed to characterize the impacts of COVID-19 on SSP operations in the United States approximately one year into the pandemic. METHODS: Participating sites, selected from a national sample of SSPs, completed a semi-structured interview via teleconference and brief survey evaluating the impacts of COVID-19 on program operations. Data collection explored aspects of program financing, service delivery approaches, linkages to care, and perspectives on engaging PWUD in services one year into the pandemic. Interview data were analyzed qualitatively using Rapid Assessment Process. Survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and triangulated with qualitative findings. RESULTS: 27 SSPs completed study-related interviews and surveys between February 2021 - April 2021. One year into the pandemic, SSPs reported continuing to adapt approaches to syringe distribution in response to COVID-19, and identified multiple barriers that hindered their ability to engage program participants in services, including 1) isolation and decreased connectivity with participants, 2) resource restrictions that limit responsiveness to participant needs, 3) reduced capacity to provide on-site HIV/HCV testing and treatment linkages, and 4) changing OUD treatment modalities that were a "double-edged sword" for PWUD. Quantitative survey responses aligned with qualitative findings, highlighting increases in the number of syringes distributed, increases in mobile and home delivery services, and reductions in on-site HIV and HCV testing. CONCLUSION: These data illuminate persistent and cascading risks of isolation, reduced access to services, and limited engagement with program participants that resulted from COVID-19 and continue to create barriers to the delivery of critical harm reduction services. Findings emphasize the need to ensure SSPs have the resources and capacity to adapt to changing public health needs, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve.

2.
J Addict Med ; 2022 Aug 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1973276

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We explored syringe service program (SSP) perspectives on barriers, readiness, and programmatic needs to support coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine uptake among people who use drugs. METHODS: We conducted an exploratory qualitative study, leveraging an existing sample of SSPs in the United States. Semistructured, in-depth interviews were conducted with SSP staff between February and April 2021. Interviews were analyzed using a Rapid Assessment Process, an intensive, iterative process that allows for rapid analysis of time-sensitive qualitative data. RESULTS: Twenty-seven SSPs completed a qualitative interview. Many SSP respondents discussed that COVID-19 vaccination was not a priority for their participants because of competing survival priorities, and respondents shared concerns that COVID-19 had deepened participant mistrust of health care. Most SSPs wanted to participate in COVID-19 vaccination efforts; however, they identified needed resources, including adequate space, personnel, and training, to implement successful vaccine programs. CONCLUSIONS: Although SSPs are trusted resources for people who use drugs, many require additional structural and personnel support to address barriers to COVID-19 vaccination among their participants. Funding and supporting SSPs in the provision of COVID-19 prevention education and direct vaccine services should be a top public health priority.

3.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 232: 109323, 2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1670416

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: This study describes harm reduction and health services provided by U.S syringe services programs (SSPs) in 2019 and changes in provision of those services in 2020. METHODS: SSPs were invited to participate in the Dave Purchase Memorial survey in August 2020. We collected programmatic data on services provided in 2019 and at the time of the survey in 2020. We conducted descriptive analyses using Chi-square and McNemar's tests. RESULTS: At the time of the survey, > 60% of SSPs reported increased monthly syringe and naloxone distribution and expansion of home-based and mail-based naloxone delivery in Fall 2020 compared to 2019. Approximately three-quarters of SSPs decreased or stopped providing on-site HIV and HCV testing. Nearly half of SSPs offering on-site medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) in 2019 increased provision of MOUD in 2020. The proportion of SSPs offering on-site mental health care services and primary care services statistically significantly decreased from 2019 to Fall 2020, but telehealth offerings of these services increased. CONCLUSIONS: Many SSPs that offered health services in 2019 and remained operational in 2020 increased telehealth provision of mental health and primary care services, increased MOUD provision, and expanded harm reduction services, but most SSPs reduced or stopped on-site HIV and HCV testing. Sustaining SSP growth and innovation is paramount for preventing overdose deaths and HIV/HCV outbreaks after the deadliest year of the opioid epidemic in 2020.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , COVID-19/prevention & control , Harm Reduction , Health Services , Humans , Needle-Exchange Programs , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/complications , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , Syringes
4.
Drug and alcohol dependence ; 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1647585

ABSTRACT

Objectives This study describes harm reduction and health services provided by U.S syringe services programs (SSPs) in 2019 and changes in provision of those services in 2020. Methods SSPs were invited to participate in the Dave Purchase Memorial survey in August 2020. We collected programmatic data on services provided in 2019 and at the time of the survey in 2020. We conducted descriptive analyses using Chi-square and McNemar’s tests. Results At the time of the survey, >60% of SSPs reported increased monthly syringe and naloxone distribution and expansion of home-based and mail-based naloxone delivery in Fall 2020 compared to 2019. Approximately three-quarters of SSPs decreased or stopped providing on-site HIV and HCV testing. Nearly half of SSPs offering on-site medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) in 2019 increased provision of MOUD in 2020. The proportion of SSPs offering on-site mental health care services and primary care services statistically significantly decreased from 2019 to Fall 2020, but telehealth offerings of these services increased. Conclusions Many SSPs that offered health services in 2019 and remained operational in 2020 increased telehealth provision of mental health and primary care services, increased MOUD provision, and expanded harm reduction services, but most SSPs reduced or stopped on-site HIV and HCV testing. Sustaining SSP growth and innovation is paramount for preventing overdose deaths and HIV/HCV outbreaks after the deadliest year of the opioid epidemic in 2020.

5.
AIDS Behav ; 26(1): 57-68, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1263159

ABSTRACT

Syringe services programs (SSPs) are essential to preventing injection drug use-related infections and overdose death among people who use drugs (PWUD). The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic initially impeded SSPs' operations. To effectively support these programs, information is needed regarding SSPs' experiences adapting their services and the challenges posed by COVID-19. We conducted qualitative interviews with leadership and staff from a sample of 31 U.S. SSPs. Respondents discussed urgent concerns including reduced reach of services, suspended HIV/hepatitis C testing, high COVID-19 risk among PWUD, and negative impacts of isolation on overdose and mental health. They also noted opportunities to improve future services for PWUD, including shifting to evidence-based distribution practices and maintaining regulatory changes that increased access to opioid use disorder medications post-pandemic. Findings can inform efforts to support SSPs in restoring and expanding services, and provide insight into SSPs' role in engaging PWUD during the COVID-19 response and future emergencies.


RESUMEN: Los programas de servicios de jeringas (reconocido como SSP en inglés) son esenciales para prevenir las infecciones relacionadas con el consumo de drogas inyectables y la muerte por sobredosis entre las personas que consumen drogas (reconocidos como PWUD en ingles). La nueva pandemia del coronavirus (COVID-19) inicialmente impidió las operaciones de los SSP. Para apoyar eficazmente estos programas, se necesita información sobre las experiencias de los SSP que adaptan sus servicios y los desafíos que plantea COVID-19. Realizamos entrevistas cualitativas con el liderazgo y el personal de una muestra de 31 SSPs de EE.UU. Los encuestados discutieron las preocupaciones urgentes, incluyendo la reducción del alcance de los servicios, la suspensión de las pruebas de VIH/hepatitis C, el alto riesgo de COVID-19 entre la PWUD, y los impactos negativos del aislamiento en las sobredosis y la salud mental. También identificaron las oportunidades de mejorar los servicios futuros para las PWUD, incluyendo el cambio a prácticas de distribución basadas en evidencias y el mantenimiento de cambios regulatorios que aumentaran el acceso a medicamentos para el trastorno por consumo de opiáceos después de la pandemia. La información que se encontró en este estudio se puede utilizar junto los esfuerzos para apoyar a los SSP en la restauración y expansión de los servicios, y proporcionar información sobre el papel de los SSP en la participación de PWUD durante la respuesta covid-19 futuras emergencias.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Harm Reduction , Humans , Needle-Exchange Programs , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , Syringes
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