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Harm Reduct J ; 19(1): 9, 2022 02 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1666657


OBJECTIVES: Unpredictable fluctuations in the illicit drug market increase overdose risk. Drug checking, or the use of technology to provide insight into the contents of illicit drug products, is an overdose prevention strategy with an emerging evidence base. The use of portable spectrometry devices to provide point-of-service analysis of the contents of illicit drugs been adopted by harm reduction organizations internationally but is only emerging in the United States. This study aimed to identify barriers and facilitators of implementing drug checking services with spectrometry devices in an urban harm reduction organization and syringe service program serving economically marginalized people who use drugs in Boston, Massachusetts (USA). METHODS: In-vivo observations and semi-structured interviews with harm reduction staff and participants were conducted between March 2019 and December 2020. We used the consolidated framework for implementation research to identify implementation barriers and facilitators. RESULTS: This implementation effort was facilitated by the organization's shared culture of harm reduction-which fostered shared implementation goals and beliefs about the intervention among staff persons-its horizontal organizational structure, strong identification with the organization among staff, and strong relationships with external funders. Barriers to implementation included the technological complexity of the advanced spectroscopy devices utilized for drug checking. Program staff indicated that commercially available spectroscopy devices are powerful but not always well-suited for drug checking efforts, describing their technological capacities as "the Bronze Age of Drug Checking." Other significant barriers include the legal ambiguity of drug checking services, disruptive and oppositional police activity, and the responses and programmatic changes demanded by the COVID-19 pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: For harm reduction organizations to be successful in efforts to implement and scale drug checking services, these critical barriers-especially regressive policing policies and prohibitive costs-need to be addressed. Future research on the impact of policy changes to reduce the criminalization of substance use or to provide explicit legal frameworks for the provision of this and other harm reduction services may be merited.

COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Harm Reduction , Illicit Drugs , Police , Boston , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Humans , Pandemics , Violence
J Urban Health ; 97(4): 439-447, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-269830


U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities house thousands of undocumented immigrants in environments discordant with the public health recommendations to reduce the transmission of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Using ICE detainee population data obtained from the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) website as of March 2, 2020, we implemented a simple stochastic susceptible-exposed-infected-recovered model to estimate the rate of COVID-19 transmission within 111 ICE detention facilities and then examined impacts on regional hospital intensive care unit (ICU) capacity. Models considered three scenarios of transmission (optimistic, moderate, pessimistic) over 30-, 60-, and 90-day time horizons across a range of facility sizes. We found that 72% of individuals are expected to be infected by day 90 under the optimistic scenario (R0 = 2.5), while nearly 100% of individuals are expected to be infected by day 90 under a more pessimistic (R0 = 7) scenario. Although asynchronous outbreaks are more likely, day 90 estimates provide an approximation of total positive cases after all ICE facility outbreaks. We determined that, in the most optimistic scenario, coronavirus outbreaks among a minimum of 65 ICE facilities (59%) would overwhelm ICU beds within a 10-mile radius and outbreaks among a minimum of 8 ICE facilities (7%) would overwhelm local ICU beds within a 50-mile radius over a 90-day period, provided every ICU bed was made available for sick detainees. As policymakers seek to rapidly implement interventions that ensure the continued availability of life-saving medical resources across the USA, they may be overlooking the pressing need to slow the spread of COVID-19 infection in ICE's detention facilities. Preventing the rapid spread necessitates intervention measures such as granting ICE detainees widespread release from an unsafe environment by returning them to the community.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections , Emigration and Immigration , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Adult , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Culture , Female , Humans , Male , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Prisons/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2
Subst Abus ; 41(2): 147-149, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-104139


We highlight the critical roles that pharmacists have related to sustaining and advancing the changes being made in the face of the current COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that patients have more seamless and less complex access to treatment. Discussed herein is how the current COVID-19 pandemic is impacting persons with substance use disorders, barriers that persist, and the opportunities that arise as regulations around treatments for this population are eased.

Continuity of Patient Care , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Opioid-Related Disorders/complications , Opioid-Related Disorders/therapy , Opioid-Related Disorders/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Betacoronavirus , Buprenorphine/therapeutic use , COVID-19 , Continuity of Patient Care/legislation & jurisprudence , Humans , Methadone/therapeutic use , Pandemics , Pharmacists , SARS-CoV-2 , United States