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1.
JAMA Netw Open ; 4(7): e2118223, 2021 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1321668

ABSTRACT

Importance: Methadone access may be uniquely vulnerable to disruption during COVID-19, and even short delays in access are associated with decreased medication initiation and increased illicit opioid use and overdose death. Relative to Canada, US methadone provision is more restricted and limited to specialized opioid treatment programs. Objective: To compare timely access to methadone initiation in the US and Canada during COVID-19. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional study was conducted from May to June 2020. Participating clinics provided methadone for opioid use disorder in 14 US states and territories and 3 Canadian provinces with the highest opioid overdose death rates. Statistical analysis was performed from July 2020 to January 2021. Exposures: Nation and type of health insurance (US Medicaid and US self-pay vs Canadian provincial). Main Outcomes and Measures: Proportion of clinics accepting new patients and days to first appointment. Results: Among 268 of 298 US clinics contacted as a patient with Medicaid (90%), 271 of 301 US clinics contacted as a self-pay patient (90%), and 237 of 288 Canadian clinics contacted as a patient with provincial insurance (82%), new patients were accepted for methadone at 231 clinics (86%) during US Medicaid contacts, 230 clinics (85%) during US self-pay contacts, and at 210 clinics (89%) during Canadian contacts. Among clinics not accepting new patients, at least 44% of 27 clinics reported that the COVID-19 pandemic was the reason. The mean wait for first appointment was greater among US Medicaid contacts (3.5 days [95% CI, 2.9-4.2 days]) and US self-pay contacts (4.1 days [95% CI, 3.4-4.8 days]) than Canadian contacts (1.9 days [95% CI, 1.7-2.1 days]) (P < .001). Open-access model (walk-in hours for new patients without an appointment) utilization was reported by 57 Medicaid (30%), 57 self-pay (30%), and 115 Canadian (59%) contacts offering an appointment. Conclusions and Relevance: In this cross-sectional study of 2 nations, more than 1 in 10 methadone clinics were not accepting new patients. Canadian clinics offered more timely methadone access than US opioid treatment programs. These results suggest that the methadone access shortage was exacerbated by COVID-19 and that changes to the US opioid treatment program model are needed to improve the timeliness of access. Increased open-access model adoption may increase timely access.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Services Accessibility , Methadone/therapeutic use , Opiate Substitution Treatment , Opioid-Related Disorders/therapy , Pandemics , Waiting Lists , Ambulatory Care Facilities , Analgesics, Opioid , Canada , Cross-Sectional Studies , Financing, Personal , Health Services , Insurance, Health , Medicaid , United States
2.
J Addict Med ; 15(6): 448-451, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-967523

ABSTRACT

The Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center includes programs across the care continuum for people with substance use disorders (SUDs), serving both inpatients and outpatients. These programs had to innovate quickly during the COVID-19 outbreak to maintain access to care. Federal and state regulatory flexibility allowed these programs to initiate treatment for people experiencing homelessness and maximize patient safety through physical distancing practices. Programs switched to telehealth with high levels of acceptability and patient retention. Some programs also maintained some face-to-face clinic visits to see patients with complex problems and to provide injectable medications. Text-messaging proved invaluable with adolescent and young adult clients, and a mobile-health outreach program was initiated to reach mother/child dyads affected by SUDs. A 24-hour hotline was implemented to support seamless access to treatment for hundreds released from incarceration early due to the pandemic. Boston Medical Center also launched the COVID Recuperation Unit to allow patients experiencing homelessness to recover from mild to moderate COVID-19 infection in an environment that took a harm-reduction approach to SUDs and provided rapid initiation of medication treatment. Many of these innovations increased access to treatment and retention of patients during the pandemic. Maintaining the revised regulations would allow flexibility to provide telehealth, extended prescriptions, and remote access to buprenorphine initiation to support and engage more patients with SUDs.


Subject(s)
Buprenorphine , COVID-19 , Substance-Related Disorders , Telemedicine , Adolescent , Child , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Substance-Related Disorders/therapy , Young Adult
3.
J Subst Abuse Treat ; 118: 108103, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-709576

ABSTRACT

In response to the novel coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, many people experiencing homelessness and substance use disorders entered respite and recuperation facilities for care and to isolate and prevent subsequent SARS-CoV-2 transmission. However, because drug use was officially prohibited in these facilities, we observed people who use substances leaving isolation temporarily or prematurely. The initial Covid-19 surge magnified the need for harm reduction access for those who use substances to ensure their safety and well-being and that of their local communities. In this commentary, we argue that expanding harm reduction access is crucial for subsequent waves of SARS-CoV-2 infection and also for patients who use substances and are hospitalized for other reasons.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Homeless Persons , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Substance-Related Disorders/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Harm Reduction , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Social Isolation , Substance Abuse Treatment Centers , Substance-Related Disorders/therapy
4.
J Addict Med ; 14(5): e261-e263, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-595663

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) may disproportionately affect persons in congregate settings, including those in residential substance use treatment facilities. To limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2 through congregate settings, universal testing may be necessary. We aimed to determine the point prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in a residential treatment program setting and to understand the unique challenges of Covid-19 transmission in this setting. METHODS: We performed a case series of SARS-CoV-2 rT-PCR testing via nasopharyngeal in a residential substance use treatment program for women in Boston. Staff and residents of the treatment program were tested for SARS-CoV-2. The primary outcome was SARS-CoV-2 test result. RESULTS: A total of 31 residents and staff were tested. Twenty-seven percent (6/22) of the residents and 44% (4/9) of staff tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. All of the SARS-CoV-2 positive residents resided in the same residential unit. Two positive cases resided together with 2 negative cases in a 4-person room. Two other positive cases resided together in a 2-person room. One positive case resided with 2 negative cases in a 3-person room. One positive case resided with a negative case in a 2-person room. Based on test results, residents were cohorted by infection status and continued to participate in addiction treatment on-site. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 infection was common among staff and residents within a residential substance use treatment program for women in Boston. Universal SARS-CoV-2 testing in residential substance use programs can be instituted to reduce the risk of further transmission and continue addiction treatment programming when accompanied by adequate space, supplies, and staffing.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Residential Treatment/statistics & numerical data , Substance Abuse Treatment Centers/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Boston/epidemiology , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Female , Humans , Pandemics , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
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