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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.
Subst Use Misuse ; 57(7): 1144-1153, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1806026

ABSTRACT

Background Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) are associated with important public health benefits. Program changes implemented in response to COVID-19 hold promise as ongoing strategies to improve MOUD treatment. Methods: MOUD patients on buprenorphine or methadone, providers, government regulators, and persons who use drugs not in MOUD were recruited in the Northeast region of the United States between June and October of 2020 via advertisements, fliers, and word of mouth. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted. Interviews were professionally transcribed and thematically coded by two independent coders. Results: We conducted interviews with 13 people currently on buprenorphine, 11 currently on methadone, 3 previously on buprenorphine, 4 previously on methadone, and 6 who used drugs but had never been on MOUD. In addition, we interviewed MOUD providers, clinic staff, and government officials at agencies that regulate MOUD. Most participants found increased take-home doses, home medication delivery, and telehealth implemented during COVID-19 to be favorable, reporting that these program changes reduced travel time to clinics, facilitated retention in care, and reduced stigma associated with clinic attendance. However, some participants reported negative consequences of COVID-19, most notably, decreased access to basic resources, such as food, clothing, and harm reduction materials that had previously been distributed at some MOUD clinics. Conclusion: Access to and retention in MOUD can be lifesaving for persons using drugs. COVID-19-impelled program changes, including increased take-home doses, home medication delivery, and telehealth generally improved participants' experiences with MOUD. Making these permanent could improve retention in care.


Subject(s)
Buprenorphine , COVID-19 , Opioid-Related Disorders , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , Buprenorphine/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Methadone/therapeutic use , Opiate Substitution Treatment , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Pharmaceutical Preparations , United States
4.
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
5.
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.

6.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(2)2022 01 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1632393

ABSTRACT

Zoonotic epidemics and pandemics have become frequent. From HIV/AIDS through COVID-19, they demonstrate that pandemics are social processes as well as health occurrences. The roots of these pandemics lie in changes in the socioeconomic interface between humanity and non-human host species that facilitate interspecies transmission. The degree to which zoonoses spread has been increased by the greater speed and extent of modern transportation and trade. Pre-existing sociopolitical and economic structures and conflicts in societies also affect pathogen propagation. As an epidemic develops, it can itself become a social and political factor, and change and interact with pre-existing sociobehavioral norms and institutional structures. This paper uses a "Big Events" approach to frame these processes. Based on this framework, we discuss how social readiness surveys implemented both before and during an outbreak might help public health predict how overall systems might react to an epidemic and/or to disease control measures, and thus might inform interventions to mitigate potential adverse outcomes or possibly preventing outbreaks from developing into epidemics. We conclude by considering what "pathways measures", in addition to those we and others have already developed, might usefully be developed and validated to assist outbreak and epidemic disease responses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Animals , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Zoonoses/epidemiology
7.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(Suppl 2): S146-S163, 2021 07 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1334197

ABSTRACT

Evidence regarding the important role of adolescents and young adults (AYA) in accelerating and sustaining coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreaks is growing. Furthermore, data suggest that 2 known factors that contribute to high severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmissibility-presymptomatic transmission and asymptomatic case presentations-may be amplified in AYA. However, AYA have not been prioritized as a key population in the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Policy decisions that limit public health attention to AYA and are driven by the assumption of insignificant forward transmission from AYA pose a risk of inadvertent reinvigoration of local transmission dynamics. In this viewpoint, we highlight evidence regarding the increased potential of AYA to transmit SARS-CoV-2 that, to date, has received little attention, discuss adolescent and young adult-specific considerations for future COVID-19 control measures, and provide applied programmatic suggestions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Pandemics , Public Health , Young Adult
8.
Glob Public Health ; 16(8-9): 1167-1186, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1177225

ABSTRACT

Big Events are periods during which abnormal large-scale events like war, economic collapse, revolts, or pandemics disrupt daily life and expectations about the future. They can lead to rapid change in health-related norms, beliefs, social networks and behavioural practices. The world is undergoing such Big Events through the interaction of COVID-19, a large economic downturn, massive social unrest in many countries, and ever-worsening effects of global climate change. Previous research, mainly on HIV/AIDS, suggests that the health effects of Big Events can be profound, but are contingent: Sometimes Big Events led to enormous outbreaks of HIV and associated diseases and conditions such as injection drug use, sex trading, and tuberculosis, but in other circumstances, Big Events did not do so. This paper discusses and presents hypotheses about pathways through which the current Big Events might lead to better or worse short and long term outcomes for various health conditions and diseases; considers how pre-existing societal conditions and changing 'pathway' variables can influence the impact of Big Events; discusses how to measure these pathways; and suggests ways in which research and surveillance might be conducted to improve human capacity to prevent or mitigate the effects of Big Events on human health.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Global Health , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Social Theory
9.
Open Forum Infectious Diseases ; 7(Supplement_1):S613-S613, 2020.
Article in English | Oxford Academic | ID: covidwho-1010593
10.
Mycoses ; 63(12): 1368-1372, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-787896

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Critically ill patients with coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) are at the theoretical risk of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) due to known risk factors. PATIENTS/METHODS: We aimed to describe the clinical features of COVID-19-associated pulmonary aspergillosis at a single centre in New York City. We performed a retrospective chart review of all patients with COVID-19 with Aspergillus isolated from respiratory cultures. RESULTS: A total of seven patients with COVID-19 who had one or more positive respiratory cultures for Aspergillus fumigatus were identified, all of whom were mechanically ventilated in the ICU. Four patients were classified as putative IPA. The median age was 79 years, and all patients were male. The patients had been mechanically ventilated for a mean of 6.8 days (range: 1-14 days) before Aspergillus isolation. Serum galactomannan level was positive for only one patient. The majority of our cases received much higher doses of glucocorticoids than the dosage with a proven mortality benefit. All four patients died. CONCLUSIONS: Vigilance for secondary fungal infections will be needed to reduce adverse outcomes in critically ill patients with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Aspergillus fumigatus/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Fatal Outcome , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis/microbiology , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis/therapy , Male , New York City/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Respiration, Artificial , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors
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