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1.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 20(11)2023 May 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20240815

ABSTRACT

The year 2021 was the most deadly year for overdose deaths in the USA and Canada. The stress and social isolation stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with a flood of fentanyl into local drug markets created conditions in which people who use drugs were more susceptible to accidental overdose. Within territorial, state, and local policy communities, there have been longstanding efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality within this population; however, the current overdose crisis clearly indicates an urgent need for additional, easily accessible, and innovative services. Street-based drug testing programs allow individuals to learn the composition of their substances prior to use, averting unintended overdoses while also creating low threshold opportunities for individuals to connect to other harm reduction services, including substance use treatment programs. We sought to capture perspectives from service providers to document best practices around fielding community-based drug testing programs, including optimizing their position within a constellation of other harm reduction services to best serve local communities. We conducted 11 in-depth interviews from June to November 2022 via Zoom with harm reduction service providers to explore barriers and facilitators around the implementation of drug checking programs, the potential for integration with other health promotion services, and best practices for sustaining these programs, taking the local community and policy landscape into account. Interviews lasted 45-60 min and were recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis was used to reduce the data, and transcripts were discussed by a team of trained analysts. Several key themes emerged from our interviews: (1) the instability of drug markets amid an inconsistent and dangerous drug supply; (2) implementing drug checking services in dynamic environments in response to the rapidly changing needs of local communities; (3) training and ongoing capacity building needed to create sustainable programs; and (4) the potential for integrating drug checking programs into other services. There are opportunities for this service to make a difference in overdose deaths as the contours of the drug market itself have changed over time, but a number of challenges remain to implement them effectively and sustain the service over time. Drug checking itself represents a paradox within the larger policy context, putting the sustainability of these programs at risk and challenging the potential to scale these programs as the overdose epidemic worsens.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Drug Users , Substance-Related Disorders , Humans , Public Health , Pandemics/prevention & control , COVID-19/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Substance-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Harm Reduction
2.
Front Pharmacol ; 14: 1122441, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20237059

ABSTRACT

Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has had wide economic, social, and health impacts, and has disproportionately affected individuals who were already vulnerable. Individuals who use opioids have dealt with evolving public health measures and disruptions while also dealing with the ongoing opioid epidemic. Opioid-related mortalities in Canada increased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is unclear to what extent public health measures and the progression of the pandemic contributed to opioid-related harms. Methods: To address this gap, we used emergency room (ER) visits recorded in the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System (NACRS) between 1 April 2017, and 31 December 2021, to investigate trends of opioid-related harms throughout the pandemic. This study also included semi-structured interviews with service providers in the field of opioid use treatment, to help contextualize the trends seen in ER visits and offer perspectives on how opioid use and services have changed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Results: Overall, the number of hospitalizations related to an opioid use disorder (OUD) decreased with progressing waves of the pandemic and with increasing severity of public health measures in Ontario. The rate of hospitalizations related to opioid poisonings (e.g., central nervous system and respiratory system depression caused by opioids) significantly increased with the progressing waves of the pandemic, as well as with increasing severity of public health measures in Ontario. Discussion: The increase in opioid-related poisonings is reflected in the existing literature whereas the decrease in OUDs is not. Moreover, the increase in opioid-related poisonings aligns with the observations of service providers, whereas the decrease in OUD contradicts the trends that service providers described. This discrepancy could be explained by factors identified by service providers, including the pressures on ERs during the pandemic, hesitancy to seek treatment, and drug toxicity.

3.
Harm Reduct J ; 20(1): 70, 2023 Jun 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20234261

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Unprecedented increases in substance-related overdose fatalities have been observed in Texas and the U.S. since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and have made clear there is considerable need to reduce harms associated with drug use. At the federal level, initiatives have called for widespread dissemination and implementation of evidence-based harm reduction practices to reduce overdose deaths. Implementation of harm reduction strategies is challenging in Texas. There is a paucity of literature on understanding current harm reduction practices in Texas. As such, this qualitative study aims to understand harm reduction practices among people who use drugs (PWUD), harm reductionists, and emergency responders across four counties in Texas. This work would inform future efforts to scale and spread harm reduction in Texas. METHODS: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with N = 69 key stakeholders (25 harm reductionists; 24 PWUD; 20 emergency responders). Interviews were transcribed verbatim, coded for emergent themes, and analyzed using Applied Thematic Analysis with Nvivo 12. A community advisory board defined the research questions, reviewed the emergent themes, and assisted with interpretation of the data. RESULTS: Emergent themes highlighted barriers to harm reduction at micro and macro levels, from the individual experience of PWUD and harm reductionists to systemic issues in healthcare and the emergency medical response system. Specifically, (1) Texas has existing strengths in overdose prevention and response efforts on which to build, (2) PWUD are fearful of interacting with healthcare and 911 systems, (3) harm reductionists are in increasing need of support for reaching all PWUD communities, and (4) state-level policies may hinder widespread implementation and adoption of evidence-based harm reduction practices. CONCLUSIONS: Perspectives from harm reduction stakeholders highlighted existing strengths, avenues for improvement, and specific barriers that currently exist to harm reduction practices in Texas.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Substance-Related Disorders , Humans , Harm Reduction , Pandemics , COVID-19/prevention & control , Drug Overdose/prevention & control
4.
Front Psychol ; 14: 1165322, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20232742

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Alcohol-related problems disproportionally affect people experiencing homelessness. As the first wave of the COVID-2019 pandemic spread in 2020, a number of emergency shelters were opened in Lisbon. Increased difficulties in obtaining alcohol could have led to an increased incidence of alcohol withdrawal. Therefore, a low-threshold harm reduction intervention was introduced to these emergency shelters. This consisted of a fixed medication treatment, made available immediately for those with specific conditions, without the need for a medical evaluation or abstinence from alcohol, together with an offer of subsequent access to specialized addiction centers. The Problemas Ligados ao Álcool em Centros de Emergência (PLACE) study (alcohol-related problems in emergency shelters) is a retrospective mixed-methods observational study. It describes the demographic, health, and social characteristics of shelter users participating in the program and aims to evaluate the intervention as well as the experience of the patients, professionals, and decision-makers involved. Results: A total of 69 people using shelters self-reported alcohol-related problems. Among them, 36.2% of the people accepted a pharmacological intervention, and 23.2% selected an addiction appointment. The take-up of the intervention was associated with better housing outcomes. A description of an individual's trajectory after leaving the shelter is provided. Discussion: This study suggests that non-abstinence-focused interventions can be useful and well-tolerated in treating addiction in this population.

5.
Early Intervention in Psychiatry ; 17(Supplement 1):99-100, 2023.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-20239953

ABSTRACT

This rapid review provides an overview of recent literature on the nature of digital interventions for young people in terms of technologies used, substances and populations targeted, and theoretical or therapeutic models employed. A keyword search was conducted using MEDLINE and other databases for 2015-2021. Following a title/ and full-text screening of articles and consensus decision on study inclusion, data extraction proceeded using an extraction grid. Data synthesis relied on an adapted conceptual framework (Stockings et al., 2016) that involved a three-level treatment spectrum for youth substance use (prevention, early intervention, and treatment). The review identified 43 articles describing 39 digital interventions. Most were early interventions (n = 28), followed by prevention (n = 6) and treatment (n = 5). Of the five technologies identified, web-based interventions (n = 14) were most common. Digital interventions have mainly focused on alcohol use (n = 20), reflecting limited concern for other substance use and co-occurring use. Yet the rise in substance use and related harms during the Covid-19 pandemic highlights a critical need for more innovative substance use interventions. Technologies with more immersive and interactive features, such as VR and game-based interventions, call for further exploration. Only one intervention was culturally tailored and purposefully designed for gender minority youth, and another was geared to young men. As well, most interventions used a personalized or normative feedback approach, while a harm reduction approach guided only one intervention. The incorporation of culturally tailored interventions and harm reduction approaches may promote uptake and stronger engagement with digital interventions amongst youth.

6.
Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering ; 84(8-B):No Pagination Specified, 2023.
Article in English | APA PsycInfo | ID: covidwho-20239681

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to examine nurses' experience of quality care for hospitalized patients with a history of opioid use disorder or self-injection of opioids and whether hospital, unit, or nurse characteristics impacted experiences of quality care. A secondary aim of the study was to understand how nurses' experiences of quality care for this population have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Institute of Medicine's Six Domains of Health Care Quality were used to define quality care in this study. A national sample of 179 nurses completed an online survey regarding their experiences caring for patients with opioid use disorders. The majority of the participants were staff nurses who worked in emergency departments, critical care units, or mother baby units. Only 41.9% of the participants had received education regarding substance use disorders from their employers, and even less had participated in harm reduction education. Only 45% of the nurses had knowledge regarding harm reduction strategies for this population. The participants experienced a low number of restrictive safety measures and an average number of adverse events and effective care interventions when caring for patients with opioid use disorders. The nurses rated quality care and satisfaction as average. Correlation and linear regression analysis suggested trends in nurse, hospital and unit characteristics that are associated with nurses' experiences caring for this population;substance use disorder education, harm reduction education, and unit type were most often associated with nurses' experiences. Content analysis of open-ended questions regarding equity, patient-centeredness, timeliness and the impact of COVID-19 on experiences of quality care supported quantitative findings in the study and provided insight into the nurses' experiences. The findings in this study contribute to current evidence regarding the need for standardized hospital policies and practices aimed at improving quality care for patients with opioid use disorders. These policies and practices should incorporate harm reduction strategies that are patient-centered and evidence-based. Hospitals and nursing schools should provide education aimed at reducing stigma and improving care for this population. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved)

7.
Hepatoma Research ; 8(no pagination), 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-20239461
8.
Aust N Z J Public Health ; 47(3): 100068, 2023 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20230947

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: We describe COVID-19 risk reduction strategies adopted by Victorian adults during December 2021-January 2022, a period of high COVID-19 infection and limited government mandated public health measures. METHODS: In February 2022, participants of a Victorian-based cohort study (Optimise) completed a cross-sectional survey on risk reduction behaviours during December 2021-January 2022. Regression modelling estimated the association between risk reduction and demographics. RESULTS: A total of 556 participants were included (median age 47 years; 75% women; 82% in metropolitan Melbourne). Two-thirds (61%) adopted at least one risk reduction behaviour, with uptake highest among younger participants (18-34 years; adjusted relative risk (aRR): 1.20, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01, 1.41) and those with a chronic health condition (aRR: 1.17, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.35). CONCLUSIONS: Participants adopted their own COVID-19 risk reduction strategies in a setting of limited government restrictions, with young people more likely to adopt a risk reduction strategy that did not limit social mobility. IMPLICATION FOR PUBLIC HEALTH: A public health response to COVID-19 that focusses on promoting personal risk reduction behaviours, as opposed to mandated restrictions, could be enhanced by disseminating information on and increasing availability of effective risk reduction strategies tailored to segments of the population.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Humans , Female , Adolescent , Middle Aged , Male , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Cohort Studies , Risk Reduction Behavior
9.
Drug Alcohol Depend Rep ; 7: 100167, 2023 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2322107

ABSTRACT

Background: Stigma overwhelmingly affects people who inject drugs. The COVID-19 pandemic posed unique challenges for people who inject drugs, who are already stigmatized as being "dangerous and spreading disease." The present study explored ways in which stigma was experienced by a sample of people who inject drugs in Toronto, Canada following COVID-related public health precaution measures. Methods: Qualitative interviews were conducted with people who inject drugs (n = 24) recruited from supervised consumption sites in Toronto, Canada. The semi-structured interview guide focused on the impact of COVID-19 on participants' health and social well-being. Interviews took place six-months after initial COVID-19 precautions (September-October 2020). We used thematic analysis to examine findings, with stigma being an emergent theme. Results: Participants described heightened acts of stigma after COVID-19 restrictions were implemented, including feeling treated as "diseased" and the cause of COVID-19's spread. They reported being less likely to receive emergency care during events such as overdoses. Participants perceived increased disease-related stigma evident through actions of stigma, including amplified dehumanization by the public, others avoiding all contact with them, and more discrimination by police and hospital systems. Conclusion: Participants provided specific examples of how stigmatizing behaviors harmed them after COVID-19 precautions began. It is plausible that stigma contributed to the dramatic increase in fatal overdoses, difficulty accessing housing, and further difficulty accessing needed healthcare in our setting. Integrating evidence-based harm reduction approaches in areas where stigma is evident might offset harms stemming from disease-related stigma and mitigate these harms during future public health emergencies.

10.
Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy ; 18(1): 27, 2023 05 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2321704

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The increasing number of illicit drug toxicity deaths in British Columbia (BC) has led to calls for a regulated (pharmaceutical grade) supply of substances ("safe supply"). In order to inform safe supply recommendations, we aimed to identify why people currently smoke opioids and assess the preferred mode of consumption if people who use opioids were provided with opioid safe supply. METHODS: The BC Harm Reduction Client Survey (HRCS) is an annual survey that gathers information about people who use drugs' (PWUD) substance use characteristic with the goal of contributing to evidence-based policy. This study utilized data from the 2021 HRCS. The outcome variable was "prefer smoking opioid safe supply" ('yes/no'). Explanatory variables included participants' demographics, drug use, and overdose characteristics. Bivariate and hierarchical multivariable logistic regressions were conducted to identify factors associated with the outcome. RESULTS: Of 282 total participants who indicated a preference for a mode of consumption for opioid safe supply, 62.4% preferred a smokable option and 19.9% preferred to inject if provided with opioid safe supply. Variables significantly associated with the outcome (preferred smoking) included: being 19-29 years old (AOR=5.95, CI =1.93 - 18.31) compared to >50 years old, having witnessed an overdose in the last 6 months (AOR=2.26, CI=1.20 - 4.28), having smoked opioids in the last 3 days (AOR=6.35, CI=2.98 - 13.53) and having a preference to smoke stimulants safe supply (AOR=5.04, CI=2.53 - 10.07). CONCLUSION: We found that over half of participants prefer smokable options when accessing opioid safe supply. Currently in BC, there are limited smokable opioid safe supply options as alternatives to the toxic street supply. To reduce overdose deaths, safe supply options should be expanded to accommodate PWUD that prefer smoking opioids.


Subject(s)
Drug Overdose , Opioid-Related Disorders , Humans , Young Adult , Adult , Middle Aged , Analgesics, Opioid , British Columbia/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Smoking
11.
BMC Public Health ; 23(1): 888, 2023 05 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2326158

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Opioid overdose epidemic is a public health crisis that is impacting communities around the world. Overdose education and naloxone distribution programs equip and train lay people to respond in the event of an overdose. We aimed to understand factors to consider for the design of naloxone distribution programs in point-of-care settings from the point of view of community stakeholders. METHODS: We hosted a multi-stakeholder co-design workshop to elicit suggestions for a naloxone distribution program. We recruited people with lived experience of opioid overdose, community representatives, and other stakeholders from family practice, emergency medicine, addictions medicine, and public health to participate in a full-day facilitated co-design discussion wherein large and small group discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed using thematic approaches. RESULTS: A total of twenty-four participants participated in the multi-stakeholder workshop from five stakeholder groups including geographic and setting diversity. Collaborative dialogue and shared storytelling revealed seven considerations for the design of naloxone distribution programs specific to training needs and the provision of naloxone, these are: recognizing overdose, how much naloxone, impact of stigma, legal risk of responding, position as conventional first aid, friends and family as responders, support to call 911. CONCLUSION: To create an naloxone distribution program in emergency departments, family practice and substance use treatment services, stigma is a central design consideration for training and naloxone kits. Design choices that reference the iconography, type, and form of materials associated with first aid have the potential to satisfy the need to de-stigmatize overdose response.


Subject(s)
Drug Overdose , Opiate Overdose , Opioid-Related Disorders , Humans , Naloxone/therapeutic use , Narcotic Antagonists/therapeutic use , Opiate Overdose/complications , Opiate Overdose/drug therapy , Drug Overdose/drug therapy , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Emergency Service, Hospital , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use
12.
Social workers' desk reference , 4th ed ; : 290-297, 2022.
Article in English | APA PsycInfo | ID: covidwho-2324850

ABSTRACT

A harm reduction approach, as the name implies, seeks to minimize the adverse consequences of behaviors without necessarily reducing or eliminating the behavior. Harm reduction policies have been initiated for a wide range of public health challenges throughout the world, including carbon exchange programs to combat air pollution, food labels to encourage healthier eating habits, access to condoms to reduce sexually transmitted infections, and directives to minimize large social gatherings to avoid contagion during the COVID-19 pandemic. The current opioid epidemic, which in the United States claimed more than 46,000 lives in 2018 alone 2020, brought about a renewed urgency to make medication available for treating opioid use disorder. The use of agonist medications for the treatment of problematic substance use is a narrowly targeted harm reduction approach generally reserved for people with substantial opioid addiction. Social workers are employed in a vast array of settings conducive to a harm reduction approach, including schools, colleges, hospitals, child welfare services, mental health clinics, housing, and private practice. In the end, the harm reduction model neither condemns nor condones drug use, and instead concerns itself with the quality of life for individuals, community, and society. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved)

13.
Journal of Addiction Medicine ; 14(4):E136-E138, 2020.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2323514

ABSTRACT

Background: To reduce the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), many substance use disorder treatment programs have transitioned to telemedicine. Emergency regulatory changes allow buprenorphine initiation without an in-person visit. We describe the use of videoconferencing for buprenorphine initiation combined with street outreach to engage 2 patients experiencing homelessness with severe opioid use disorder (OUD). Case Presentation: Patient 1 was a 30-year-old man with severe OUD who had relapsed to injection heroin/fentanyl after incarceration. A community drop-in center outreach harm reduction specialist facilitated a videoconference with an addiction specialist at an OUD bridge clinic. The patient completed a community buprenorphine/naloxone initiation and self-titrated to his prior dose, 8/2 mg twice daily. One week later, he reconnected with the outreach team for a follow-up videoconference visit. Patient 2, a 36-year-old man with severe OUD, connected to the addiction specialist via a syringe service program harm reduction specialist. He had been trying to connect to a community buprenorphine/naloxone provider, but access was limited due to COVID-19, so he was using diverted buprenorphine/naloxone to reduce opioid use. He was restarted on his previous dose of 12/3 mg daily which was continued via phone follow-up 16 days later. Conclusion(s): COVID-19-related regulatory changes allow buprenorphine initiation via telemedicine. We describe 2 cases where telemedicine was combined with street outreach to connect patients experiencing homelessness with OUD to treatment. These cases highlight an important opportunity to provide access to life-saving OUD treatment for vulnerable patients in the setting of a pandemic that mandates reduced face-to-face clinical interactions.Copyright © 2020 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.

14.
HIV Medicine ; 24(Supplement 3):92, 2023.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2322207

ABSTRACT

Background: People living with HIV are at greater risk of complications associated with influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and pneumococcus than the general population and BHIVA guidelines recommend vaccinating all patients against these infections. The purpose of this audit was to determine the uptake of these vaccines, and factors associated with uptake, to inform vaccine delivery models. Method(s): All patients who received HIV care in our service at the end of November 2022 were included. Demographic data were collected from the service database, clinical data and pneumococcal vaccine (Prevenar-13) status were obtained from clinical records and COVID-19 and flu vaccine (2021) uptake was obtained from the Vaccine Management Tool (VMT). At the time of audit all patients were recommended to have received at least 3 doses of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. Caldicott approval was received for this work. Result(s): There were 364 patients known to the service of which one was excluded as clinical information was not available. Sixty-seven percent had received flu vaccine, 88% >= one dose of COVID-19 vaccination, 76% at least 3 doses of COVID-19 vaccination and 88% had received Prevenar-13. Three percent had received no vaccines and 60% had completed all vaccines. Uptake of both flu and COVID-19 vaccines were lower in the following groups: <50 years old (51% and 62% respectively), urban residence (65%, 71%), higher deprivation scores (51-65%, 64-75%) less time in HIV care (57%, 70%), those not on ART (13%, 25%), CD4 <200 cells/mm3 (40%, 50%), detectable viral load (33%, 42%), those out of care (23%, 23%) and those known to the harm reduction service (33%, 33%). There was higher uptake of Prevenar-13 in all groups. Uptake of all vaccines was high in those with comorbidities. Conclusion(s): The high uptake of Prevenar-13 in higher risk groups suggests that the model of vaccine delivery, opportunistic and pro-active recall for inhouse vaccination, is more effective for protecting those at highest risk for poor outcomes and for those for whom access is challenging compared to the centralised national recall system at designated Vaccine hubs. Vaccination resourcing, planning and delivery should consider the needs of specific risk groups to ensure best outcomes.

15.
COVID-19 and a World of Ad Hoc Geographies: Volume 1 ; 1:849-869, 2022.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-2322187

ABSTRACT

There has long been a lack of reliable and current public health data on overdose deaths, houselessness, and additional morbidities associated with the criminalization of substance use in Southern Appalachia. We use public health and harm reduction program data, maps, images, first-hand accounts, and local media to explore how this lack of data has extended to COVID-19, where, in the context of substance use and harm reduction, it remains unclear to outsiders as well as to service providers on-the-ground where, to what extent, and to whom harms are occurring. Those within populations who have been placed at risk, including people who are unsheltered or use drugs, perceive danger, but their knowledge goes uncommunicated to or may be deemed unimportant by those in power. Public and private entities have made efforts to map health effects related to substance use and COVID-19, many times in order to provide appropriate services. Yet making once illegible spaces legible can produce further harm by placing certain populations at greater risk of negative state actions. © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022.

16.
Int J Drug Policy ; 117: 104060, 2023 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2313419

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: People who inject drugs (PWID) living with HIV may be disproportionately impacted by pandemic restrictions. This study qualitatively explored the impacts of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on PWID with HIV in St. Petersburg, Russia. METHODS: In March and April 2021, we conducted remote, semi-structured interviews with PWID with HIV, health care providers, and harm reductionists. RESULTS: We interviewed 25 PWID with HIV (aged 28-56 years, 46% female) and 11 providers. The pandemic exacerbated economic and psychological challenges experienced by PWID with HIV. Simultaneously, barriers to HIV care access, ART prescription refill and dispensing and police violence, which hindered the health and safety of PWID with HIV, were themselves hindered from normal operations by the pandemic, significantly reducing these burdens. CONCLUSION: Pandemic responses should account for the unique vulnerabilities of PWID with HIV to avoid worsening the structural violence they already experience. Wherever the pandemic decreased structural barriers, such as institutional, administrative, and bureaucratic challenges and state violence enacted by police and other elements of the criminal justice system, such changes should be protected.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , Humans , Female , Male , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/complications , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/psychology , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Russia/epidemiology
17.
Topics in Antiviral Medicine ; 31(2):357-358, 2023.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2315148

ABSTRACT

Background: Saskatchewan, a Canadian Prairie province, faces a complicated HIV epidemic characterized by high rates of transmission due to injection drug use (IDU) and disproportionate representation of younger persons, women, and persons of Indigenous ethnicity. HIV incidence in Saskatchewan in 2021 was 19.7 per 100,000, 4.5 times higher than the Canadian average. Concurrently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the recreational use of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl increased, leading to high numbers of overdose events & deaths. We characterized the difference in cascade of care outcomes & mortality amongst people with HIV (PWH) living in southern Saskatchewan during the COVID-19 pandemic. Method(s): We conducted a retrospective cohort study for all PWH cared for in the Infectious Diseases Clinic (IDC) at Regina General Hospital between December 31/19 and June 10/22. Age, sex, ethnicity & primary mode of HIV acquisition were collected from the IDC database, along with cascade of care & mortality data. Deaths, including most likely cause of death were characterized via individualized case review. Result(s): On December 31/19, IDC cared for 518 PWH. This increased to 585 by June 10/22. Amongst the current cohort, 245 (42%) were female, 163 (28%) were <= 35 years old, 306 (52%) were Indigenous, and 318 (54%) had acquired HIV through IDU. Cascade of care indicators worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. 58.1% of the cohort were retained in care & 76.1% virally suppressed (HIV RNA <= 200 copies/mL) in December 2019, decreasing to 51.3% retained (p=0.02) & 68.8% suppressed (p=0.06) by June 2022. There were 80 deaths during the study period, representing 15.4% of the cohort from the end of 2019. Most deaths (49, 61.3%) were due to suspected or confirmed drug overdose. 10 (12.5%) additional deaths occurred due to complications from IDU (i.e., sepsis). No deaths were directly attributable to COVID-19. Most who died acquired HIV from IDU (69/80, 86%). Conclusion(s): We describe intersecting epidemics of HIV and IDU disproportionately affecting high-risk populations, leading to significant morbidity & mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contributing factors may have included disruption of safe opioid supply and disrupted access to harm reduction services due to COVID-19. Comprehensive population-level harm reduction and addictions management strategies are urgently needed to reduce morbidity & mortality from drug use amongst PWH in Saskatchewan.

18.
Clin Infect Dis ; 75(Supplement_1): S98-S109, 2022 Aug 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2320399

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The opioid epidemic worsened during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Synthetic opioids (primarily fentanyl) comprise the most common drugs involved in overdose (OD) death. A vaccine that blocks fentanyl from reaching the brain to prevent OD is under development, and insight is needed into its acceptability. METHODS: Using a semi-structured interview guide, persons with opioid use disorder (OUD), family, professionals, and the public were interviewed about attitudes and concerns regarding a fentanyl vaccine. Reactions to fictional clinical vignettes of persons at risk of OUD because of pain and/or substance use histories were collected, analyzed, and quantified for favorability. Interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed thematically. RESULTS: Among N = 64 participants, (70.3% female, average age 32.4 years), attitudes were favorable toward a fentanyl vaccine, with preference for lifelong durability (76% of n = 55 asked). Perceived benefits centered on the potential for a life-saving intervention, suffering averted, healthcare dollars saved, and the utility of a passive harm reduction strategy. Concerns centered on uncertainty regarding vaccine safety, questions about efficacy, worry about implications for future pain management, stigma, and need for supportive counseling and guidance to personalize decision making. Reactions to vignettes revealed complex attitudes toward fentanyl vaccination when considering recipient age, health history, and future risks for addiction and pain. CONCLUSIONS: Positive responses to a fentanyl vaccine were found along with appreciation for the complexity of a vaccine strategy to prevent OD in the setting of pain and uncertain durability. Further research is needed to elucidate operational, ethical, and communications strategies to advance the model.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Fentanyl , Opiate Overdose , Opioid-Related Disorders , Adult , Analgesics, Opioid/adverse effects , Drug Overdose/drug therapy , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Female , Fentanyl/adverse effects , Humans , Male , Opioid-Related Disorders/complications , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Opioid-Related Disorders/prevention & control , Pain , Vaccines
19.
Can J Public Health ; 2022 Sep 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2319536

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: This study sought to explore how two-spirit, gay, bisexual, and queer cisgender and transgender (2SGBQ+) men engage with information related to non-prescribed anabolic/androgenic steroid (AAS) use, and how discourses of risk surrounding AASs influence their AAS use practices. Two objectives were achieved: (1) Sources of information that 2SGBQ+ men consulted when considering using AASs were identified and (2) the ways in which discourses of risk shaped 2SGBQ+ men's experiences of using AASs were revealed. METHODS: Participants were recruited for semi-structured interviews online and through word of mouth. A critical poststructural methodology and theories of risk discourse and biopolitics were used to identify themes and interpret data. RESULTS: Seventeen interviews were conducted with adult 2SGBQ+ cis and trans men. Three themes emerged: (1) Unauthoritative sources of knowledge and truth sought by current and prospective AAS users were inconsistent and difficult to evaluate; (2) Authoritative sources, including health care providers, reacted inconsistently; and (3) 2SGBQ+ men generated and shared lay knowledges as a form of community-led harm reduction. CONCLUSION: The complexities of seeking and evaluating information highlight the privileged nature of trustworthy, accurate information on the topic. Risk-as a discursive regime-places 2SGBQ+ male AAS users in the position to produce lay knowledge and cultivate their own "truths" on the topic, which can lead to preventable harm. Public health needs to address these biopolitical effects by considering these lay forms of knowledge as an untapped resource and design accessible and judgement-free AAS use harm reduction programs for 2SGBQ+ AAS users.


RéSUMé: OBJECTIFS: Cette étude visait à explorer le rapport des hommes gais, bisexuels, queer, trans, bispirituels et autres hommes cisgenres et transgenres qui aiment les hommes (GBTQ2+) avec les informations sur l'utilisation des stéroïdes anabolisants/androgéniques (SAA) vendus sans ordonnance, et en quoi le discours sur le risque posé par les SAA influence leurs pratiques d'utilisation des SAA. L'étude avait deux objectifs : 1) trouver les sources d'informations consultées par les hommes GBTQ2+ qui songent à utiliser des SAA; et 2) révéler comment le discours du risque modifie l'expérience d'utilisation des SAA par les hommes GBTQ2+. MéTHODE: Les participants ont été recrutés en ligne et de bouche à oreille pour se prêter à des entretiens semi-directifs. Une méthode critique poststructurale et les théories du discours du risque et de la biopolitique ont servi à repérer les thématiques et à interpréter les données. RéSULTATS: En tout, 17 entretiens ont été menés auprès d'hommes adultes GBTQ2+ cisgenres et transgenres. Trois thèmes en sont ressortis : 1) Les sources de savoir et de vérité non autorisées consultées par les utilisateurs actuels et éventuels des SAA se contredisaient et étaient difficiles à évaluer; 2) Les sources autorisées, dont les professionnels de santé, réagissaient contradictoirement; et 3) Les hommes GBTQ2+ produisaient et partageaient des savoirs non professionnels ­ une forme de réduction des méfaits d'inspiration communautaire. CONCLUSION: La complexité des tâches de recherche et d'évaluation des informations fait ressortir la nature privilégiée des informations fiables et exactes à ce sujet. Le discours du risque met les hommes GBTQ2+ qui font usage de SAA dans la position de devoir produire des savoirs non professionnels et cultiver leurs propres « vérités ¼ à ce sujet, ce qui peut causer des méfaits évitables. La santé publique doit se pencher sur ces effets biopolitiques en considérant ces formes de savoirs non professionnelles comme une ressource non exploitée et en concevant des programmes de réduction des méfaits accessibles et sans jugements pour les personnes GBTQ2+ qui utilisent des SAA.

20.
BMC Health Serv Res ; 23(1): 370, 2023 Apr 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2293593

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Emergency Departments (EDs) have become critical 'touchpoints' for the identification and early engagement of patients at risk of overdose or who have an opioid use disorder (OUD). Our objectives were to examine patients' ED experiences, identify barriers and facilitators of service uptake in ED settings, and explore patients' experiences with ED staff. METHODS: This qualitative study was part of a randomized controlled trial that evaluated the effectiveness of clinical social workers and certified peer recovery specialists in increasing treatment uptake and reducing opioid overdose rates for people with OUD. Between September 2019 and March 2020, semi-structured interviews were conducted 19 participants from the trial. Interviews sought to assess participants' ED care experiences across intervention type (i.e., clinical social worker or peer recovery specialist). Participants were purposively sampled across intervention arm (social work, n = 11; peer recovery specialist, n = 7; control, n = 1). Data were analyzed thematically with a focus on participant experiences in the ED and social and structural factors shaping care experiences and service utilization. RESULTS: Participants reported varied ED experiences, including instances of discrimination and stigma due to their substance use. However, participants underscored the need for increased engagement of people with lived experience in ED settings, including the use of peer recovery specialists. Participants highlighted that ED provider interactions were critical drivers of shaping care and service utilization and needed to be improved across EDs to improve post-overdose care. CONCLUSIONS: While the ED provides an opportunity to reach patients at risk of overdose, our results demonstrate how ED-based interactions and service provision can impact ED care engagement and service utilization. Modifications to care delivery may improve experiences for patients with OUD or at high risk for overdose. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinical trial registration: NCT03684681.


Subject(s)
Drug Overdose , Opiate Overdose , Opioid-Related Disorders , Humans , Opiate Overdose/drug therapy , Emergency Service, Hospital , Opioid-Related Disorders/therapy , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Qualitative Research , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use
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