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1.
J Psychoactive Drugs ; : 1-9, 2022 May 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1864822

ABSTRACT

Social inequities made some sociodemographic groups - including those of older age, minoritized race/ethnicity, and low socioeconomic status - disproportionately vulnerable to morbidity and mortality associated with the opioid epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic. Given shared vulnerability to these public health crises, it is critical to understand how COVID-19 impacts substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and recovery among people with these characteristics. The current study examined COVID-19's perceived impact on treatment factors and psychosocial outcomes by sociodemographic vulnerability. Patients receiving SUD treatment with a history of opioid misuse were recruited. Participants completed self-report questionnaires regarding the impact of COVID-19 on treatment indicators and mood and substance use symptoms. Most participants reported that COVID-19 decreased their treatment access and quality. There were no sociodemographic differences in treatment factors. Those with high sociodemographic vulnerability reported greater pandemic-related increases in depression and demonstrated greater mood symptoms. Post-hoc analyses demonstrated that unmet basic needs were significantly associated with lower treatment access and quality, greater mood symptoms, and higher substance use. Findings suggest pandemic-related stressors and barriers affected those across the sociodemographic spectrum. Treatment systems must address socioeconomic barriers to care exacerbated by the pandemic and bolster integrated treatment options for opioid use and mood disorders.

2.
Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering ; 83(7-B):No Pagination Specified, 2022.
Article in English | APA PsycInfo | ID: covidwho-1857035

ABSTRACT

Purpose: This quality improvement (QI) project utilized an educational intervention to increase healthcare providers' (HCPs) willingness to coprescribe naloxone (Narcan) as a mitigation strategy to reduce fatal opioid overdoses.Background: In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies issued statements that opioids were not addictive, which resulted in overprescribing of opioids, and subsequently, a rise in overdoses that has increased since the emergence of COVID-19. Methods: A 15-minute, asynchronous online educational intervention summarized the epidemiology and health disparities associated with opioid-induced overdoses, described the evidence of naloxone distribution, explained the patient criteria and applicable laws for prescribing naloxone, and provided examples of administration methods and patient-centered approaches for discussing naloxone. An anonymous pre/post-survey evaluated HCPs motivations, barriers, and intent and their willingness to coprescribe naloxone as a harm reduction strategy at one federally qualified health center (FQHC) in Arizona.Results: The seven project participants generally had positive attitudes about naloxone. Baseline motivation and comfort levels to discuss naloxone as a harm reduction strategy were high;however, communication strategies and fixed time constraints were reported as potential barriers. Perceived barriers did not impact overall willingness to coprescribe naloxone. Participants with a behavioral health background were more likely to view naloxone administration as an opportunity to seek long-term treatment than those in the primary care specialty. Additionally, this QI project incidentally found a discrepancy between local and state policies for naloxone prescribing.Conclusions: The opioid epidemic continues to have devastating consequences due to addiction and misuse, resulting in high mortality rates due to unintentional or accidental overdoses. Coprescribing naloxone, a proven antidote to reverse an opiate-induced overdose, may help combat this national health crisis. HCPs who are well informed may be more likely to coprescribe naloxone and the intervention in this QI project successfully enhanced participant familiarity with the Arizona standing orders. Primary care, compared to behavioral health, providers may need additional education to improve willingness to coprescribe naloxone. Recommendations include that the FQHC continue efforts to create a culture where naloxone prescribing, and overdose prevention education becomes a routine in clinical practice for both primary care and behavioral health specialties. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)

3.
BMC Emerg Med ; 22(1): 62, 2022 04 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1840946

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Opioid-related overdoses cause substantial numbers of preventable deaths. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist available in take-home naloxone (THN) kits as a lifesaving measure for opioid overdose. As the emergency department (ED) is a primary point of contact for patients with high-risk opioid use, evidence-based recommendations from the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia THN practice guidelines include the provision of THN, accompanied by psychosocial interventions. However, implementation of these guidelines in practice is unknown. This study investigated ED opioid-related overdose presentations, concordance of post-overdose interventions with the THN practice guidelines, and the impact, if any, of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic on case presentations. METHODS: A single-centre retrospective audit was conducted at a major tertiary hospital of patients presenting with overdoses involving opioids and non-opioids between March to August 2019 and March to August 2020. Patient presentations and interventions delivered by the paramedics, ED and upon discharge from the ED were collated from medical records and analysed using descriptive statistics, chi square and independent T-tests. RESULTS: The majority (66.2%) of patients presented to hospital with mixed drug overdoses involving opioids and non-opioids. Pharmaceutical opioids were implicated in a greater proportion (72.1%) of overdoses than illicit opioids. Fewer patients presented in March to August 2020 as compared with 2019 (26 vs. 42), and mixed drug overdoses were more frequent in 2020 than 2019 (80.8% vs. 57.1%). Referral to outpatient psychology (22.0%) and drug and alcohol services (20.3%) were amongst the most common post-discharge interventions. Naloxone was provided to 28 patients (41.2%) by the paramedics and/or ED. No patients received THN upon discharge. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights opportunities to improve ED provision of THN and other interventions post-opioid overdose. Large-scale multi-centre studies are required to ascertain the capacity of EDs to provide THN and the impact of COVID-19 on opioid overdose presentations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Opiate Overdose , Aftercare , Analgesics, Opioid , COVID-19/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/drug therapy , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Emergency Service, Hospital , Humans , Naloxone/therapeutic use , Patient Discharge , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Tertiary Care Centers
4.
Pain Physician ; 25(2):97-124, 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1812860

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, data has shown that age-adjusted overdose death rates involving synthetic opioids, psychostimulants, cocaine, and heroin have been increasing, including prescription opioid deaths, which were declining, but, recently, reversing the trends. Contrary to widely held perceptions, the problem of misuse, abuse, and diversion of prescription opioids has been the least of all the factors in recent years. Consequently, it is important to properly distinguish between the role of illicit and prescription opioids in the current opioid crisis. Multiple efforts have been based on consensus on administrative policies for certain harm reduction strategies for individuals actively using illicit drugs and reducing opioid prescriptions leading to curbing of medically needed opioids, which have been ineffective. While there is no denial that prescription opioids can be misused, abused, and diverted, the policies have oversimplified the issue by curbing prescription opioids and the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of severely limiting prescription opioids, without acknowledgement that opioids have legitimate uses for persons suffering from chronic pain. Similar to the opioid crisis, interventional pain management procedures have been affected by various policies being applied to reduce overuse, abuse, and finally utilization. Medical policies have been becoming more restrictive with reduction of access to certain procedures, with the pendulum swinging too far in the direction of limiting interventional techniques. Recent utilization assessments have shown a consistent decline for most interventional techniques, with a 18.7% decrease from 2019 to 2020. The causes for these dynamic changes are multifactorial likely including the misapplication of the 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain, the relative ease of access to illicit synthetic opioids and more recently issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, recent publications have shown association of dose tapering with overdose or mental health crisis among patients prescribed long-term opioids. These findings are leading to the hypothesis that federal guidelines may inadvertently be contributing to an increase in overall opioid deaths and diminished access to interventional techniques. Together, these have resulted in a fourth wave of the opioid epidemic. METHODS: A narrative review. RESULTS: The fourth wave results from a confluence of multiple factors, including misapplication of CDC guidelines, the increased availability of illicit drugs, the COVID-19 pandemic, and policies reducing access to interventional procedures. The CDC guidelines and subsequent regulatory atmosphere have led to aggressive tapering up to and including, at times, the overall reduction or stoppage of opioid prescriptions. Forced tapering has been linked to an increase of 69% for overdoses and 130% for mental health crisis. The data thus suggests that the diminution in access to opioid prescriptions may be occurring simultaneously with an increase in illicit narcotic use. Combined with CDC guidelines, the curbing of opioid prescriptions to medically needed individuals, among non-opioid treatments, interventional techniques have been affected with declining utilization rates and medical policies reducing access to such modalities. CONCLUSION: The opioid overdose waves over the past three decades have resulted from different etiologies. Wave one was associated with prescription opioid overdose deaths and wave two with the rise in heroin and overdose deaths from 1999 to 2013. Wave three was associated with a rise in synthetic opioid overdose deaths. Sadly, wave four continues to escalate with increasing number of deaths as a confluence of factors including the CDC guidelines, the COVID pandemic, increased availability of illicit synthetic opioids and the reduction of access to interventional techniques, which leads patients to seek remedies on their own.

5.
Subst Abus ; 43(1): 988-992, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1795544

ABSTRACT

Background: The co-occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic and opioid epidemic has increased the risk of overdose and death for patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). COVID-19 has also exacerbated already limited access to opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution (OEND). In this context, we aim to increase access to OEND for patients at risk for opioid overdose. Methods: Medical student volunteers were trained to conduct telephone-based OEND, and subsequently contacted all patients at a NYC primary care clinic for people who use drugs as well as those presenting to the hospital with OUD or a history of opioid overdose. Interested patients who completed the training received naloxone kits via mail or at hospital discharge. Results: OEND provision was converted to a remote-only model from May to June 2020. During this time, eight pre-clinical medical students called a total of 503 high-risk patients. Of these patients, 165 were reached, with 90 (55%) accepting telephone-based OEND. Comparing across populations, 51% of primary care patients versus 76% of ED/hospitalized patients accepted opioid overdose education. Eighty-four total patients received naloxone. Conclusions: We have outlined a scalable, adaptable model by which clinics and hospitals with affiliated medical schools can provide OEND by telephone. Medical student-driven, telephone-based OEND efforts can effectively reach at-risk patients and increase naloxone access.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Opiate Overdose , Opioid-Related Disorders , Students, Medical , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , Drug Overdose/drug therapy , Humans , Naloxone/therapeutic use , Narcotic Antagonists/therapeutic use , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Pandemics , Telephone
6.
JMIR Res Protoc ; 11(2): e33451, 2022 Feb 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1714914

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: As drug-related morbidity and mortality continue to surge, police officers are on the front lines of the North American overdose (OD) crisis. Drug law enforcement shapes health risks among people who use drugs (PWUD), while also impacting the occupational health and wellness of officers. Effective interventions to align law enforcement practices with public health and occupational safety goals remain underresearched. OBJECTIVE: The Opioids and Police Safety Study (OPS) aims to shift police practices relating to PWUD. It adapts and evaluates the relative effectiveness of a curriculum that bundles content on public health promotion with occupational risk reduction (ORR) to supplement a web-based OD response and naloxone training platform (GetNaloxoneNow.org, or GNN). This novel approach has the potential to improve public health and occupational safety practices, including using naloxone to reverse ODs, referring PWUD to treatment and other supportive services, and avoiding syringe confiscation. METHODS: This longitudinal study uses a randomized pragmatic trial design. A sample of 300 active-duty police officers from select counties in Pennsylvania, Vermont, and New Hampshire with high OD fatality rates will be randomized (n=150 each) to either the experimental arm (GNN + OPS) or the control arm (GNN + COVID-19 ORR). A pre- and posttraining survey will be administered to all 300 officers, after which they will be administered quarterly surveys for 12 months. A subsample of police officers will also be qualitatively followed in a simultaneous embedded mixed-methods approach. Research ethics approval was obtained from the New York University Institutional Review Board. RESULTS: Results will provide an understanding of the experiences, knowledge, and perceptions of this sample of law enforcement personnel. Generalized linear models will be used to analyze differences in key behavioral outcomes between the participants in each of the 2 study arms and across multiple time points (anticipated minimum effect size to be detected, d=0.50). Findings will be disseminated widely, and the training products will be available nationally once the study is completed. CONCLUSIONS: The OPS is the first study to longitudinally assess the impact of a web-based opioid-related ORR intervention for law enforcement in the U.S. Our randomized pragmatic clinical trial aims to remove barriers to life-saving police engagement with PWUD/people who inject drugs by focusing both on the safety of law enforcement and evidence-based and best practices for working with persons at risk of an opioid OD. Our simultaneous embedded mixed-methods approach will provide empirical evaluation of the diffusion of the naloxone-based response among law enforcement. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrail.gov NCT05008523; https://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT05008523. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/33451.

7.
Psychiatry International ; 2(4):365, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1593030

ABSTRACT

Opioid use disorder is a well-established and growing problem in the United States. It is responsible for both psychosocial and physical damage to the affected individuals with a significant mortality rate. Given both the medical and non-medical consequences of this epidemic, it is important to understand the current treatments and approaches to opioid use disorder and acute opioid overdose. Naloxone is a competitive mu-opioid receptor antagonist that is used for the reversal of opioid intoxication. When given intravenously, naloxone has an onset of action of approximately 2 min with a duration of action of 60–90 min. Related to its empirical dosing and short duration of action, frequent monitoring of the patient is required so that the effects of opioid toxicity, namely respiratory depression, do not return to wreak havoc. Nalmefene is a pure opioid antagonist structurally similar to naltrexone that can serve as an alternative antidote for reversing respiratory depression associated with acute opioid overdose. Nalmefene is also known as 6-methylene naltrexone. Its main features of interest are its prolonged duration of action that surpasses most opioids and its ability to serve as an antidote for acute opioid overdose. This can be pivotal in reducing healthcare costs, increasing patient satisfaction, and redistributing the time that healthcare staff spend monitoring opioid overdose patients given naloxone.

8.
Pharmacy (Basel) ; 9(4)2021 Dec 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1593097

ABSTRACT

The SAFE-Home Opioid Management Education (SAFE-HOME) Naloxone Awareness pilot program utilized home health workers (HHWs) in rural settings to educate older adults prescribed opioids on naloxone access and use. This work expands the SAFE-HOME program to urban settings to prepare HHWs to educate community-dwelling older adults on opioid risks and life-saving naloxone. This prospective, interventional cohort study evaluated 60-min synchronous, virtual HHW educational training sessions describing opioid risks in older adults, opioid overdose signs and symptoms, and naloxone access and use. Knowledge assessments were conducted pre- and post-intervention via a pre-developed assessment tool in a repeated measure model. Outcomes included change in total opioid and naloxone knowledge, and baseline total and individual opioid and naloxone knowledge. Six educational sessions were held (n = 154). The average pre- and post-education scores were 62.7% (n = 108) and 83.5% (n = 82), respectively (p < 0.001). Of the 69 participants who completed both pre- and post-education assessments, the average change in total score was +19.6% (p < 0.001), opioid knowledge score -0.4% (p = 0.901), and naloxone knowledge score +32.9% (p < 0.001). At baseline, HHWs were knowledgeable on opioid risks, but lacked familiarity with naloxone access and use. Targeting HHWs with opioid and naloxone training positions them to effectively educate at-risk community-dwelling older adults.

9.
Public Health Rep ; 136(1_suppl): 72S-79S, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1495836

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Traditional public health surveillance of nonfatal opioid overdose relies on emergency department (ED) billing data, which can be delayed substantially. We compared the timeliness of 2 new data sources for rapid drug overdose surveillance-emergency medical services (EMS) and syndromic surveillance-with ED billing data. METHODS: We used data on nonfatal opioid overdoses in Kentucky captured in EMS, syndromic surveillance, and ED billing systems during 2018-2019. We evaluated the time-series relationships between EMS and ED billing data and syndromic surveillance and ED billing data by calculating cross-correlation functions, controlling for influences of autocorrelations. A case example demonstrates the usefulness of EMS and syndromic surveillance data to monitor rapid changes in opioid overdose encounters in Kentucky during the COVID-19 epidemic. RESULTS: EMS and syndromic surveillance data showed moderate-to-strong correlation with ED billing data on a lag of 0 (r = 0.694; 95% CI, 0.579-0.782; t = 9.73; df = 101; P < .001; and r = 0.656; 95% CI, 0.530-0.754; t = 8.73; df = 101; P < .001; respectively) at the week-aggregated level. After the COVID-19 emergency declaration, EMS and syndromic surveillance time series had steep increases in April and May 2020, followed by declines from June through September 2020. The ED billing data were available for analysis 3 months after the end of a calendar quarter but closely followed the trends identified by the EMS and syndromic surveillance data. CONCLUSION: Data from EMS and syndromic surveillance systems can be reliably used to monitor nonfatal opioid overdose trends in Kentucky in near-real time to inform timely public health response.


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid/poisoning , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Emergency Medical Services/statistics & numerical data , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Population Surveillance/methods , Public Health Surveillance/methods , Sentinel Surveillance , Analgesics, Opioid/administration & dosage , COVID-19/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Emergencies/epidemiology , Emergency Medical Services/trends , Humans , Kentucky/epidemiology , Pandemics , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 228: 109028, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385420

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Opioid-related morbidity and mortality has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet specific information about the communities most affected remains unknown. Our objective is to evaluate decedent-level associations with an opioid-related death following the implementation of stay-at-home orders in Los Angeles County. METHODS: This retrospective cohort study used data from the L.A. County Medical Examiner-Coroner to identify opioid-related deaths in 2019 and 2020. We used logistic regression to analyze the change in opioid-related deaths following a 30-day washout period after the start of stay-at-home orders. Independent variables included decedent age, gender, race and ethnicity, heroin or fentanyl present at the time of death, census tract-level education, and a scheduled drug prescription in the year before death. RESULTS: Opioid-related deaths in L.A. County are most common in census tracts where a small percentage of the population has a Bachelor's degree. Following stay-at-home orders, Non-Hispanic Caucasian individuals had significantly more opioid-related deaths than Hispanic individuals (risk ratio (RR): 1.82 [95 % CI, 1.10-3.02]; P < 0.05) after adjusting for age, gender, and heroin or fentanyl use. Racial and ethnic differences in mortality were not explained by census tract-level education or recent scheduled drug prescriptions. DISCUSSION: There has been an alarming rise in opioid-related deaths in L.A. County during 2020. The increase in opioid-related overdose deaths following the onset of COVID-19 and related policies occurred most often among Non-Hispanic Caucasian individuals. Further research on this trend's underlying cause is needed to inform policy recommendations during these simultaneous public health crises.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Humans , Los Angeles/epidemiology , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Pain Ther ; 10(1): 25-38, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1300548

ABSTRACT

In a 2018 report titled, Quantifying the Epidemic of Prescription Opioid Overdose Deaths, four senior analysts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including the head of the Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch, acknowledged for the first time that the number of prescription opioid overdose deaths reported by the CDC in 2016 was erroneous. The error, they said, was caused by miscoding deaths involving illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) as deaths involving prescribed fentanyl. To understand what caused this error, the authors examined the CDC's methodology for compiling drug-related mortality data, beginning with the source data obtained from approximately 2.8 million death certificates received each year from state vital statistics registrars. Systemic problems often begin outside the CDC, with a surprisingly high rate of errors and omissions in the source data. Using the CDC's explanation for what caused the error, the authors show why an international program used by the CDC for reporting mortality is ill-suited for compiling and reporting drug overdose deaths. Except for heroin, methadone, and opium, each of which has an individual program code, all other opioids are separated in just two program codes according to whether they are synthetic or semisynthetic/opiates. Methadone-involved deaths pose a special problem for the CDC because methadone has dual indications for treating pain and for treating opioid use disorder (OUD). In 2019, more than seven times more methadone was administered or dispensed for OUD treatment than was prescribed for pain, yet all methadone-involved deaths are coded by the CDC as involving the prescribed form of the drug. The authors conclude that the CDC was at fault for failing to recognize and correct this problem before 2016. Public policy consequences of this failure are briefly mentioned.

12.
Int J Drug Policy ; 97: 103344, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1286291

ABSTRACT

Residents of rural areas have been a hard-to-reach population for researchers. Geographical isolation and lower population density in rural areas can make it particularly challenging to identify eligible individuals and recruit them for research studies. If the study is about a stigmatizing topic, such as opioid overdose, recruitment can be even more difficult due to confidentiality concerns and distrust of outside researchers. This paper shares lessons learned, both successes and failures, for recruiting a diverse sample of rural participants for a multi-state research study about naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal agent. In addition, because our recruitment spanned the period before and after the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., we share lessons learned regarding the transition to all remote recruitment and data collection. We utilized various recruitment strategies including rural community pharmacy referrals, community outreach, participant referrals, mass emails, and social media with varying degrees of success. Among these modalities, pharmacist referrals and community outreach produced the highest number of participants. The trust and rapport that pharmacists have with rural community members eased their concerns about working with unknown researchers from outside their communities and facilitated study team members' ability to contact those individuals. Even with the limited in-person options during the pandemic, we reached our recruitment targets by employing multiple recruitment strategies with digital flyers and emails. We also report on the importance of establishing trust and maintaining honest communication with potential participants as well as how to account for regional characteristics to identify the most effective recruitment methods for a particular rural area. Our suggested strategies and recommendations may benefit researchers who plan to recruit underrepresented minority groups in rural communities and other historically hard-to-reach populations for future studies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Rural Population , Humans , Pandemics , Patient Selection , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 225: 108783, 2021 08 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1240283

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: To determine how clinicians with a DATA waiver to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder (OUD) adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic to emergency authorities, including use of telehealth to prescribe buprenorphine, the challenges faced by clinicians, and strategies employed by them to manage patients with OUD. METHODS: From June 23, 2020 to August 19, 2020, we conducted an electronic survey of U.S. DATA-waivered clinicians. Descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic regression were used for analysis. RESULTS: Among 10,238 respondents, 68 % were physicians, 25 % nursing-related providers, and 6% physician assistants; 28 % reported never prescribing or not prescribing in the 12 months prior to the survey. Among the 72 % of clinicians who reported past 12-month buprenorphine prescribing (i.e. active practitioners during the pandemic) 30 % reported their practice setting closed to in-person visits during COVID-19; 33 % reported remote prescribing to new patients without an in-person examination. The strongest predictors of remote buprenorphine prescribing to new patients were prescribing buprenorphine to larger numbers of patients in an average month in the past year and closure of the practice setting during the pandemic; previous experience with remote prescribing to established patients prior to COVID-19 also was a significant predictor. Among clinicians prescribing to new patients without an in-person examination, 5.5 % reported difficulties with buprenorphine induction, most commonly withdrawal symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Telehealth practices and prescribing to new patients without an in-person examination were adopted by DATA-waivered clinicians during the first six months of COVID-19. Permanent adoption of these authorities may enable expanded access to buprenorphine treatment.


Subject(s)
Buprenorphine/therapeutic use , COVID-19/epidemiology , Drug Prescriptions/statistics & numerical data , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Pandemics , Practice Patterns, Physicians'/legislation & jurisprudence , Telemedicine , Adult , Aged , Female , Health Care Surveys , Health Services Accessibility , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , United States/epidemiology
14.
J Clin Pharm Ther ; 46(4): 861-866, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1207430

ABSTRACT

WHAT IS KNOWN AND OBJECTIVE: Deaths due to opioid-induced respiratory depression (OIRD) continue to rise despite intense regulatory and professional actions. COVID-19 has only worsened this situation.1 An opioid receptor antagonist (ORA) such as naloxone is the most common intervention for OIRD. However, with increasing overdose from highly potent illicit opioids and polysubstance abuse, appraisal of the adequacy of ORA seems warranted and timely. COMMENT: OIRD results from the binding of an excess number of agonist molecules to opioid receptors. Mechanistically, it makes sense to reverse this by displacing agonist molecules by administering an ORA. But realistically, the trend to higher-potency agonists and polysubstance abuse diminishes the effectiveness of this approach. We are left facing a crisis without a solution. WHAT IS NEW AND CONCLUSION: For the increasingly common OIRD from highly potent illicit agonists and polysubstance overdose, ORAs are correspondingly less effective. Alternatives are needed-soon.


Subject(s)
Drug Overdose/etiology , Illicit Drugs/poisoning , Narcotic Antagonists/therapeutic use , Drug Overdose/drug therapy , Humans , Opiate Overdose/drug therapy
15.
J Subst Abuse Treat ; 129: 108390, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1192242

ABSTRACT

This brief commentary discusses how provider organizations from Indiana's Recovery Coach and Peer Support Initiative (RCPSI) adapted their practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions. The RCPSI, which is funded through the 21st Century Cures Act, placed peer recovery coaches (PRCs) in emergency departments (EDs) to link opioid overdose patients to medication for opioid use disorder. This commentary discusses how COVID-19 restrictions increased use of telehealth to replace in-person PRC contacts with patients, affected the timing of initial PRC contacts with patients, and led to allowances for Medicaid billing of recovery coach support sessions conducted via telehealth. Future research should further determine the effects of these changes on PRC services in the ED.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mentoring , Humans , Indiana , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States
16.
Int J Drug Policy ; 94: 103199, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1116850

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Access to naloxone is essential as the overdose crisis persists. We described barriers to accessing naloxone among individuals who requested and received the medication from a free mailed program and explored the relationship between how individuals with and without personal proximity to overdose learned about the program. METHODS: Secondary analysis of data from a web-based form collected 1st March 2020 to 31st January 2021. Access barriers, personal proximity to overdose (broadly defined as personally overdosing or witnessing/worrying about others overdosing), and method of learning about the program were categorized and described. RESULTS: Among 422 respondents, the most frequently reported barriers to accessing naloxone were: COVID quarantine (25.1%), lack of knowledge about access (13.2%), and cost (11.2%). Compared to those without personal proximity to overdose (38.2%), individuals with personal proximity (61.8%) heard about the program more often through an active online search (21.4% vs. 8.8%; p-value = 0.001) and less often through word of mouth (19.8% vs. 40.9%; p-value = <0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Longstanding barriers to naloxone access are compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, making mailing programs especially salient. Differences in ways that individuals with and without personal proximity to substance use and overdose learned about this program can inform how such programs can effectively reach their target audience.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Opioid-Related Disorders , Drug Overdose/drug therapy , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Humans , Naloxone/therapeutic use , Narcotic Antagonists/therapeutic use , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Pandemics , Philadelphia , SARS-CoV-2
17.
Int J Drug Policy ; 90: 103076, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-968524

ABSTRACT

This commentary highlights labour concerns and inequities within the harm reduction sector that hinder programs' ability to respond to converging public health emergencies (the overdose crisis and COVID-19), and potentially contribute to spread of the novel coronavirus. Many harm reduction programs continue to support people who use illicit drugs (PWUD) during the pandemic, yet PWUD working in harm reduction programs (sometimes termed 'peers') experience precarious labour conditions characterized by low wages, minimal employee benefits (such as paid sick leave) and high employment insecurity. Along with precarious labour conditions, PWUD face heightened vulnerabilities to COVID-19 and yet have been largely overlooked in global response to the pandemic. Operating under conditions of economic and legal precarity, harm reduction programs' reliance on precarious labour (e.g. on-call, temporary and unpaid work) renders some services vulnerable to staffing shortages and service disruptions during the pandemic, while also heightening the risk of virus transmission among workers, service users and their communities. We call for immediate policy and programmatic actions to strengthen working conditions within these settings with a priority on enhancing protections and supports for workers in peer roles.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Drug Users , Employment , Harm Reduction , Healthcare Disparities , Occupational Exposure/adverse effects , Occupational Health , Substance-Related Disorders/rehabilitation , COVID-19/transmission , Humans , Peer Group , Risk Assessment , Risk Factors , Substance-Related Disorders/complications
18.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 218: 108355, 2021 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-866644

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Expanding access to and utilization of naloxone is a vitally important harm reduction strategy for preventing opioid overdose deaths, particularly in vulnerable populations like Medicaid beneficiaries. The objective of this study was to characterize the landscape of monthly prescription fill limit policies in Medicaid programs and their potential implications for expanding naloxone use for opioid overdose harm reduction. METHODS: A cross-sectional, multi-modal online and telephonic data collection strategy was used to identify and describe the presence and characteristics of monthly prescription fill limit policies across state Medicaid programs. Contextual characteristics were described regarding each state's Medicaid enrollment, opioid prescribing rates, and overdose death rates. Data collection and analysis occurred between February and May 2020. RESULTS: Medicaid-covered naloxone fills are currently subject to monthly prescription fill limit policies in 10 state Medicaid programs, which cover 20 % of the Medicaid population nationwide. Seven of these programs are located in states ranking in the top 10 highest per-capita opioid prescribing rates in the country. However, 8 of these programs are located in states with opioid overdose death rates below the national average. CONCLUSIONS: Medicaid beneficiaries at high risk of opioid overdose living in states with monthly prescription fill limits may experience significant barriers to obtaining naloxone. Exempting naloxone from Medicaid prescription limit restrictions may help spur broader adoption of naloxone for opioid overdose mortality prevention, especially in states with high opioid prescribing rates. Achieving unfettered naloxone coverage in Medicaid is critical as opioid overdoses and Medicaid enrollment increase amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Drug Prescriptions , Medicaid/legislation & jurisprudence , Naloxone/therapeutic use , Narcotic Antagonists/therapeutic use , Analgesics, Opioid/poisoning , COVID-19 , Cross-Sectional Studies , Drug Overdose/drug therapy , Drug Overdose/mortality , Humans , Pandemics , Practice Patterns, Physicians' , Surveys and Questionnaires , United States/epidemiology
19.
J Subst Abuse Treat ; 119: 108153, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-813712

ABSTRACT

The global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) will exacerbate the negative health outcomes associated with the concurrent opioid overdose crisis in North America. COVID-19 brings unique challenges for practitioners who provide opioid use disorder (OUD) care. The majority of overdose deaths in the Canadian province of British Columbia occur in housing environments. Some supportive housing environments in Vancouver, British Columbia, have on-site primary care and substance use disorder treatment clinics. Some of these housing environments also include supervised consumption services. These housing environments needed to make adjustments to their care to adhere to COVID-19 physical distancing measures. Such adjustments included a pandemic withdrawal management program to provide patients with a pharmaceutical grade alternative to the toxic illicit drug supply, which allow patients to avoid the heightened overdose risk while using illicit drugs alone or potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19 while using drugs in a group setting. Other modifications to the OUD care continuum included modified supervised injection spaces to adhere to physical distancing, the use of personal protective equipment for overdose response, virtual platforms for clinical encounters, writing longer prescriptions, and providing take-home doses to promote opioid agonist treatment retention. These strategies aim to mitigate indoor overdose risk while also addressing COVID-19 risks.


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid/poisoning , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Opioid-Related Disorders/rehabilitation , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Analgesics, Opioid/supply & distribution , British Columbia , COVID-19 , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Housing , Humans , Illicit Drugs/poisoning , Illicit Drugs/supply & distribution , Needle-Exchange Programs , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Personal Protective Equipment , Risk , Substance Abuse Treatment Centers/statistics & numerical data
20.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 214: 108176, 2020 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-640296

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Individuals with opioid use disorder may be at heightened risk of opioid overdose during the COVID-19 period of social isolation, economic distress, and disrupted treatment services delivery. This study evaluated changes in daily number of Kentucky emergency medical services (EMS) runs for opioid overdose between January 14, 2020 and April 26, 2020. METHODS: We evaluated the statistical significance of the changes in the average daily EMS opioid overdose runs in the 52 days before and after the COVID-19 state of emergency declaration, March 6, 2020. RESULTS: Kentucky EMS opioid overdose daily runs increased after the COVID-19 state emergency declaration. In contrast, EMS daily runs for other conditions leveled or declined. There was a 17% increase in the number of EMS opioid overdose runs with transportation to an emergency department (ED), a 71% increase in runs with refused transportation, and a 50% increase in runs for suspected opioid overdoses with deaths at the scene. The average daily EMS opioid overdose runs with refused transportation increased significantly, doubled to an average of 8 opioid overdose patients refusing transportation every day during the COVID-19-related study period. CONCLUSIONS: This Kentucky-specific study provides empirical evidence for concerns that opioid overdoses are rising during the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for sharing of observations and analyses from different regions and surveillance systems with timely data collection (e.g., EMS data, syndromic surveillance data for ED visits) to improve our understanding of the situation, inform proactive response, and prevent another big wave of opioid overdoses in our communities.


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid/poisoning , Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Emergency Medical Services/statistics & numerical data , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , COVID-19 , Data Collection , Emergency Service, Hospital , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
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