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1.
Am J Public Health ; 112(S2): S151-S158, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1736599

ABSTRACT

Objectives. To explore the implementation and effectiveness of the British Columbia, Canada, risk mitigation guidelines among people who use drugs, focusing on how experiences with the illicit drug supply shaped motivations to seek prescription alternatives and the subsequent impacts on overdose vulnerability. Methods. From February to July 2021, we conducted qualitative interviews with 40 people who use drugs in British Columbia, Canada, and who accessed prescription opioids or stimulants under the risk mitigation guidelines. Results. COVID-19 disrupted British Columbia's illicit drug market. Concerns about overdose because of drug supply changes, and deepening socioeconomic marginalization, motivated participants to access no-cost prescription alternatives. Reliable access to prescription alternatives addressed overdose vulnerability by reducing engagement with the illicit drug market while allowing greater agency over drug use. Because prescriptions were primarily intended to manage withdrawal, participants supplemented with illicit drugs to experience enjoyment and manage pain. Conclusions. Providing prescription alternatives to illicit drugs is a critical harm reduction approach that reduces exposure to an increasingly toxic drug supply, yet further optimizations are needed. (Am J Public Health. 2022;112(S2):S151-S158. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2021.306692).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , British Columbia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Canada/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/drug therapy , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Emergencies , Humans
2.
Harm Reduct J ; 19(1): 9, 2022 02 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1666657

ABSTRACT

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


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Harm Reduction , Illicit Drugs , Police , Boston , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Humans , Pandemics , Violence
3.
Harm Reduct J ; 19(1): 5, 2022 01 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1630216

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The opioid epidemic is a rapidly growing public health concern in the USA, as the number of overdose deaths continues to increase each year. One strategy for combating the rising number of overdoses is through opioid overdose prevention programs (OOPPs). OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of an innovative OOPP, with changes in knowledge and attitudes serving as the primary outcome measures. METHODS: The OOPP was developed by a group of medical students under guidance from faculty advisors. Training sessions focused on understanding stigmatizing factors of opioid use disorder (OUD), as well as protocols for opioid overdose reversal through naloxone administration. Pre- and post-surveys were partially adapted from the opioid overdose attitudes and knowledge scales and administered to all participants. Paired t-tests were conducted to assess differences between pre- and post-surveys. RESULTS: A total of 440 individuals participated in the training; 381 completed all or the majority of the survey. Participants came from a diverse set of backgrounds, ages, and experiences. All three knowledge questions showed significant improvements. For attitude questions, significant improvements were found in all three questions evaluating confidence, two of three questions assessing attitudes towards overdose reversal, and four of five questions evaluating stigma and attitudes towards individuals with OUD. CONCLUSIONS: Our innovative OOPP was effective not only in increasing knowledge but also in improving attitudes towards overdose reversal and reducing stigma towards individuals with OUD. Given the strong improvements in attitudes towards those with OUD, efforts should be made to incorporate the unique focus on biopsychosocial and sociohistorical components into future OOPPs.


Subject(s)
Drug Overdose , Opiate Overdose , Opioid-Related Disorders , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , Drug Overdose/drug therapy , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Humans , Naloxone/therapeutic use , Narcotic Antagonists/therapeutic use , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Opioid-Related Disorders/prevention & control
4.
BMC Health Serv Res ; 21(1): 1279, 2021 Nov 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1538072

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Peer workers (those with lived/living experience of substance use working in overdose response settings) are at the forefront of overdose response initiatives in British Columbia (BC). Working in these settings can be stressful, with lasting social, mental and emotional impacts. Peer workers have also been disproportionately burdened by the current dual public health crises characterized by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and rise in illicit drug overdose deaths. It is therefore critical to develop supports tailored specifically to their realities. METHODS: We used the six steps outlined in the Intervention Mapping (IM) framework to identify needs of peer workers and design an intervention model to support peer workers in overdose response settings. RESULTS: Eight peer-led focus groups were conducted in community settings to identify peer workers' needs and transcripts were analyzed using interpretive description. The strategies within the intervention model were informed by organizational development theory as well as by lived/living experience of peer workers. The support needs identified by peer workers were categorized into three key themes and these formed the basis of an intervention model titled 'ROSE'; R stands for Recognition of peer work, O for Organizational support, S for Skill development and E for Everyone. The ROSE model aims to facilitate cultural changes within organizations, leading towards more equitable and just workplaces for peer workers. This, in turn, has the potential for positive socio-ecological impact. CONCLUSIONS: Centering lived/living experience in the intervention mapping process led us to develop a framework for supporting peer workers in BC. The ROSE model can be used as a baseline for other organizations employing peer workers.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Substance-Related Disorders , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Humans , Pandemics , Peer Group , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance-Related Disorders/epidemiology
6.
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
7.
Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf ; 47(8): 469-480, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1275440

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic within the COVID-19 pandemic, and veterans are twice as likely to die from accidental overdose compared to non-veterans. This article describes the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Rapid Naloxone Initiative, which aims to prevent opioid overdose deaths among veterans through (1) opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution (OEND) to VHA patients at risk for opioid overdose, (2) VA Police naloxone, and (3) select automated external defibrillator (AED) cabinet naloxone. METHODS: VHA has taken a multifaceted, theory-based approach to ensuring the rapid availability of naloxone to prevent opioid overdose deaths. Strategies targeted at multiple levels (for example, patient, provider, health care system) have enabled synergies to speed diffusion of this lifesaving practice. RESULTS: As of April 2021, 285,279 VHA patients had received naloxone from 31,730 unique prescribers, with 1,880 reported opioid overdose reversals with naloxone; 129 VHA facilities had equipped 3,552 VA Police officers with naloxone, with 136 reported opioid overdose reversals with VA Police naloxone; and 77 VHA facilities had equipped 1,095 AED cabinets with naloxone, with 10 reported opioid overdose reversals with AED cabinet naloxone. Remarkably, the COVID-19 pandemic had minimal impact on naloxone dispensing to VHA patients. CONCLUSION: The VHA Rapid Naloxone Initiative saves lives. VHA is sharing many of the tools and resources it has developed to support uptake across other health care systems. Health care systems need to work together to combat this horrific epidemic within a pandemic and prevent a leading cause of accidental death (opioid overdose).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Drug Overdose/drug therapy , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Humans , Naloxone/therapeutic use , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States , United States Department of Veterans Affairs , Veterans Health
8.
BMJ Open ; 11(6): e048353, 2021 06 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1263924

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic was preceded by an ongoing overdose crisis and linked to escalating drug overdose deaths in British Columbia (BC). At the outset of these dual public health emergencies, the BC government announced interim Risk Mitigation Guidance (RMG) that permitted prescribing medication alternatives to substances, including opioids, alcohol, stimulants and benzodiazepines, an intervention sometimes referred to as 'safe supply'. This protocol outlines the approach for a study of the implementation of RMG and its impacts on COVID-19 infection, drug-related and systemic harms, continuity of care for people with substance use disorder (SUD), as well as their behavioural, psychosocial and well-being outcomes. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We conducted a parallel mixed-method study that involved both analysis of population-level administrative health data and primary data collection, including a 10-week longitudinal observational study (target n=200), a cross-sectional survey (target n=200) and qualitative interviews (target n=60). We implemented a participatory approach to this evaluation, partnering with people with lived or living expertise of drug use, and researchers and public health decision-makers across the province. Linked population-level administrative databases will analyse data from a cohort of BC residents with an indication of SUD between 1996 and 2020. We will execute high-dimensional propensity score matching and marginal structural modelling to construct a control group and to assess the impact of RMG dispensation receipt on a collaboratively determined set of primary and secondary outcomes. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Study activities were developed to adhere to the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, recommended COVID-19 research practices, and guided by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action for public health, data governance and research ethics related to Indigenous people. Results will be disseminated incrementally, on an ongoing basis, through the consortium established for this study, then published in peer-reviewed journals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Substance-Related Disorders , British Columbia , Cross-Sectional Studies , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Humans , Observational Studies as Topic , Pandemics , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Harm Reduct J ; 18(1): 47, 2021 04 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1236557

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Naloxone distribution programs have been a cornerstone of the public health response to the overdose crisis in the USA. Yet people who use opioids (PWUO) continue to face a number of barriers accessing naloxone, including not knowing where it is available. METHODS: We used data from 173 PWUO from Anne Arundel County, Maryland, which is located between Baltimore City and Washington, DC. We assessed the prevalence of recently (past 6 months) receiving naloxone and currently having naloxone, the type(s) of the naloxone kits received, and the perceived ease/difficultly of accessing naloxone. We also assessed participants knowledge of where naloxone was available in the community. RESULTS: One third (35.7%) of participants had recently received naloxone. Most who had received naloxone received two doses (72.1%), nasal naloxone (86.9%), and education about naloxone use (72.1%). Most currently had naloxone in their possession (either on their person or at home; 78.7%). One third (34.4%) believed naloxone was difficult to obtain in their community. Only half (56.7%) knew of multiple locations where they could get naloxone. The health department was the most commonly identified naloxone source (58.0%). Identifying multiple sources of naloxone was associated with being more likely to perceive that naloxone is easy to access. DISCUSSION: Our results suggest that additional public health efforts are needed to make PWUO aware of the range of sources of naloxone in their communities in order to ensure easy and continued naloxone access to PWUO.


Subject(s)
Drug Overdose , Opioid-Related Disorders , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , Drug Overdose/drug therapy , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Humans , Naloxone/therapeutic use , Narcotic Antagonists/therapeutic use , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Prevalence , Public Health
10.
J Prev Interv Community ; 49(2): 136-151, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1230993

ABSTRACT

Opioid related drug overdose deaths are a leading cause of death and injury in the United States. While research demonstrates that where people live has a major impact on drug use and abuse, most work looks at social dynamics at the county level or under the rubric of the urban/rural divide. Only recently, scholarship has become attuned to the post-industrialized areas located on the fringes of urban cores. Data presented in here are from field research conducted in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, a small river town located east of Pittsburgh. Once a thriving industrial city, it is now deteriorated and has documented high levels of overdose experience. Preliminary results suggest that McKeesport residents, even before the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), practice social and physical distancing as a way of life; data indicate how the pandemic potentially exacerbates the risk of accidental opioid overdose among a population defined by both geographic and social isolation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Law Enforcement , Pandemics , Drug Overdose/mortality , Health Policy , Humans , Interviews as Topic , Pennsylvania , Physical Distancing , Poverty Areas , Risk Factors , Rural Population , Social Isolation , United States/epidemiology
13.
J Subst Abuse Treat ; 122: 108219, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065388

ABSTRACT

Opioid treatment programs (OTPs) operate within a rigid set of clinical guidelines and regulations that specify the number of required OTP visits for supervised administration of methadone. To ensure physical distancing in light of COVID-19, the federal government loosened regulations to allow for additional flexibility. As OTP providers in the Bronx, NY, caring for more than 3600 patients in the epicenter of both the overdose and COVID-19 pandemics, we describe how our clinical practice changed with COVID-19. We halted toxicology testing, and to promote physical distancing and prevent interruptions in access to treatment for medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), we drastically increased unsupervised take-home doses of MOUD. Within two weeks, we reduced the proportion of patients with 5-6 OTP visits per week from 47.2% to 9.4%. To guide treatment decision-making, we shifted focus from toxicology tests to other patient-centered measures, such as engagement in care and patient goals. In the initial three months, our patients experienced six nonfatal overdoses, no fatal overdoses, and 20 deaths attributable to COVID-19. This experience provides an opportunity to re-imagine care in OTPs going forward. We advocate that OTPs rely less on toxicology testing and more on the other patient-centered measures to guide decisions about distribution of take-home doses of MOUD. To minimize financial risk to OTPs and facilitate their transition to a more flexible model of care, we advocate for the reassessment of OTP reimbursement models.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Narcotic-Related Disorders/rehabilitation , Pandemics , Patient-Centered Care/organization & administration , Appointments and Schedules , Buprenorphine , Clinical Decision-Making , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/mortality , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Health Services Accessibility , Humans , Methadone/therapeutic use , Narcotic Antagonists/therapeutic use , Narcotic-Related Disorders/diagnosis , New York City , Opiate Substitution Treatment , Physical Distancing , Substance Abuse Detection
15.
J Subst Abuse Treat ; 122: 108210, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-939100

ABSTRACT

Opioid-related overdoses and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) represent two of the deadliest crises in United States' history and together constitute a syndemic. The intersecting risks of this syndemic underscore the urgent need to implement effective opioid use disorder (OUD) treatments that are sustainable amid COVID-19 mitigation strategies. In response to new federal guidance released during the pandemic, opioid treatment programs (OTPs) have quickly innovated to implement new systems of medication delivery. OTPs rapid implementation of new medication delivery models defies conventional wisdom about the pace of research transfer. As part of an ongoing cluster-randomized type 3 hybrid trial evaluating strategies to implement contingency management (CM), select staff of eight OTPs had been trained to deliver CM and were in the midst of receiving ongoing implementation support. As COVID-19 emerged, all eight OTPs mirrored trends in the addiction field and effectively adapted to federal/state demands to implement new methods of medication delivery. However, over the past few months, necessity has arguably been the mother of implementation. We have observed greater variance among these OTPs' success with the additional implementation of adjunctive CM. The speed and variability of innovation raises novel questions about drivers of implementation. We argue that the mother of the next innovation should be a public call for a progressive, thoughtful set of public health policies and other external setting levers to address the needs of those with OUD and the OTPs that serve them.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Opioid-Related Disorders/therapy , Pandemics , Ambulatory Care , Buprenorphine/therapeutic use , Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Evidence-Based Medicine , Health Plan Implementation , Humans , Opiate Substitution Treatment , Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
16.
Int J Drug Policy ; 88: 103015, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-917281

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The province of British Columbia (BC), Canada is amid dual public health emergencies in which the overdose epidemic declared in 2016 has been exacerbated by restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Experiential workers, commonly known as 'peers' (workers with past or present drug use experience) are at the forefront of overdose response initiatives and are essential in creating safe spaces for people who use drugs (PWUD) in harm reduction. Working in overdose response environments can be stressful, with lasting emotional and mental health effects. There is limited knowledge about the personal meaning that experiential workers derive from their work, which serve as motivators for them to take on these often-stressful roles. METHODS: This project used a community-based qualitative research design. The research was based at two organizations in BC. Eight experiential worker-led focus groups were conducted (n = 31) where participants spoke about their roles, positive aspects of their jobs, challenges they face, and support needs in harm reduction work. Transcripts were coded and analyzed using interpretative description to uncover the meaning derived from experiential work. RESULTS: Three themes emerged from focus group data that describe the meanings which serve as motivators for experiential workers to continue working in overdose response environments: (1) A sense of purpose from helping others; (2) Being an inspiration for others, and; (3) A sense of belonging. CONCLUSION: Despite the frequent hardships and loss that accompany overdose response work, experiential workers identified important aspects that give their work meaning. These aspects of their work may help to protect workers from the emotional harms associated with stressful work as well as the stigma of substance use. Recognizing the importance of experiential work and its role in the lives of PWUD can help inform and strengthen organizational supports.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Drug Users/psychology , Emotions , Motivation , Peer Influence , Preventive Health Services , Substance-Related Disorders/rehabilitation , Adult , Aged , British Columbia , Career Choice , Drug Overdose/psychology , Female , Focus Groups , Harm Reduction , Humans , Job Satisfaction , Male , Middle Aged , Qualitative Research , Substance-Related Disorders/psychology , Young Adult
17.
J Stud Alcohol Drugs ; 81(5): 556-560, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-841750

ABSTRACT

People who use drugs (PWUD) face concurrent public health emergencies from overdoses, HIV, hepatitis C, and COVID-19, leading to an unprecedented syndemic. Responses to PWUD that go beyond treatment--such as decriminalization and providing a safe supply of pharmaceutical-grade drugs--could reduce impacts of this syndemic. Solutions already implemented for COVID-19, such as emergency safe-supply prescribing and providing housing to people experiencing homelessness, must be sustained once COVID-19 is contained. This pandemic is not only a public health crisis but also a chance to develop and maintain equitable and sustainable solutions to the harms associated with the criminalization of drug use.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Hepatitis C/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Substance-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Syndemic , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Criminals , Drug Overdose/complications , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Emergency Medical Services , HIV Infections/complications , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Hepatitis C/complications , Hepatitis C/prevention & control , Housing , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Prescriptions , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance-Related Disorders/prevention & control , United States/epidemiology , United States Public Health Service
19.
PLoS One ; 15(9): e0238618, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-828976

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: British Columbia's (BC) Take-Home Naloxone (THN) program provides naloxone to bystanders for use in cases of suspected opioid overdose. This study seeks to provide trends and analysis from the provincial BC THN program since inception in 2012 to the end of 2018. MATERIALS AND METHODS: BC THN shipment and distribution records from 2012-2018 were retrieved. Frequency distributions were used to describe characteristics of individuals accessing the program. To evaluate correlates of distribution after the addition of hundreds of pharmacy distribution sites, an analytic sample was limited to records from 2018, and multivariate logistic regression was used to evaluate correlates of collecting naloxone at a pharmacy site. RESULTS: Since program inception to the end of 2018, there were 398,167 naloxone kits shipped to distribution sites, 149,999 kits reported distributed, and 40,903 kits reported used to reverse an overdose in BC. There was a significant increasing trend in the number of naloxone kits used to reverse an overdose over time (p<0.01), and more than 90% of kits that were reported used were distributed to persons at risk of an overdose. Individuals not personally at risk of overdose had higher odds of collecting naloxone at a pharmacy site, compared to other community sites (including harm reduction supply distribution sites, peer led organizations, drop-in centers, and supportive housing sites) (Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR): 2.69; 95% CI: 2.50-2.90). CONCLUSIONS: This study documents thousands of opioid overdose reversals facilitated through the BC THN program. While those at highest risk of overdose may preferentially access naloxone through community sites, naloxone distribution through pharmacies has allowed the BC THN program to expand dramatically, increasing naloxone availability through longer opening hours on evenings and weekends. and in rural and remote regions. A diversity of naloxone distribution sites and strategies is crucial to prevent rising opioid overdose deaths.


Subject(s)
Drug Overdose/drug therapy , Naloxone/therapeutic use , Narcotic Antagonists/therapeutic use , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Adult , British Columbia/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Female , Harm Reduction , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Naloxone/adverse effects , Narcotic Antagonists/adverse effects , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Opioid-Related Disorders/prevention & control , Pharmacies/trends
20.
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
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