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Did Florida’s first needle exchange programme result in fewer items of used injecting equipment being left in public places? The answer comes from a walkthrough of Miami neighbourhoods and interviews with people who inject drugs before and after the programme opened its doors.
A UK-based project placed a dedicated full-time hepatitis C nurse into a drug and alcohol treatment service. The experiences of people who inject drugs and attended the service reveal the degree to which this strategy can remove barriers to the infection treatment so crucial to containing the virus.
Emergency department physicians regularly treat people who have had an opioid overdose, but they may not be making the most of the opportunity to provide take-home naloxone. Can a prompt in the patients’ electronic health records boost prescribing of this lifesaving ‘overdose antidote’?
HOT TOPIC 2020 HTM file
Time for safer injecting spaces in Britain?
‘Hot topics’ offer background and analysis on important issues which sometimes generate heated debate. Drug consumption rooms are a particularly contentious form of harm reduction, viewed on one hand as a practical, humane, life-saving approach to dangerous drug use, and on the other, as an endorsement of drugtaking and a dereliction of the duty to treat people dependent on drugs.
For people who share injecting equipment, ‘low dead space’ syringes may lead to a reduced risk of becoming infected with blood-borne viruses by limiting the volume of fluid that is drawn up but not injected. However, they may not (yet) be suitable for all types of injectors or injections.
How does an intervention designed to enhance coordination and continuity of services, known as ‘case management’, compare to treatment as usual? Is there any evidence to suggest that it can directly or indirectly improve recovery outcomes?
How do different pathways for the treatment of problem opioid use compare under real-world conditions? For US patients with health insurance, opioid substitution therapy was associated with the greatest risk reduction. However, its protective effect may not be fully realised while federal and insurance plan restrictions continue to limit access to this treatment option.
In the Canadian province of British Columbia there was a rapid rise in overdose deaths from 2015, leading to the declaration of a public health emergency in 2016. The response rested on three key interventions: take-home naloxone, opioid substitution therapy, and drug consumption rooms. The province’s highly detailed surveillance data offered an opportunity to estimate their collective and individual impacts on opioid overdose deaths.
A Danish programme targeted potential bystanders of opioid overdoses, providing training and supplies of the ‘overdose antidote’ naloxone. People who use opioids were the most likely to intervene in an overdose situation, highlighting their positive role as “public health collaborators”.
HOT TOPIC 2020 HTM file
‘Dignity first’: improving the lives of homeless people who drink and take drugs
One of our hot topics offering background and analysis on important issues which sometimes generate heated debate. Putting people with experiences of homelessness and substance use problems at the centre of social policy, this hot topic asks what solutions would look like if they prioritised saving lives and improving lives.
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