Cheque day’ linked to increased risk of drug overdoses: Study

published on September 24, 2014 in News 1130

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – On that last Wednesday of every month, many people cash their government assistance cheques.

A BC study finds “Cheque Day” is linked to an increased risk of drug overdoses in the Downtown Eastside.

Researcher Lindsay Richardson with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS says the study focuses on people using the supervised injection site Insite. They found the risk increases right after people receive their payments.

“We found that on cheque day and the two days following government cheque issue days, the risk of overdose almost doubles. I think it’s worth noting that increased risk is independent of increases in drug use. So, what it is an increase in the rate of overdose per 1,000 injections [at] Insite.”

“Changing the dates on which people receive their income assistance decreases the amount of drug use, but we’re also checking to see if doing that disperses the demand for services around drug related harm. What we’re hoping to do is see whether that staggering decreases levels of drug use or whether it disperses drug use across the month,” Richardson explains.

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