COVID-19 increased risk of overdose due to poorer drug quality: SFU study

published on May 11, 2022 by Cheryl Chan in Vancouver Sun

The COVID-19 pandemic heightened the risk of overdose because of a decline in the quality of drugs, according to a study that authors say highlights the need for a safer supply not just for people who use opioids, but also stimulants.

Researchers from Simon Fraser University surveyed 738 people who use drugs in Vancouver and found that nearly 37 per cent reported using poorer quality drugs.

Those who reported a decline in the drug quality were more likely to report experiencing a recent non-fatal overdose, which is associated with an increased risk of a fatal overdose, said the study, which was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

“The results confirm and echo what the community has been saying … and it verified it with numbers and modelling and data,” said Kora DeBeck, the senior author and an SFU associate professor. “We spoke with over 700 individuals. It wasn’t a small pocket of people. This was quite a widespread experience.”…

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