Machine-Based Opioid Dispensing Reduced Drug-Related Harms

published on May 30, 2023 by Richard Mark Kirkner in Medscape

A British Columbia program that uses biometric dispensing machines to supply pharmaceutical-grade opioids to patients with opioid use disorder reduced drug-related harms and could potentially overcome barriers that hamper other safer supply strategies, an analysis has found.

Characteristics that encouraged use of the biometric supply platform included accessibility and participant choice, a lack of consequences for missing doses, witness-free dosing, lack of judgment, and an ability to accumulate doses. Barriers included technical issues with the dispensing machine, dosing challenges, and prescriptions being tied to individual machines.

“What’s at stake here is providing greater autonomy, accessibility, and really just the flexibility with medication dosing and how medication is dispensed, compared to other programs — not just other safer opioid supply programs in Canada, but also thinking about treatments such as methadone or buprenorphine,” lead researcher Geoff Bardwell, PhD, a research scientist with the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) and an assistant professor at the School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, told Medscape Medical News…

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