Overdose risk twice as high on welfare day: Study

published on September 24, 2014 by Matt Kieltyka in Metro News

Recipients of income assistance who use drugs are more than two times more at risk of overdose on cheque day, according to a new study.

The Urban Health Research Initiative (UHRI) at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS published its latest findings in The International Journal of Drug Policy after tracking welfare recipients at the supervised injection facility Insite.

Researchers found that the risk of overdose was over two times more likely when they received their monthly cheque on the last Wednesday of the month, or immediately after.

The risk doesn’t necessarily come from an increased number of injections, “but rather riskier injections taking place at the time,” the study found.

The findings are consistent with increases in activity at emergency departments and police service demands on or after cheque day.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Thomas Kerr, said in a statement that the findings are “a strong justification for exploring alternative approaches to how income assistance is delivered in BC”

View the full article