Safer supply programs rapidly increased during COVID-19: UBC study

published on June 16, 2022 by Cheryl Chan in Vancouver Sun

Access to a safer supply of pharmaceutical-grade alternatives to an increasingly toxic drug supply got a boost during COVID-19, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of B.C. found that the number of safer supply sites in Canada nearly tripled from 21 in March 2020 to 60 in May 2020.

B.C., which was the first province to introduce prescribed safer supply, saw the most dramatic increase, jumping from two in March 2020 to 56 two months later.

The province’s safer supply program used guidelines drawn up in March 2020 by the B.C. Centre on Substance Use in response to the continuing opioid overdose crisis and the burgeoning COVID pandemic, which experts feared could exacerbate overdose deaths by disrupting the global drug supply chain, reducing access to harm reduction services and isolating people who use drugs…

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