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Home > A community responds to the COVID-19 pandemic: a case study in protecting the health and human rights of people who use drugs.

Heimer, Robert and McNeil, Ryan and Vlahov, David (2020) A community responds to the COVID-19 pandemic: a case study in protecting the health and human rights of people who use drugs. Journal of Urban Health , 97 , (4) , pp. 448-456. doi: 10.1007/s11524-020-00465-3.

URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC73847...

Effective responses to a global pandemic require local action. In the face of a pandemic or similar emergencies, communities of people who use drugs face risks that result from their ongoing drug use, reduced ability to secure treatment for drug use and correlated maladies, lack of access to preventive hygiene, and the realities of homelessness, street-level policing, and criminal justice involvement. Herein, we document the efforts of a coalition of people who use drugs, advocates, service providers, and academics to implement solutions to reduce these risks at a municipal and state level focusing on New Haven and the State of Connecticut. This coalition identified the communities at risk: active users needing access to harm reduction services, persons in treatment needing access to their medications, the homeless and marginally housed needing improved hygiene, people engaged in sex work, and the incarcerated needing release from custody. The section describing each of the risks demonstrates how the coalition acted preemptively at early stages of the pandemic, ahead of official initiatives, to develop ameliorative risk reduction solutions. Outcomes discussed include instances in which obstacles were overcome or still remain.


Item Type
Article
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
Date
August 2020
Identification #
doi: 10.1007/s11524-020-00465-3
Pages
448-456
Page Range
pp. 448-456
Publisher
Springer
Volume
97
Number
4
EndNote

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