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Home > COVID-19 and people who use drugs; seizing opportunity in times of chaos.

Wisse, Ernst and Burke-Shyne, Naomi and Chang, Judy and Southwell, Mat (2021) COVID-19 and people who use drugs; seizing opportunity in times of chaos. International Journal of Drug Policy , Early online . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.103097.

URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/...


COVID-19 holds the world in a tight grip. In these unprecedented times, health and health-system capacities have been on the top of the global agenda for several months. Many countries have rolled out far-reaching prevention measure such as physical distancing and ‘lock-downs’ to prevent (further) overwhelming of health system capacities.

In many contexts, people who use drugs are a vulnerable population, prone to poor access to health services compounded by criminalization, and stigmatisation in health-care settings.(UNAIDS, 2019),(Van Boekel, Brouwers, Van Weeghel, & Garretsen, 2013) This is illustrated in poor health outcomes and persisting high risk of infectious diseases. For instance, people who inject drugs are left behind in the progress of the global HIV response with less than 1% living in a country with high level of critical prevention services, such as access to sterile syringes and low-threshold opioid treatment programmes or opioid agonist therapy (OAT).(UNAIDS, 2019),(Larney et al., 2017)

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