COVID-19 increased risk of overdose due to poorer drug quality: study

B.C. declared a public well being emergency because of rising overdose deaths in 2016. Deaths from illicit drug toxicity reached report highs in 2020 and 2021, with 1,768 and a couple of,236 deaths respectively.

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The COVID-19 pandemic heightened the danger of overdose because of a decline within the high quality of medicine, mentioned a brand new research which authors say highlights the necessity for a safer provide not only for individuals who use opioids, but additionally stimulants.

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Between July and November 2020, researchers from Simon Fraser University surveyed 738 individuals who use medication in Vancouver and located that almost 37 per cent reported utilizing poorer high quality medication.

Those who reported a decline within the drug high quality had been extra prone to report experiencing a latest non-fatal overdose and report utilizing stimulants like cocaine, mentioned the research.

“The perception is that it’s the toxic drug supply of opioids that is killing people, but contaminated stimulants are also killing a high number of stimulant users,” mentioned co-author Kali Sedgemore, a youth hurt discount and peer navigator with the Molson Overdose Prevention Site in Vancouver, in a press release.

Sedgemore mentioned many youths use stimulants as a survival tactic to remain alert and protected on the streets. “Harm reduction and other services would help to support these realities for young people.”

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Although the presence of cocaine in overdose deaths in B.C. have declined from 2012 to 2020, it’s nonetheless the second most-detected substance in deadly overdoses.

According to the B.C. Coroners Service, cocaine was present in 44 per cent of illicit drug overdose deaths in 2020, the primary 12 months of the pandemic.

It was additionally detected in 46 per cent of accomplished circumstances from 2019 to 2021, second solely to fentanyl, which was detected in 85 per cent of circumstances.

B.C. declared a public well being emergency because of rising overdose deaths in 2016. Deaths from illicit drug toxicity reached report highs in 2020 and 2021, with 1,768 and a couple of,236 deaths respectively.

Researchers mentioned the decline in drug high quality throughout the pandemic is a world challenge believed to have been exacerbated by border closures and journey bans. Shortages in heroin and the manufacturing methamphetamines can also have led to drug producers substituting provide with artificial and extra highly effective opioids like fentanyl.

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The findings underscore requires a regulated and safer provide of medicine to stop overdose deaths from an more and more poisonous drug provide, mentioned researchers.

“Our study findings re-enforce what the community of people who use drugs has been saying since the pandemic was declared — the drug supply is increasingly toxic, dangerous, and unpredictable, and people need safer options if we’re going to help keep them alive,” mentioned senior creator Kora DeBeck, an affiliate professor in SFU’s School of Public Policy.

Debeck leads the At-Risk Youth Study, one in all three teams that participated within the research. The different two teams are the Vancouver Injection Drug Users Study and the AIDS Care Cohort to Evaluate Exposure to Survival Services.

The research was printed within the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

More to come back.

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