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Addressing the dual public health crises of COVID-19 and overdose

COVID-19 Research Area(s): Epidemiology & Public Health, Healthcare Delivery & Policy

A team led by Dr. Amanda Slaunwhite, senior scientist with the BC Centre for Disease Control and an adjunct professor in the School of Population and Public Health at UBC, is receiving $777,439 from CIHR and $75,000 from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. The researchers will assess the impact of the new risk-mitigation guidance that permits prescribing of pharmaceutical alternatives to the toxic drug supply. Researchers will determine the effects of the pandemic and risk mitigation measures on COVID-19 infection, continuity of care for treatment of substance use disorders and non-fatal and fatal overdose in BC. The researchers will also identify barriers and facilitators to implementation from the perspectives of people who use substances, prescribers, harm reduction workers, and other providers and community members.

The team is led by principal investigators at UBC, the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR) at the University of Victoria (Dr. Bernie Pauly and Dr. Karen Urbanoski) and Simon Fraser University (Dr. Bohdan Nosyk and Dr. Natt Hongdilokkul). The team includes co-investigators and collaborators from the First Nations Health Authority, Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, BC Centre on Substance Use, the BCCDC-based Compassion Inclusion and Engagement (CIE) (PEEP) peer network, Provincial Health Services Authority, BC-Yukon Assoc