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Evaluating risk mitigation measures to address the dual public health crises of COVID-19 and overdose
COVID-19 Research Area(s): Epidemiology & Public Health, Healthcare Delivery & Policy
There is a critical need for a comprehensive assessment of the impact of PALS (pharmaceutical alternatives for illicit and licit substances) on COVID-19 transmission and uptake of physical distancing measures. Evidence is needed within a short time frame to assist decision-makers when reassessing the federal exemption and clinical guidance that expires Sept. 30, 2020.18 Research is also needed to support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 and to monitor secondary effects among PWUS (e.g., access to services, continuity of care, risk of drug-related harms).
We propose a mixed-methods evaluation of the implementation of PALS and its impacts on COVID-19 infection and drug-related harms, including overdose. Specific objectives are to:
1) Determine the impact of PALS on COVID-19 infection, continuity of care for SUD and concurrent health conditions, non-fatal/fatal overdose, and all-cause mortality among PWUS.
2) Determine the impact of PALS on the uptake of public health measures introduced to reduce the spread of COVID-19, as well as other behavioral and psychosocial outcomes among PWUS.
3) Identify barriers and facilitators to PALS implementation based on program uptake and the perspectives of PWUS, health care providers, outreach workers, prescribers, and other stakeholders.