Substance Use News April 2020

Substance Use News provides a snapshot of news and resources for those working to support folks who use substances. We share pieces on the social, medical and political responses to the opioid crisis, from advocacy to welcome change. With the added layer of the coronoavirus/COVID-19 public health constraints, those working in harm reduction have heightened concerns about how to provide the safest, most dignified support to people who use drugs. For COVID-19 specific resources, including harm reduction resources, please visit our COVID-19 resources page.  See our Drug Use and Overdose Response page for resources on overdose services, team resilience, governmental reports, policy recommendations, and more.



Accessing a safe supply
This information from BC and Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors offers maps for services and drug user groups; safe supply resources; information for pharmacists and prescribers, and more.
Webinar: COVID-19, Substance Use, and Safer Supply: Clinical guidance to reduce risk of infection and overdose. Link takes you to a registration page before you can access recording. Presented by Matthew Bonn, Guy Felicella, Cheyenne Johnson, and Dr. Andrea Sereda.


Webinar: Supporting Harm Reduction in COVID 19 Shelter and Self Isolation
Dr. Christy Sutherland, Medical Director of the Portland Hotel Society, presents strategies for supporting people who use drugs when they are in self-isolation or social distancing, discuss prescribing practices and how to help people stay away from the illicit drug market. Includes information on access for people who don’t have a doctor.


Impacts of COVID-19 on Substance Use
The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction has put together resources on COVID-19 and substance use. They feature resources from websites and organizations from around the world, as well publications from their experts. For smooth searching, they are organized by types of resources, audiences and specific topics.




Flood: The Overdose Epidemic in Canada

Flood: The Overdose Epidemic in Canada is a documentary that aims to reduce the stigma around substance use disorder (SUD) and inspire others to take action. Many key players in the Canadian drug policy and harm reduction community contributed to this documentary.


Helping those who use substances during the COVID-19 pandemic
BC Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy talks about both public health emergencies. “I want to encourage anyone who is facing these challenges, or knows someone who is, to talk to their health care provider. In order to benefit from the new guidance, people don’t need to have been accessing substance use treatment already. People living with addiction shouldn’t have to risk their lives to get the safe prescription medication they need.”


Release from incarceration during the concurrent COVID-19 and opioid use crises 
Prison health is an intrinsic part of public health. Like few emergencies before, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how much we are each connected with every other member of our community.







Questions? Feedback? Get in touch! Janet Madsen, Capacity Building  and Knowledge Translation Coordinator, [email protected]


Focus image by Andrew, Flickr (Creative Commons)