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What you need to know

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected people who use drugs through major disruptions in substance supply and increased risk of relapses and overdoses. There has been a decrease in potency and availability, substitution for toxic and tampered substances, and increases in use, prices of substances, risky use behaviors such as using alone and at home more often, and sharing and re-using substance supplies, such as injection equipment. Future health policy and pandemic planning efforts should include improved supports and services, accessibility of safe supply programs, take home naloxone kits, and novel approaches to ensure people who use drugs have the tools necessary to mitigate these elevated risks when using substances.


This Research Snapshot is based on the article, “Changes in substance supply and use characteristics among people who use drugs (PWUD) during the COVID-19 global pandemic: A national qualitative assessment in Canada,” which was published in International Journal of Drug Policy in 2021.

Research Snapshots are brief, clear language summaries of research articles, presented in a user-friendly format.

Check out the full snapshot here.

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