Key Takeaways ● Safe injection sites are preparing and taking precautions for pandemic spread o Starting to see increased overdoses & drug shortages o For inmates at jails that have reported positive COVID-19 cases, discharge plans are important to prevent overdosing if they are to be released ● Public health should take a holistic perspective beyond counting new COVID-19 cases and mortality o We need to start measuring unintended consequences of the pandemic like overdosing and unemployment o Adaptability is important to address these unintended consequences ▪ Ie: increasing virtual connections via videochat for seniors experiencing loneliness ● Addictions are rooted in social problems, and requires flexible management that address both medical and social concerns o Individuals who use drugs experience recurrent trauma and experiences with poverty o Need a long-term holistic approach, can’t rely on cold-turkey approaches Safe supply program ● Safe supply refers to the harm reduction principle of distributing substances as alternatives to street drugs that may be laced with fentanyl o Hydromorphone or suboxone are examples of safe supply substances ● Medication dispensing machines o Pilot program with 15 participants allows them to access safe supply pills from a machine ▪ Participants identified by a vein scanner built into the machine ▪ Machine has internal timer to determine if person is eligible to get another batch of medication ● Most participants receive a daily supply to self-administer o Still requires a doctor’s prescription and is documented on pharmacy records ▪ “This is just a lockbox for people’s drugs”, says Dr. Tyndall o Vancouver police embracing the machines as a crime prevention measure o Monthly maintenance cost per machine is $2500 ● Next steps o 5 more machines have been ordered to expand the program ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: Dr. Mark Tyndall gives an update on current harm reduction initiatives providing support to individuals who use drugs during the pandemic o Continue to advocate for harm reduction and garner support from the community Dr. Mark Tyndall is an epidemiologist, physician and public health expert. An early advocate for harm reduction programs, Tyndall was at the forefront of North America's first legally sanctioned supervised injection facility, INSITE, established in Vancouver in 2003. Dr. Tyndall received his Medical degree and internal medicine training at McMaster University and his infectious diseases fellowship training at the University of Manitoba. He received a doctoral degree in epidemiology from Harvard University with a focus on health and human rights. He has conducted international research and consultation in a number of countries and resided in Kenya for 4 years as part of the WHO collaborative research group on HIV. From 1999 to 2010 he was the Program Director for Epidemiology at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and was co-lead investigator on the evaluation of Insite, North America’s first supervised injection site. Interview took place April 21st, 2020 Further Readings ❖ Solving Healthcare Podcast Website: https://solving-healthcare-with-dr-kwadwo-kyeremanteng.simplecast.com/ ❖ Solving Healthcare Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/solving-healthcare-with-dr- kwadwokyeremanteng/id1478899917 ❖ Check us out on iTunes: “Solving Healthcare with Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng” ❖ Resource Optimization Network: https://www.resourceoptimizationnetwork.com/ Show Notes by Christina Yan
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