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Int J Drug Policy. 2019 Jul 20;71:125-132. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.06.018. [Epub ahead of print]

"We don't got that kind of time, man. We're trying to get high!": Exploring potential use of drug checking technologies among structurally vulnerable people who use drugs.

Author information

1
British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, 400-1045 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 2A9, Canada; Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, 400-1045 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 2A9, Canada. Electronic address: geoff.bardwell@bccsu.ubc.ca.
2
British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, 400-1045 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 2A9, Canada; Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, 400-1045 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 2A9, Canada.
3
British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, 400-1045 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 2A9, Canada; School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, 2206 East Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Novel public health interventions are being considered to address the opioid overdose epidemic, including drug checking technologies. We examined the willingness to use various drug checking technologies among structurally-vulnerable people who use drugs (PWUD).

METHODS:

We conducted one-to-one qualitative semi-structured interviews with 20 PWUD in Vancouver, Canada's Downtown Eastside. Participants were purposively recruited from ongoing cohort studies of PWUD.

RESULTS:

Overall willingness to use drug checking technologies was low among participants. A range of factors undermined potential use of various drug checking technologies including: having to give up a drug sample; time dedication; discrepancies regarding measurements and accuracy; recourse following positive fentanyl results; ambivalence to overdose risk; and availability and accessibility of drug checking technologies.

CONCLUSIONS:

Participants discussed numerous factors that undermined potential willingness to use drug checking technologies. These factors underscore the structural vulnerabilities experienced by PWUD and how they may constrain uptake of drug checking technologies. Future drug checking programming should consider these influencing factors prior to the implementation of drug checking technologies to ensure that drug checking interventions are appropriate and meeting the needs of target populations.

KEYWORDS:

Drug checking technologies; Fentanyl; Overdose; People who use drugs; Structural vulnerability; Willingness

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