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Drug Alcohol Rev. 2019 May;38(4):423-427. doi: 10.1111/dar.12930. Epub 2019 Apr 25.

Uptake into a bedside needle and syringe program for acute care inpatients who inject drugs.

Author information

1
Inner City Health and Wellness Program, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Edmonton, Canada.
2
School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
3
Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
4
Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION AND AIMS:

Injection drug use is associated with significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Needle and syringe programs (NSP) have been shown to reduce negative health outcomes for people who inject drugs. However, NSPs have limited reach in hospitals, and no peer-reviewed research has examined NSP implementation in acute care settings. We describe the implementation of an inpatient NSP offered through an addiction medicine consultation service in a large, urban acute care hospital in Edmonton, Canada, and compared characteristics of inpatients who did versus did not access the NSP.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

Administrative data were reviewed for all addiction medicine consult service intakes between 11 July 2016 and 14 January 2018. We calculated the proportion of intakes in which patients: (i) were offered syringes; and (ii) accepted syringes. Multivariate analyses were used to examine associations between these outcomes and patient age and sex.

RESULTS:

Patients reported injecting drugs in 597 (31%) of 1907 intakes during the study period. People who inject drugs were offered syringes in 334 (56%) of these intakes, and accepted syringes in 124 (37%) of them. Female patients were more likely to accept syringes.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:

In a recently implemented NSP for hospital inpatients, just over half of patients who reported injection drug use were offered syringes, and the rate of patient acceptance was low. Further research is necessary to describe best practice for inpatient NSPs and identify and remove any barriers that prevent some inpatients from either being offered or accepting syringes.

KEYWORDS:

harm reduction; hospital; inpatient; needle exchange program; substance use disorder

PMID:
31021491
DOI:
10.1111/dar.12930

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