Access to healthcare and harm reduction services during the COVID-19 pandemic for people who use drugs

M. J. Stowe, Tanya Calvey, Florian Scheibein, Sidharth Arya, Noha Ahmed Saad, Tomohiro Shirasaka, Lisa Dannatt, Abhishek Ghosh, Anne Yee, Woraphat Ratta-Apha, Ramyadarshni Vadivel, Kristiana Siste, Bigya Shah, Rodrigo Ramalho, Venkata Lakshmi Narasimha, Mirjana Delic, Eric Peyron, Joy Louise Gumikiriza- Onoria, Sagun Ballav Pant, Saïd BoujrafPaolo Grandinetti, Nirvana Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalComment / DebateOtherpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Globally, there are concerns about access to healthcare and harm reduction services for people who use drugs (PWUD) during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Members from the Network of Early Career Professionals working in Addiction Medicine shared their experiences of providing treatment to PWUD during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on these qualitative reports, we highlight the similarities and discrepancies in access to services for PWUD in 16 countries under COVID-10 restrictions. In most countries reported here, efforts have been made to ensure continued access to services, such as mobilising opioid agonist maintenance treatment and other essential medicines to patients. However, due to travel restrictions and limited telemedicine services, several Network of Early Career Professionals working in Addiction Medicine members from lower-resourced countries experienced challenges with providing care to their patients during periods of COVID-19 lock-down. The insights provided in this commentary illustrate how the COVID-19 lock-down restrictions have impacted access to services for PWUD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e287-e289
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Addiction Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Addiction services
  • Coronavirus disease 2019
  • Drug use
  • Opioid agonist maintenance treatment
  • People who use drugs

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