A comprehensive advice sheet for people who use drugs during the coronavirus outbreak has been prepared by EuroNPUD, INPUD and Respect Drug User Rights. ‘We can do it!’ states the COVID-19: Advice for people who use drugs leaflet. ‘People who use drugs have dealt with very serious viruses before.’
The document, work on which was led by EuroNPUD project manager Mat Southwell, includes essential COVID-19-related harm reduction advice, as well as wider health information around the virus. It also contains guidance on successfully managing opioid substitution therapy during the crisis, including what to say to prescribing services.
People who use drugs should also prepare for disruption to the supply chain, it warns, as restrictions on movement make it far more difficult to transport and distribute drugs. ‘If you can afford to, keep a reserve or source some opioid medications in case your supply is cut,’ it advises. People should also be planning how they would manage a rapid detox or full withdrawal should that become necessary, it states.
Readers are also encouraged to network with peers to look out for others and share planning and advocacy strategies, as well as reinforcing the importance of maintaining respect during the crisis period. ‘Be patient and thankful even if services are slower, limiting numbers allowed in buildings at any one time and if staff are wearing masks and gloves,’ the document says. ‘This is part of keeping essential services running.’