Research findings may one day help keep ALS at bay
The study drew on data collected from 303 participants recruited from 27 harm reduction sites across B.C. The participants completed a brief survey on their drug use and provided a urine sample that researchers tested for fentanyl and other substances.
Sixty per cent of participants in 2018 had fentanyl detected in their urine, of these people, 64 per cent knew they had taken fentanyl. The study done in 2015 found 29 per cent of participants tested positive for fentanyl, with only 27 per cent aware that they'd used it.
Researchers do not fully understand the factors that contribute to people knowingly taking fentanyl, but the reasons are varied. Some people may use fentanyl because they are aware it is present in most of the illicit supply of opioids and therefore have no other choice, while some may prefer the experience of taking fentanyl regardless of other options.
This research lays groundwork that will help us learn more about why fentanyl use is increasing. These findings will also contribute to more effective messaging campaigns and harm reduction strategies to help reduce preventable deaths and support the health of people who use substances, their families, and their communities." Mohammad Karamouzian, PhD student at UBC's School of Population and Public Health and lead author of the study Quick facts Other key findings from the study include: Recent fentanyl use was more common in people living in urban settings. People who used fentanyl were more likely to have also recently used heroin/morphine or crystal meth. Self-reported cannabis use was associated with reduced fentanyl use. The data for this study were collected at harm reduction sites that provide a range of services to people who use drugs including, but not limited to: condom distribution, needle and syringe distribution and take-home naloxone kits. There are approximately 375 of these facilities across B.C. A study led by BCCDC in 2019 showed the rapid expansion of harm reduction services (e.g., take home naloxone, opioid agonist therapy and overdose prevention sites) in response to B.C.'s overdose crisis averted more than 3,000 overdose deaths during a 20-month period in 2016-2017. Source:
University of British Columbia Journal reference:
Karamouzian, M., et al. (2020) Known fentanyl use among clients of harm reduction sites in British Columbia, Canada. International Journal of Drug Policy . doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102665 .
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