Advancing Syringe Services in the United States: The Untapped Role of the Americans with Disabilities Act
25 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2022
Date Written: 2022
The United States is facing an unprecedented set of public health challenges. Now killing nearly 1000 people daily, the COVID-19 pandemic is also compounding the ongoing crisis of addiction and risky substance use. Disruption in treatment and support services, economic shocks, despair and social isolation wrought by coronavirus have all impeded efforts to bend the overdose curve—now surging again after a momentary deceleration prior to the onset of the pandemic. By the same token, there is evidence that people with substance use disorder are more susceptible to COVID-19 infection and its deadly sequelae.
Now more than ever, prevention and supportive services are vital to safeguarding the health of people with substance use disorder. Although access to substance use treatment has received substantial attention and support, harm reduction services are being left behind. These vital programs include syringe service programs (SSPs), naloxone distribution, drug checking, and supervised consumption facilities. Intended to address the needs of highly-stigmatized, criminalized people who use illicit drugs, SSPs have been shown especially effective as platforms for stemming bloodborne infections, preventing overdose, and facilitating access to a broad range of assistance, including COVID-19 testing, substance use treatment, housing, and other essential support.
Funding Information: MISSING
Declaration of Interests: MISSING
Keywords: Americans with Disabilities Act, syringe service programs, COVID-19, harm reduction services
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