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In the context of the ongoing overdose crisis, a stark increase in toxic drug deaths from the unregulated street supply accompanied the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Injectable opioid agonist treatment (iOAT – hydromorphone or medical-grade heroin), tablet-based iOAT (TiOAT), and safer supply prescribing are emerging interventions used to address this crisis in Canada. Given rapid clinical guidance and policy change to enable their local adoption, our objectives were to describe the state of these interventions before the pandemic, and to document and explain changes in implementation during the early pandemic response (March–May 2020).
Data confirmed the capacity for rapid scale-up of flexible, community-based safer supply prescribing during dual public health emergencies. Geographical, client demographic, and funding gaps highlight the need to target barriers to implementation, service delivery and sustainability.
Mixed methods national environmental scan at two time points