Examining the impact of the first wave of COVID-19 and associated control measures on interventions to prevent blood-borne viruses among people who inject drugs in Scotland: an interrupted time series study

Kirsten M.A. Trayner*, Andrew McAuley, Norah E. Palmateer, Alan Yeung, David J. Goldberg, Megan Glancy, Carole Hunter, Trina Ritchie, Julie Craik, Fiona Raeburn, Stuart McTaggart, Lee Barnsdale, John Campbell, Samantha J. Shepherd, Amanda Bradley-Stewart, Rory N. Gunson, Kate Templeton, Sharon J. Hutchinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: COVID-19 has likely affected the delivery of interventions to prevent blood-borne viruses (BBVs) among people who inject drugs (PWID). We examined the impact of the first wave of COVID-19 in Scotland on: 1) needle and syringe provision (NSP), 2) opioid agonist therapy (OAT) and 3) BBV testing. Methods: An interrupted time series study design; 23rd March 2020 (date of the first ‘lockdown’) was chosen as the key date. Results: The number of HIV tests and HCV tests in drug services/prisons, and the number of needles/syringes (N/S) distributed decreased by 94% (RR=0.062, 95% CI 0.041–0.094, p < 0.001), 95% (RR=0.049, 95% CI 0.034–0.069, p < 0.001) and 18% (RR = 0.816, 95% CI 0.750–0.887, p < 0.001), respectively, immediately after lockdown. Post-lockdown, an increasing trend was observed relating to the number of N/S distributed (0.6%; RR = 1.006, 95% CI 1.001–1.012, p = 0.015), HIV tests (12.1%; RR = 1.121, 95% CI 1.092–1.152, p < 0.001) and HCV tests (13.2%; RR = 1.132, 95 CI 1.106–1.158, p < 0.001). Trends relating to the total amount of methadone prescribed remained stable, but a decreasing trend in the number of prescriptions (2.4%; RR = 0.976, 95% CI 0.959–0.993, p = 0.006) and an increasing trend in the quantity prescribed per prescription (2.8%; RR = 1.028, 95% CI 1.013–1.042, p < 0.001) was observed post-lockdown. Conclusions: COVID-19 impacted the delivery of BBV prevention services for PWID in Scotland. While there is evidence of service recovery; further effort is likely required to return some intervention coverage to pre-pandemic levels in the context of subsequent waves of COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109263
Number of pages11
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Volume232
Early online date31 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • people who inject drugs
  • blood-borne virus
  • prevention
  • service provision
  • public health
  • COVID-19

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology

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