Issues Regarding U.S. Drug Supply and Impacts on Health


NASTAD and partners held a webinar on Wednesday, September 22, 4:30-6 pm E.T., to discuss changes to the U.S. drug supply observed during the COVID-19 pandemic, effects on health and safety of users, and programmatic responses by harm reduction and public health organizations.

There were more than 93,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2020, with some public health experts predicting that the numbers will be higher in 2021. Multiple factors have contributed to this increase, including the COVID-19 pandemic, interruptions to existing health services, and increased instability in the drug supply chain. The border closures and global slow-downs that have disrupted legal trade also affect the drug market. In many instances, people are using misidentified drugs or substances with additives that can cause unintentional poisoning (overdose) or unanticipated/unwelcome effects. To reduce health risks and improve overdose prevention efforts, drug supply monitoring and data mobilization, drug-checking tools, and responsive, person-centered services must be widely available and accessible.

This webinar featured speakers from around the United States to discuss the impacts of drug supply and contamination in their communities. The moderated conversation and audience Q&A addressed U.S. drug supply, drug quality and contamination, innovative surveillance methods, drug checking services, and street-based medicine, and wound care for people who use drugs.

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Issues Regarding U.S. Drug Supply and Impacts on Health