Evaluating systems-level interventions to reduce overdose during dual public health emergencies

Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the ongoing overdose public health emergency in British Columbia (BC). Over 3,700 persons have died from illicit drug-related overdose since April 2020. In the context of the sixth year of the ongoing overdose provincial public health emergency and unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, there is urgent need to evaluate how changes to the correctional health system and prescribed safer supply interventions have effected overdose. The overarching objective of my research program is to conduct timely and policy-relevant research on overdose that informs response activities throughout the province. This will be achieved by using novel linked health data to identify trends in overdose since the original public health emergency declaration. I will also evaluate provincial interventions introduced to reduce overdose such as prescribed safer supply and systems-level changes to the delivery of health care in correctional settings. This project will directly inform provincial and regional overdose response activities through collaborations with persons with lived experience and knowledge users from the BC Overdose Emergency Response Centre.