The Covid-19 crisis led to improved services and access to treatment for people who are homeless, with a new study asking why it took a global pandemic to remove barriers to harm reduction measures which had been required for years.
The research paper, called Harm reduction in the time of Covid-19: Case study of homelessness and drug use in Dublin, Ireland was just published in the International Journal of Drug Policy. It outlines the dramatic moves taken at the outbreak of the pandemic to protect those who were sleeping rough and in emergency accommodation.
According to the authors: "It is noteworthy that in the field of Irish medicine, the Covid-19 crisis facilitated a number of practice changes that had persuasive arguments in their favour prior to Covid-19, e.g. emailed prescriptions, electronic social welfare certificates, tele-consultations, etc. Why it took a pandemic to overcome barriers to seemingly obvious practice reforms is difficult to discern."
It added that longer-term, the Covid-19 experience is "a potentially important milestone in the development of national drug policies".
Source: Noel Baker, Irish Examiner,. 7th November 2020