What we are doing
Strength and Numbers is a partnership between the North Carolina Survivors Union and the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center. Our team is conducting a series of health needs assessments and research projects, while developing a framework for drug user-led research partnerships in academic and community settings. Some of our projects include:
Treatment Needs for Skin and Soft Tissue Infections (SSTIs)
SSTIs pose serious health concerns to people who use drugs (PWUD), particularly if these infections are left untreated. Traditional healthcare treatment settings are often times unwelcoming and inaccessible to PWUD, potentially leading to delays in getting necessary care. In order to reduce harms associated with SSTIs, it is critical to identify safe healthcare settings offering quality care for PWUD. Our work is describing treatment needs for PWUD experiencing SSTIs and identifying non-traditional SSTI treatment strategies used among PWUD, such as the use of non-prescription antibiotics.
Methadone Access During COVID-19
Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) is a type of opioid treatment that typically requires participants to take prescribed doses at their clinic. While methadone can be a lifesaving medication for people with opioid use disorder, the requirement of daily in-person clinic visits can be an extremely challenging barrier to access for MMT participants.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration issued guidance to Opioid Treatment Programs which expanded participant eligibility to access methadone doses, specifically loosening regulations surrounding take-home doses. Our team is conducting a needs assessment to describe the perceptions about, and changes to, MMT access in the Piedmont region of North Carolina during COVID-19.
Our work was recently published online pre-print, meaning it has not completed the peer review process in a scientific journal. The contents are preliminary and subject to change. However, we are providing the information back to the community given the urgent nature of this topic area.