Exploring the role of an unsanctioned, supervised peer driven injection facility in reducing HIV and hepatitis C infections in people that require assistance during injection Jozaghi, Ehsan; Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users
Background: Supervised consumption rooms or supervised injection facilities (SIFs) are venues that have reduced the risk of needle sharing and deaths caused by drug overdose among people who inject drugs (PWID). As a result of such a decline in the mortality rate, numerous studies have been able to illustrate its cost-effectiveness. However, studies have neglected to examine the same phenomena for unsanctioned SIFs that are run by peer drug users and provide assisted injections. Methods: The current study will determine whether the former unsanctioned SIF, that provided assisted injection and was operated by the grass root organization called Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), cost less than the health care consequences of not having such a program in Vancouver, Canada. By analyzing data gathered in 2013, this paper relies on two mathematical models to estimate the number of new HIV and HCV infections prevented by the former unsanctioned facility in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Results: A conservative estimate indicates that the SIF location that provided assisted injections has a benefit-cost ratio of 33.1:1 due to its low operational cost. At the baseline sharing rate, the facility, on an average, reduced 81 HCV and 30 HIV cases among PWID each year. Such reductions in blood borne infections among PWID resulted in annual savings worth CAN$4.3 million dollars in health care expenditure. In addition to this, the current paper relies on a sensitivity analysis based on different needle sharing rate scenarios. Conclusions: The sensitivity analysis and the baseline rates indicate that funding SIF facilities operated by peer drug users that facilitate assisted injection appear to be an efficient and effective use of financial resources in the public health domain since they lead to a significant decline in the rate of mortality within a vulnerable population.
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