Publications

Understanding disparities in access to naloxone among people who inject drugs in Southeast Michigan using respondent driven sampling

Background:

Given the rising incidence of opioid overdose in the United States, naloxone access is critical for high-risk populations, such as persons who inject drugs (PWID). Yet not all PWID have access to this life-saving antidote. With PWID in Michigan recruited via respondent driven sampling in 2017, after the 2016 standing order expanding naloxone availability through local pharmacies, we explored possible access disparities.

Methods:

With 46 seeds recruited from agencies serving local PWID communities, we obtained a sample of N = 410 PWID from Southeast Michigan (n = 285 form urban Detroit, and 125 for suburban/rural areas outside Detroit). Participants completed questionnaires detailing socio-demographics, health history, substance use and treatment access, including naloxone. We used multiple logistic regression to examine the predictors of self-reported naloxone access based on participant characteristics (e.g., demographics, health status) and geography (urban vs. suburban/rural).

Results:

Self-reported naloxone access differed significantly by location (urban = 18.3 %; suburban/rural = 41.9 %). In multivariable analyses, naloxone access was significantly associated with race, household income, employment, health insurance, recent homelessness, prescription opioid usage, Hepatitis A and C status, Hepatitis A vaccination, Hepatitis C testing, access to drug treatment and services, and hospital as the usual place of care.

Conclusion:

Despite recent policies to expand access, our results indicate that naloxone access among high-risk PWID is low. This warrants future research to identify effective channels to reduce barriers and increase naloxone access.