“Safer supply” alternatives to toxic unregulated drug markets

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Adam Holland, Thomas D Brothers, Dan Lewer, Olivia M Maynard, and Mat Southwell address the urgent need for action to reduce drug-related deaths. They discuss the prescription of safer supply interventions in response to opioid toxicity and the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Despite controversy and concerns about limited evidence, observational studies show that opioid dispensation was associated with reduced mortality risk. With the increasing deaths and toxic drug supplies, the authors suggest that governments globally take calculated risks in implementing safer supply interventions, supported by a growing observational evidence base. International recognition of non-punitive responses to substance use and drug market regulation is needed to address the escalating toxic drug supplies.

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