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The impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on services for substance use in Denmark: Implications for meeting users’ needs and recommendations for the future

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Background: The aim of this study was to document employees’ experiences of changes in service provision for substance use disorders (SUDs) during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Denmark (spring 2020), as well as to examine their relation to challenges in meeting the service users’ needs. Methods: Employees (N = 373) working in SUD treatment and harm reduction services completed an online survey soon after the first national lockdown. The survey included questions about changes in service provision during the lockdown, perceived concerns of the service users, and challenges in meeting the users’ emerging needs. Results: Employees reported some positive changes in service provisions, such as increased flexibility in appointments, administering medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and use of telehealth. Negative changes were related to reduced contact with practitioners and harm reduction facilities. Approximately one third of employees reported significant challenges in meeting the users’ emerging needs. This was particularly so when users’ concerns were about physical and mental well-being, and substance use. In regression models, negative changes in the access to practitioners and MAT administration (but not other changes) predicted difficulties meeting the users’ needs. Conclusion: Employees in SUD treatment and harm reduction services in Denmark experienced both positive and negative changes as a result of the first lockdown. However, not all the provision changes were linked to challenges in meeting the users’ needs. We discuss practical and research implications of our findings with a focus on the users’ physical and mental health, use of telehealth, MAT, and overall service reorganisation.

TidsskriftNAD Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Sider (fra-til)175-189
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2022

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