Four First Nation communities in Ontario, Canada, formulated alcohol management policies between 1992 and 1994. An alcohol management policy is a local control option to manage alcohol use in recreation and leisure areas. Survey results indicate that decreases in alcohol use-related problems related to intoxication, nuisance behaviors, criminal activity, liquor license violations, and personal harm were perceived to have occurred. Furthermore, having policy regulations in place did not have an adverse effect on facility rentals. Band administrators and facility staff in each community felt the policy had had a positive effect on events at which alcohol was sold or served.
To explore convergence and divergence in ethical stances of public health and of members of the population regarding acceptability of harm reduction interventions, in particular needle exchange programs.
Forty-nine semi-structured interviews were conducted with French-speaking residents of Quebec City. Content analysis was done to explore the views of the respondents with regard to injection drug users (IDUs) and interventions addressed to them, as well as Quebec policies on harm reduction.
Four main categories of social representations about IDUs have emerged from the discourses of the respondents. IDU were represented as: suffering from a disease (n = 17); victim of a situation that they could not control (n = 14); having chosen to use drugs (n = 12); or delinquent people (n = 6). Those social representations were associated with different ethical stances regarding acceptability of harm reduction interventions. Main divergences between respondents' ethical positions on harm reduction and public health discourses were related to the value of tolerance and its limits.
The Quebec City population interviewed in this study had a high level of tolerance regarding needle distribution to drug addicts. Applied ethics could be a useful way to understand citizens' interpretation of public health interventions.
Awareness of drug use in rural communities and small towns has been growing, but we know relatively little about the challenges injection drug users (IDUs) living in such places face in accessing harm reduction services. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 115 IDUs in urban and non-urban areas of Atlantic Canada. In many instances, geographic distance to a needle exchange program (NEP) meant that individuals living outside of urban areas and who were not provided services through an NEP's outreach program were at a disadvantage in terms of an array of supports offered through many NEPs. These include access to free clean injecting equipment, and such ancillary services as clothing, food, referrals, information and social support. The integration of the services and approaches provided by NEPs into mainstream health services in non-urban places is one possible model for improving such access.
Intensive care is advanced and highly technical, and it is essential that, despite this, patient care remains safe and of high quality. Adverse events (AEs) are supposed to be reported to internal quality control systems by health-care providers, but many are never reported. Patients on the intensive care unit (ICU) are at special risk for AEs. Our aim was to identify the incidence and characteristics of AEs in patients who died on the ICU during a 2-year period.
A structured record review according to the Global Trigger Tool (GTT) was used to review charts from patients cared for at the ICU of a middle-sized Swedish hospital during 2007 and 2008 and who died during or immediately after ICU care. All identified AEs were scored according to severity and preventability.
We reviewed 128 records, and 41 different AEs were identified in 25 patients (19.5%). Health care-associated infections, hypoglycaemia, pressure sores and procedural complications were the most common harmful events. Twenty two (54%) of the AEs were classified as being avoidable. Two of the 41 AEs were reported as complications according to the Swedish Intensive Care Registry, and one AE had been reported in the internal AE-reporting system.
Almost one fifth of the patients who died on the ICU were subjected to harmful events. GTT has the advantage of identifying more patient injuries caused by AEs than the traditional AE-reporting systems used on many ICUs.
To prevent or mitigate an AIDS epidemic among injecting drug users (IDUs), effective activities need to be implemented on a large enough scale to reach and assist sufficient numbers of drug users and thereby change their risk behaviors related to drug use and sex. Recent work by UNAIDS on "high coverage sites", adopting the above strategies, has shown that one of the key elements in achieving high coverage is ongoing and sophisticated advocacy. High coverage harm reduction sites were studied through literature search and site visits, including key informant interviews, review of service statistics, and data analysis, in order to document the steps that led to scaling up, the way coverage was defined in these sites, and the lessons learned from their efforts. Syringe-exchange programs can achieve high coverage of IDUs. Monitoring to determine regular reach (those who are in regular contact with harm reduction services) should be added to uniform data collection carried out by harm reduction programs. Advocacy is crucial to achieving high coverage.
Needle and syringe programmes (NSPs) have been established as effective harm reduction initiatives to reduce injection drug use (IDU)-related risk behaviours, including sharing needles. On May 31, 2008, Victoria, BC's only fixed site NSP was shut down due to community and political pressure. This study examines and compares IDU trends in Victoria with those in Vancouver, BC, a city which has not experienced any similar disruption of IDU-related public health measures.
Quantitative and qualitative data were collected by interviewer-administered questionnaires conducted with injection drug users (n=579) in Victoria and Vancouver between late 2007 and late 2010.
Needle sharing increased in Victoria from under 10% in early 2008 to 20% in late 2010, whilst rates remained relatively low in Vancouver. Participants in Victoria were significantly more likely to share needles than participants in Vancouver. Qualitative data collected in Victoria highlight the difficulty participants have experienced obtaining clean needles since the NSP closed. Recent injection of crack cocaine was independently associated with needle sharing.
The closure of Victoria's fixed site NSP has likely resulted in increased engagement in high-risk behaviours, specifically needle sharing. Our findings highlight the contribution of NSPs as an essential public health measure.