Supervised consumption services (SCS) reduce HIV risks and overdose for people who use drugs (PWUD) and are known to have wide-ranging public health benefits. Feasibility studies are often conducted as part of program/implementation development. We conducted a scoping review of SCS feasibility/pre-implementation studies to answer: what is known about stakeholders’ opinions of SCS rules and eligibility criteria?
Using the PRISMA-ScR guidelines, we searched Medline, PsychINFO, Embase, CINAHL, and SCOPUS databases for: (a) empirical research, (b) reported in English, (c) focused on SCS, (d) pre-implementation feasibility studies (research conducted prior to implementation of SCS in a given context), (e) examining SCS operational rules and eligibility criteria. Abstracts were reviewed to verify appropriateness; full articles/reports were retrieved; data were extracted and charted.
Of the 1,268 data sources identified/reviewed, 19 sources, were included. Manuscripts showed the following criteria that might be considered when determining who can and cannot use SCS: age, pregnancy status, and opioid substitution treatment status. To govern behaviours at SCS, manuscripts focused on: acceptable modes of drug consumption, assisted injections, sharing drugs on-site, pill injecting, and mandatory hand washing, etc. Stakeholders generally agreed that; eligibility restrictions and site rules should be minimal to establish low-barrier services. SCS are often forced to contend with the tension between adhering to a medical or public health model and creating low-barrier services. SCS rules are at the center of this intersection because rules and eligibility criteria implemented to mirror other health services may not align with the needs of PWUD.
Given the public health significance of SCS, establishing best practices for service delivery is critical for increasing access and addressing implementation issues. Future research should examine other operational elements of SCS, such as design elements, staffing models, and ancillary services. Additional research should also focus on supervised smoking services.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.