There is a lot of information out there on how to keep yourself and your community safe during COVID-19. Here we want to provide you with some tips and strategies to help keep yourself and others safe when procuring and using drugs in the community.
First, follow standard harm reduction practices just as you were before COVID-19. Try and use at an overdose prevention site, but if one is not open or near you, use with a buddy, have naloxone with you, and never share equipment.
Coronavirus is spread by tiny droplets (airborne particles) from an infected person’s cough, sneeze, or saliva.
It can also be spread by touching a surface that has been contaminated with the virus and then touching your face (mouth, nose and eyes).
Please try to keep 2 meters away from othera people (social distancing), refrain from touching your face, and wash your hands frequently.
Below are some descriptions of some personal protective equipment (PPE) that could be useful in protecting yourself and your community as well as some strategies that can help minimize the spread of COVID-19.
An N95 mask can prevent you from inhaling airborne droplets from an infected person. This alone does not provide full protection as COVID-19 is airborne and droplets can still enter through the eyes and the masks are not perfect.
An N95 mask must be put on properly in order to be effective. This is often done by having your mask fitted and tested by a trained professional. In order for the mask to work properly, it must be fully sealed around your face.
How to use N95 Mask
A surgical mask does not provide the same protection as an N95 respirator. When used by someone infected with COVID-19, it can prevent the virus from spreading to someone else.
Wearing gloves is good but should only be used for cleaning or when conducting a medical procedure that might put you in contact with someone else’s blood. You still don’t want to touch your face asnd the virus will stay on the glove. Follow proper donning and doffing procedures When putting gloves on or off it’s advised you wash your hands.
When touching an area that can be contaminated with your gloves you can still clean your gloves by washing your hands and with hand sanitizer.
Proper use of gloves
Goggles will protect you from splashes, sprays and droplets.
There are two types of safety goggles: direct and indirect ventilation. To protect against airborne particles such as the coronavirus you need indirect ventilation goggles.
Safety glasses will protect eyes from an impact but don’t provide the same protection as goggles. Safety Glasses however still provide some protection(Minimal) against splashes and sprays.
Cleaning products that work to kill the coronavirus are bleach, 60-70% alcohol, hand sanitizers, pinesol, Lysol wipes, Lysol disinfectant spray and Clorox wipes.
Bleach is to be mixed with 9 parts water and 1 part bleach.
A full list found here (updated regularly, re-check often)
Cleaning Office and Home
When cleaning you want to get all the spots peoples hands may touch. Areas such as doors and door handles, countertops, tabletops, chairs, phones, keys, sinks, laptops, computers, keyboards, shoes, light switches, door frames and thermostats.
When returning home from the pharmacy, grocery store or anywhere else it’s best to sanitize everything as soon as you enter. Phones, keys, wallet, lighter, shoes, door handles and spraying clothes with disinfectant spray.
Also if you return with items from a store you will also want to wipe those down, fruits can be washed with soap and water.
It’s said that hand washing is the best way to avoid the coronavirus. Use soap and water for a minimum of 20-30 seconds.
Substance Use Harm Reduction and Covid-19 Social Distancing
Sometimes it can seem hard to distance yourself when participating in using or exchanging drugs.
Exchanges can usually consist of hand to hand transactions, which is not advised. If you do, try to carry hand sanitizer and practice good hand washing. You do not have to exchange hand to hand as you can make a drop or pick up spot where distance of six feet can be kept between each other. You could Also use your mailbox to do the drop.
When using if you are in the same room or area keep a distance of 6 feet. Don’t share tools, use safe harm reduction supply kits. Clean your supplies before and after using(reusing needles should be avoided). If you are using alone you can get someone to watch over you on video call to make sure you are ok or if an overdose happens.
This guidance is based off of current recommendations (14 April 2020). Recommendations may change as more research is conducted on COVID-19. Please use this information in combination with current recommendations from your local public health authority.
For Further Information: