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The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the social, economic and health conditions of people who use drugs (PWUD), leading to increased rates of overdose and overdose death, among other worsened outcomes. During the pandemic, many organizations that provide care to PWUD quickly transitioned from in-person care to telehealth and technology-assisted services, including mail-based supply distribution, harm reduction vending machines, and virtual injection supervision. These innovations have a variety of benefits to both participants and providers, and this increased use of technology is expected to continue; however, they can be challenging to implement and access.
To support organizations that provide care to PWUD, the National Council, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), developed this resource guide organized by five strategies and related key considerations for implementing telehealth and technology-assisted services. This resource guide intends to help harm reduction organizations, SUD treatment providers and other organizations that serve PWUD overcome challenges associated with implementing telehealth and technology-assisted services and leverage these advances to help improve the health and wellness of PWUD.