“Cheque day” linked to drug overdose risk in BC: Study (BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS)

Injection drug users are much more likely to overdose around the day government assistance cheques are issued in British Columbia, according to new research published in the International Journal of Drug Policy.

After studying drug use and overdose data collected at Insite, Vancouver Coastal Health’s safe injection site, researchers at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS found that more than twice as many overdoses occurred on or immediately after “cheque day.” In BC, income assistance cheques are typically issued on the last Wednesday of each month.

Thomas Kerr, the senior author of the study, said the findings show a need to rethink the way assistance money is distributed.

“There is a clear pattern of elevated risk of drug overdose around cheque-issue day,” Kerr, the director of the centre’s Urban Health Research Institute, said in a statement.

Jesse Tahirali reports

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