COVID-19 related substance use services policy changes: Policymaker perspectives on policy development & implementation

Brandy F. Henry, Aimee Campbell, Timothy Hunt, Jessica K. Johnson, Amar D. Mandavia, Michael Chaple, Caroline Arout, Elwin Wu, Harold A. Pincus, Edward V. Nunes, Pat Lincourt, Frances R. Levin, Nabila El-Bassel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, regulations for substance use services changed to accommodate stay-at-home orders and physical distancing guidelines. Methods: Using in-depth interviews (N = 14) and framework analysis, we describe how policymakers developed, adopted, and implemented regulations governing services for substance use disorders during COVID-19, and how policymakers' perceived the impacts of these regulations in New York State. Results: During the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers shifted to more inclusive approaches of knowledge generation and co-production of recommendations. Barriers to adoption and implementation of new regulations included medication/services supply, lack of integration, stigma, and overcriminalization. Conclusion: Findings from this study highlight the potential feasibility and benefits of co-produced policies for substance use services and the need for consistent service supply, better integration with health care services, reduced stigma, improved funding structures, best practice guidelines, criminal justice reform, and harm reduction support. These considerations should inform future policy maintenance and modifications to substance use services related to COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108550
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
StatePublished - Feb 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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