Over the eight months following Hurricane Sandy, of October 2012, we interviewed 300 people who inject drugs in New York City. During the week after the storm, 28% rescued others or volunteered with aid groups; 60% experienced withdrawal; 27% shared drug injection or preparation equipment, or injected with people they normally would not inject with; 70% of those on opioid maintenance therapy could not obtain sufficient doses; and 43% of HIV-positive participants missed HIV medication doses. Although relatively brief, a hurricane can be viewed as a Big Event that can alter drug environments and behaviors, and may have lasting impact. The study’s limitations are noted and future needed research is suggested.
Immediate impact of Hurricane Sandy on people who inject drugs in New York City