Equity-oriented frameworks to inform responses to opioid overdoses: a scoping review




Wallace, Bruce
MacKinnon, Karen
Strosher, Heather
Macevicius, Celeste
Gordon, Carol
Raworth, Rebecca
Mesley, Lacey
Shahram, Sana
Marcellus, Lenora
Urbanoski, Karen

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JBI Evidence Synthesis


Objective: The purpose of this scoping review was to systematically identify and describe literature that uses a health equity–oriented approach for preventing and reducing the harms of stigma or overdose for people who use illicit drugs or misuse prescription opioids. Inclusion criteria: To be included, papers had to both: i) use a health equity–oriented approach, defined as a response that addresses health inequities and aims to reduce drug-related harms of stigma or overdose; and ii) include at least one of the following concepts: cultural safety, trauma- and violence-informed care, or harm reduction. We also looked for papers that included an Indigenous-informed perspective in addition to any of the three concepts. Methods: An a priori protocol was published and the JBI methodology for conducting scoping reviews was employed. Published and unpublished literature from January 1, 2000, to July 31, 2019, was included. The databases searched included CINAHL (EBSCOhost), MEDLINE (Ovid), Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost), PsycINFO (EBSCOhost), Sociological Abstracts and Social Services Abstracts (ProQuest), JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, PROSPERO, Aboriginal Health Abstract Database, First Nations Periodical Index, and the National Indigenous Studies Portal. The search for unpublished studies included ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, Google Scholar, and targeted web searches. Screening and data extraction were performed by two reviewers using templates developed by the authors. Data extraction included specific details about the population, concepts, context, and key findings or recommendations relevant to the review objectives. Results: A total of a total of 1065 articles were identified and screened, with a total of 148 articles included. The majority were published in the previous five years (73%) and were from North America (78%). Most articles only focused on one of the three health equity–oriented approaches, most often harm reduction (n = 79), with only 16 articles including all three. There were 14 articles identified that also included an Indigenous-informed perspective. Almost one-half of the papers were qualitative (n = 65; 44%) and 26 papers included a framework. Of these, seven papers described a framework that included all three approaches, but none included an Indigenous-informed perspective. Recommendations for health equity–oriented approaches are: i) inclusion of people with lived and living experience; ii) multifaceted approaches to reduce stigma and discrimination; iii) recognize and address inequities; iv) drug policy reform and decriminalization; v) ensure harm-reduction principles are applied within comprehensive responses; and vi) proportionate universalism. Gaps in knowledge and areas for future research are discussed. Conclusions: We have identified few conceptual frameworks that are both health equity–oriented and incorporate multiple concepts that could enrich responses to the opioid poisoning emergency. More research is required to evaluate the impact of these integrated frameworks for action.



Cultural Safety, Harm Reduction, Health Equity, Overdose, Trauma Informed


Wallace, B., MacKinnon, K., Strosher, H., Macevicius, C., Gordon, C., Raworth, R., Mesley, L., Shahram, S., Marcellus, L., Urbanoski, K., Pauly, B. (2021). Equity-oriented frameworks to inform responses to opioid overdoses: a scoping review. JBI Evidence Synthesis, Volume 19 (Issue 8), p 1760-1843. doi: 10.11124/JBIES-20-00304