What is PORTIA?

PORTIA is an acronym for Program of Outcomes Research on Treatment with Injectables for Addiction. PORTIA is a multi-pronged observational study that aims to understand patient and provider perspectives on injectable opioid agonist treatment (iOAT). Understanding these perspectives can inform the design of iOAT services in our healthcare system and help to optimize the uptake and effectiveness of iOAT.

What is iOAT?

iOAT is an acronym for injectable Opioid Agonist Treatment. iOAT is an effective treatment for opioid use disorder that involves the prescription of injectable diacetylmorphine or hydromorphone. Clients who receive iOAT generally inject their doses at a clinic under the direct observation of a healthcare professional.

In Vancouver, some of the clinics that provide iOAT are Crosstown Clinic, and Molson Overdose Prevention Site.

What is the background of PORTIA?

Canada is in an opioid overdose crisis. One of the treatments that can help prevent fatal opioid overdoses is called injectable Opioid Agonist Treatment or iOAT. In previous studies, iOAT has been shown to be an effective treatment for people who are at high risk of a fatal overdose. However, not much is understood about how patient preferences, patient characteristics, and healthcare provider factors impact the effectiveness of iOAT services. PORTIA hopes to shed some light on these factors.

How is PORTIA research being conducted?

PORTIA is collecting data and perspectives from people who receive iOAT services. It is also collecting and examining factors that help healthcare professionals provide better iOAT care. These collected data, perspectives, and factors will be used to help public health officials as they expand iOAT services across BC. This will improve the scalability, feasibility, affordability, and effectiveness of future iOAT services.

To collect the relevant data, PORTIA researchers are working with participants and using a variety of research tools. These tools include surveys, questionnaires, analysis of existing health records, and recorded interviews. Participants who have received iOAT services are sharing their experiences of receiving iOAT. Healthcare providers are sharing their experiences with delivering iOAT services. The data is analyzed by the research team using a variety of research techniques.

Who are our research participants?

The research participants of PORTIA are people who currently receive iOAT services, people who have previously received iOAT services, or nurses who have provided iOAT services. Participants are being recruited in Vancouver and from across British Columbia.