Research News Roundup: April 20, 2023

    Prevalence of Self-Reported Adverse Effects Associated with Drug Use Among Nightclub and Festival Attendees, 2019-2022

    Journal: Drug and Alcohol Dependence Reports, 2023, doi: 10.1016/j.dadr.2023.100149

    Authors: Joseph J. Palamar & Austin Le


    Background: Research investigating adverse effects from drug use has focused extensively on poisonings and mortality. This study focuses on drug-related adverse effects not necessarily resulting in hospitalization or death among a population known for high prevalence of party drug use-electronic dance music (EDM) nightclub and festival attendees.

    Methods: Adults entering EDM venues were surveyed in 2019-2022 (n = 1952). Those reporting past-month use of a drug were asked whether they had experienced a harmful or very unpleasant effect after use. We examined 20 drugs and drug classes with a particular focus on alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, and ecstasy. Prevalence and correlates of adverse effects were estimated.

    Results: Almost half (47.6%) of adverse effects involved alcohol and 19.0% involved cannabis. 27.6% of those using alcohol reported an adverse effect, while 19.5%, 15.0%, and 14.9% of participants reported an effect from use of cocaine, ecstasy, and cannabis, respectively. Use of less prevalent drugs, such as NBOMe, methamphetamine, fentanyls, and synthetic cathinones, tended to be associated with higher prevalence of adverse effects. The most consistent risk factor was younger age, while past-month use of a greater number of drugs was often a protective factor against adverse effects. For most drugs, taking too much was the most common perceived reason for the adverse effect, and visiting a hospital after use was most prevalent among those experiencing an adverse effect from cocaine (11.0%).

    Conclusions: Adverse drug effects are common in this population and results can inform prevention and harm reduction in this population and the general population.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    The Nation's First Publicly Recognized Overdose Prevention Centers: Lessons Learned in New York City

    Journal: Journal of Urban Health, 2023, doi: 10.1007/s11524-023-00717-y

    Authors: Rebecca E. Giglio, Shivani Mantha, Alex Harocopos, Nilova Saha, Jacqueline Reilly, Chelsea Cipriano, … Dave A. Chokshi


    In November of 2021, multiple factors converged to create a window of opportunity to open overdose prevention centers (OPCs) at two existing syringe service programs (SSPs) in New York City (NYC). Political will exists in NYC, particularly toward the end of the de Blasio administration’s term, and the NYC Health Department worked to garner additional support from local and state elected officials given the dire need to address the overdose crisis. This coincided with readiness on the part of one of the NYC SSP providers, OnPoint NYC, to open and operate OPC services. Legal risks were assessed by both the city and the provider. This case study outlines the sequence of events that resulted in NYC supporting OnPoint to open the first two publicly recognized OPCs in the nation, including lessons learned to inform other jurisdictions considering offering such services.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Development and Evaluation of a Risk Algorithm Predicting Alcohol Dependence after Early Onset of Regular Alcohol Use

    Journal: Addiction, 2023, doi: 10.1111/add.16122

    Authors: Chrianna Bharat, Meyer D. Glantz, Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, Jordi Alonso, Ronny Bruffaerts, Brendan Bunting, … Louisa Degenhardt


    Aims: Likelihood of alcohol dependence (AD) is increased among people who transition to greater levels of alcohol involvement at a younger age. Indicated interventions delivered early may be effective in reducing risk, but could be costly. One way to increase cost-effectiveness would be to develop a prediction model that targeted interventions to the subset of youth with early alcohol use who are at highest risk of subsequent AD.

    Design: A prediction model was developed for DSM-IV AD onset by age 25 years using an ensemble machine-learning algorithm known as ‘Super Learner’. Shapley additive explanations (SHAP) assessed variable importance.

    Setting and Participants: Respondents reporting early onset of regular alcohol use (i.e. by 17 years of age) who were aged 25 years or older at interview from 14 representative community surveys conducted in 13 countries as part of WHO’s World Mental Health Surveys.

    Measurements: The primary outcome to be predicted was onset of life-time DSM-IV AD by age 25 as measured using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, a fully structured diagnostic interview.

    Findings: AD prevalence by age 25 was 5.1% among the 10 687 individuals who reported drinking alcohol regularly by age 17. The prediction model achieved an external area under the curve [0.78; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.74-0.81] higher than any individual candidate risk model (0.73-0.77) and an area under the precision-recall curve of 0.22. Overall calibration was good [integrated calibration index (ICI) = 1.05%]; however, miscalibration was observed at the extreme ends of the distribution of predicted probabilities. Interventions provided to the 20% of people with highest risk would identify 49% of AD cases and require treating four people without AD to reach one with AD. Important predictors of increased risk included younger onset of alcohol use, males, higher cohort alcohol use and more mental disorders.

    Conclusions: A risk algorithm can be created using data collected at the onset of regular alcohol use to target youth at highest risk of alcohol dependence by early adulthood. Important considerations remain for advancing the development and practical implementation of such models.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Uncomfortably High: Testing Reveals Inflated THC Potency on Retail Cannabis Labels

    Journal: PLoS One, 2023, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0282396

    Authors: Anna L. Schwabe, Vanessa Johnson, Joshua Harrelson & Mitchell E. McGlaughlin


    Legal Cannabis products in the United States are required to report THC potency (total THC % by dry weight) on packaging, however concerns have been raised that reported THC potency values are inaccurate. Multiple studies have demonstrated that THC potency is a primary factor in determining pricing for Cannabis flower, so it has an outsized role in the marketplace. Reports of inflated THC potency and “lab shopping” to obtain higher THC potency results have been circulating for some time, but a side-by-side investigation of the reported potency and flower in the package has not previously been conducted. Using HPLC, we analyzed THC potency in 23 samples from 10 dispensaries throughout the Colorado Front Range and compared the results to the THC potency reported on the packaging. Average observed THC potency was 14.98 +/- 2.23%, which is substantially lower than recent reports summarizing dispensary reported THC potency. The average observed THC potency was 23.1% lower than the lowest label reported values and 35.6% lower than the highest label reported values. Overall, ~70% of the samples were more than 15% lower than the THC potency numbers reported on the label, with three samples having only one half of the reported maximum THC potency. Although the exact source of the discrepancies is difficult to determine, a lack of standardized testing protocols, limited regulatory oversight, and financial incentives to market high THC potency likely play a significant role. Given our results it is urgent that steps are taken to increase label accuracy of Cannabis being sold to the public. The lack of accurate reporting of THC potency can have impacts on medical patients controlling dosage, recreational consumers expecting an effect aligned with price, and trust in the industry as a whole. As the legal cannabis market continues to grow, it is essential that the industry moves toward selling products with more accurate labeling.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Estimated Clinical Outcomes and Cost-effectiveness Associated with Provision of Addiction Treatment in US Primary Care Clinics

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2023, doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.7888

    Authors: Raagini Jawa, Yjuliana Tin, Samantha Nall, Susan L. Calcaterra, Alexandra Savinkina, Laura R. Marks, … Joshua A. Barocas


    Importance: US primary care practitioners (PCPs) are the largest clinical workforce, but few provide addiction care. Primary care is a practical place to expand addiction services, including buprenorphine and harm reduction kits, yet the clinical outcomes and health care sector costs are unknown.

    Objective: To estimate the long-term clinical outcomes, costs, and cost-effectiveness of integrated buprenorphine and harm reduction kits in primary care for people who inject opioids.

    Design, Setting, and Participants: In this modeling study, the Reducing Infections Related to Drug Use Cost-Effectiveness (REDUCE) microsimulation model, which tracks serious injection-related infections, overdose, hospitalization, and death, was used to examine the following treatment strategies: (1) PCP services with external referral to addiction care (status quo), (2) PCP services plus onsite buprenorphine prescribing with referral to offsite harm reduction kits (BUP), and (3) PCP services plus onsite buprenorphine prescribing and harm reduction kits (BUP plus HR). Model inputs were derived from clinical trials and observational cohorts, and costs were discounted annually at 3%. The cost-effectiveness was evaluated over a lifetime from the modified health care sector perspective, and sensitivity analyses were performed to address uncertainty. Model simulation began January 1, 2021, and ran for the entire lifetime of the cohort.

    Main Outcomes and Measures: Life-years (LYs), hospitalizations, mortality from sequelae (overdose, severe skin and soft tissue infections, and endocarditis), costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs).

    Results: The simulated cohort included 2.25 million people and reflected the age and gender of US persons who inject opioids. Status quo resulted in 6.56 discounted LYs at a discounted cost of $203 500 per person (95% credible interval, $203 000-$222 000). Each strategy extended discounted life expectancy: BUP by 0.16 years and BUP plus HR by 0.17 years. Compared with status quo, BUP plus HR reduced sequelae-related mortality by 33%. The mean discounted lifetime cost per person of BUP and BUP plus HR were more than that of the status quo strategy. The dominating strategy was BUP plus HR. Compared with status quo, BUP plus HR was cost-effective (ICER, $34 400 per LY). During a 5-year time horizon, BUP plus HR cost an individual PCP practice approximately $13 000.

    Conclusions and Relevance: This modeling study of integrated addiction service in primary care found improved clinical outcomes and modestly increased costs. The integration of addiction service into primary care practices should be a health care system priority.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.