Call 1.855.378.4373 to schedule a call time with a specialist or visit
Call 1.855.378.4373 to schedule a call time with a specialist

    Research News Roundup: April 4, 2024

    Addressing Adolescent Substance Abuse and Risky Sexual Health Behaviors via Youth-Led Initiatives: A Review of the Teens Linked to Care Pilot Program

    Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 2024, doi: 10.3390/ijerph21030252

    Authors: Hailey Bednar, Suzanne McMillan, Turquoise Sidibe, & Melissa Bennett


    The Teens Linked to Care (TLC) pilot program utilized a youth-led integrated strategy to prevent substance use and risky sexual behavior among school-attending youth at disproportionate risk, including sexual and gender minority youth (SGMY). The program developed a framework to address human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), teen pregnancy, and high-risk substance use within schools. Strategies included education, primary prevention, and early detection screening. High schools in two rural counties served as pilot sites and successfully implemented strategies to encourage youth to engage in healthier sexual practices and avoid harmful substance use. An evaluation of TLC demonstrated its effectiveness in developing youth-friendly resources, promoting connectedness, and building resiliency among students and staff. This program used the results of two iterations of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) to understand the situations of youth, including SGMY. YRBS results helped tailor program activities for SGMY populations. By focusing on education, access to care, and supportive environments, schools can utilize the TLC model to combat youth substance abuse and risky sexual practices.

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

    Journal: The Lancet Regional Health Americas, 2024, doi: 10.1016/j.lana.2024.100710

    Authors: Alissa Davis, Hannah K. Knudsen, Daniel M. Walker, Deborah Chassler, Karsten Lunze, Philip M. Westgate, Emmanuel Oga, … Timothy R. Huerta


    Background: Community stigma against people with opioid use disorder (OUD) and intervention stigma (e.g., toward naloxone) exacerbate the opioid overdose crisis. We examined the effects of the Communities that HEAL (CTH) intervention on perceived opioid-related community stigma by stakeholders in the HEALing Communities Study (HCS).

    Methods: We collected three surveys from community coalition members in 66 communities across four states participating in HCS. Communities were randomized into Intervention (Wave 1) or Wait-list Control (Wave 2) arms. We conducted multilevel linear mixed models to compare changes in primary outcomes of community stigma toward people treated for OUD, naloxone, and medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) by arm from time 1 (before the start of the intervention) to time 3 (end of the intervention period in the Intervention arm).

    Findings: Intervention stakeholders reported a larger decrease in perceived community stigma toward people treated for OUD (adjusted mean change (AMC) -3.20 [95% C.I. -4.43, -1.98]) and toward MOUD (AMC -0.33 [95% C.I. -0.56, -0.09]) than stakeholders in Wait-list Control communities (AMC -0.18 [95% C.I. -1.38, 1.02], p = 0.0007 and AMC 0.11 [95% C.I. -0.09, 0.31], p = 0.0066). The relationship between intervention status and change in stigma toward MOUD was moderated by rural-urban status (urban AMC -0.59 [95% CI, -0.87, -0.32], rural AMC not sig.) and state. The difference in stigma toward naloxone between Intervention and Wait-list Control stakeholders was not statistically significant (p = 0.18).

    Interpretation: The CTH intervention decreased stakeholder perceptions of community stigma toward people treated for OUD and stigma toward MOUD. Implementing the CTH intervention in other communities could decrease OUD stigma across diverse settings nationally.

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

    IUPHAR-review: Targeting the Cytoskeleton as a Therapeutic Approach to Substance Use Disorders

    Journal: Pharmacological Research, 2024, doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2024.107143

    Authors: Surya Pandey, & Courtney A. Miller


    Substance use disorders (SUD) are chronic relapsing disorders governed by continually shifting cycles of positive drug reward experiences and drug withdrawal-induced negative experiences. A large body of research points to plasticity within systems regulating emotional, motivational, and cognitive processes as drivers of continued compulsive pursuit and consumption of substances despite negative consequences. This plasticity is observed at all levels of analysis from molecules to networks, providing multiple avenues for intervention in SUD. The cytoskeleton and its regulatory proteins within neurons and glia are fundamental to the structural and functional integrity of brain processes and are potentially the major drivers of the morphological and behavioral plasticity associated with substance use. In this review, we discuss preclinical studies that provide support for targeting the brain cytoskeleton as a therapeutic approach to SUD. We focus on the interplay between actin cytoskeleton dynamics and exposure to cocaine, methamphetamine, alcohol, opioids, and nicotine and highlight preclinical studies pointing to a wide range of potential therapeutic targets, such as nonmuscle myosin II, Rac1, cofilin, prosapip 1, and drebrin. These studies broaden our understanding of substance-induced plasticity driving behaviors associated with SUD and provide new research directions for the development of SUD therapeutics.

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

    Factors Associated with Child and Adolescent Electronic Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems Use: A Scoping Review

    Journal: Preventive Medicine, 2024, doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2024.107895

    Authors: Courtney Barnes, Sam McCrabb, Caitlin Bialek, Heidi Turon, Julia Dray, Megan Duffy, Cassandra Lane, … Luke Wolfenden


    Objectives: To identify, characterise and broadly synthesise factors associated with child and adolescent electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and/or electronic non-nicotine delivery systems (ENNDS) ever-use and/or current use.

    Methods: Four electronic databases were searched from inception to 3rd June 2022. Non-experimental studies that provided quantitative factors associated with adolescent and/or child ENDS or ENNDS ever-use and/or current use were included. Factors associated with ever-use (any lifetime use) and/or current use (use in past 30 days) were included. All screening and data extraction was conducted independently by paired review authors. Frequencies for country, study design, sample size, measure of ENDS/ENNDS use and factors examined were calculated. Factors were categorised according to the Theory of Triadic Influence domains and sub-domains.

    Results: The search of electronic databases identified 4756 records, 240 of which were included. The majority of studies examined factors categorised within the Biology and Personality domain of the Theory of Triadic Influence (89.2%; 95%CI 84.6, 82.5), followed by the Social Context (50.8%; 95%CI 44.5, 57.2) and Broader Environment domains (30.4%; 95%CI 24.6, 36.3). The proportion of factors significantly associated with ENDS/ENNDS use was >75% for the Behavioural (78.0%; factors included use of tobacco, other drugs and alcohol), Peer Attitudes and Behaviours (80.0%; factors included peer use of ENDS/ENNDS and tobacco), and Legislation/Policy sub-domains (78.6%; factors included accessibility and advertising).

    Conclusions: The evidence base on factors associated with ENDS/ENNDS use in children and adolescents is rapidly developing, predominately by research concentrated in high income regions and focused on behavioural- and personality-related factors.

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


    April 2024