Research News Roundup: August 25, 2022

    Effect of a Peer-Led Behavioral Intervention for Emergency Department Patients at High Risk of Fatal Opioid Overdose: A Randomized Clinical Trial

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2022, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.25582

    Authors: Francesca L. Beaudoin, Brendan P. Jacka, Yu Li, Elizabeth A. Samuels, Benjamin D. Hallowell, Alyssa M. Peachey, Roxxanne A. Newman, Mackenzie M. Daly, Kirsten J. Langdon & Brandon D. L. Marshall


    Importance: Fatal and nonfatal opioid overdoses are at record levels, and emergency department (ED) visits may be an opportune time to intervene. Peer-led models of care are increasingly common; however, little is known about their effectiveness.

    Objective: To evaluate the effect of a peer-led behavioral intervention compared with the standard behavioral intervention delivered in the ED on engagement in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment within 30 days after the ED encounter.

    Design, setting, and participants: This randomized clinical trial recruited 648 patients from 2 EDs from November 15, 2018, to May 31, 2021. Patients were eligible to participate if they were in the ED for an opioid overdose, receiving treatment related to an opioid use disorder, or identified as having had a recent opioid overdose.

    Interventions: Participants were randomly assigned to receive a behavioral intervention from a certified peer recovery specialist (n = 323) or a standard intervention delivered by a hospital-employed licensed clinical social worker (n = 325). A certified peer recovery specialist was someone with at least 2 years of recovery who completed a 45-hour training program and had 500 hours of supervised work experience. After the ED intervention, the certified peer recovery specialists offered continued contact with participants for up to 90 days.

    Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was receipt of SUD treatment within 30 days of enrollment, assessed with deterministic linkage of statewide administrative databases. Treatment engagement was defined as admission to a formal, publicly licensed SUD treatment program or receipt of office-based medication for opioid use disorder within 30 days of the initial ED visit.

    Results: Among the 648 participants, the mean (SD) age was 36.9 (10.8) years, and most were male (442 [68.2%]) and White (444 [68.5%]). Receipt of SUD treatment occurred for 103 of 323 participants (32%) in the intervention group vs 98 of 325 participants (30%) in the usual care group within 30 days of the ED visit. Among all participants, the most accessed treatments were outpatient medication for opioid use disorder (buprenorphine, 119 [18.4%]; methadone, 44 [6.8%]) and residential treatment (44 [6.8%]).

    Conclusions and relevance: Overall, this study found that a substantial proportion of participants in both groups engaged in SUD treatment within 30 days of the ED visit. An ED-based behavioral intervention is likely effective in promoting treatment engagement, but who delivers the intervention may be less influential on short-term outcomes. Further study is required to determine the effects on longer-term engagement in SUD care and other health outcomes (e.g., recurrent overdose).

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

    Financial Insecurity and Food Insecurity among U.S. Children with Secondhand and Thirdhand Smoke Exposure

    Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 2022, doi: 10.3390/ijerph19159480

    Authors: E. Melinda Mahabee-Gittens, Keith A. King, Rebecca A. Vidourek & Ashley L. Merianos


    Objectives: Smokers with financial and food insecurity may find it difficult to quit smoking and reduce their children’s tobacco smoke exposure (TSE). The objective was to examine the associations between child TSE and financial and food insecurity among U.S. school-aged children.

    Methods: We examined the 2018-2019 National Survey of Children’s Health data on 17,484 children 6-11 years old. Children were categorized into TSE groups: (1) No TSE: did not live with a smoker; (2) thirdhand smoke (THS) exposure alone: lived with a smoker who did not smoke inside the home; or (3) secondhand smoke (SHS) and THS exposure: lived with a smoker who smoked inside the home. We conducted weighted logistic, ordinal, and linear regression analyses to assess the relationships between child TSE status and financial and food insecurity, adjusting for covariates.

    Results: Overall, 13.1% and 1.8% of children had THS exposure alone and SHS and THS exposure, respectively. Compared to children with no TSE, children with THS exposure alone were at 2.17 increased odds (95% CI = 1.83, 2.58, p < 0.001) and children with SHS and THS exposure were at 2.24 increased odds (95% CI = 1.57, 3.19, p < 0.001) of having financial insecurity. Children with THS exposure alone were at 1.92 increased odds (95% CI = 1.58, 2.33, p < 0.001) and children with SHS and THS exposure were at 2.14 increased odds (95% CI = 1.45, 3.16, p < 0.001) of having food insecurity.

    Conclusions: Children with TSE are at increased risk of experiencing financial and food insecurity. When developing tobacco interventions, a holistic approach to tobacco control that addresses ways to decrease financial and food hardships may improve outcomes.

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

    Cannabis-Based Products for Chronic Pain: A Systematic Review

    Journal: Annals of Internal Medicine, 2022, doi: 10.7326/M21-4520

    Authors: Marian S. McDonagh, Benjamin J. Morasco, Jesse Wagner, Azrah Y. Ahmed, Rongwei Fu, Devan Kansagara & Roger Chou


    Background: Contemporary data are needed about the utility of cannabinoids in chronic pain.

    Purpose: To evaluate the benefits and harms of cannabinoids for chronic pain.

    Data sources: Ovid MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and Scopus to January 2022.

    Study selection: English-language, randomized, placebo-controlled trials and cohort studies (≥1 month duration) of cannabinoids for chronic pain.

    Data extraction: Data abstraction, risk of bias, and strength of evidence assessments were dually reviewed. Cannabinoids were categorized by THC-to-CBD ratio (high, comparable, or low) and source (synthetic, extract or purified, or whole plant).

    Data synthesis: Eighteen randomized, placebo-controlled trials (n = 1740) and 7 cohort studies (n = 13 095) assessed cannabinoids. Studies were primarily short term (1 to 6 months); 56% enrolled patients with neuropathic pain, with 3% to 89% female patients. Synthetic products with high THC-to-CBD ratios (>98% THC) may be associated with moderate improvement in pain severity and response (≥30% improvement) and an increased risk for sedation and are probably associated with a large increased risk for dizziness. Extracted products with high THC-to-CBD ratios (range, 3:1 to 47:1) may be associated with large increased risk for study withdrawal due to adverse events and dizziness. Sublingual spray with comparable THC-to-CBD ratio (1.1:1) probably is associated with small improvement in pain severity and overall function and may be associated with large increased risk for dizziness and sedation and moderate increased risk for nausea. Evidence for other products and outcomes, including longer-term harms, were not reported or were insufficient.

    Limitation: Variation in interventions; lack of study details, including unclear availability in the United States; and inadequate evidence for some products.

    Conclusion: Oral, synthetic cannabis products with high THC-to-CBD ratios and sublingual, extracted cannabis products with comparable THC-to-CBD ratios may be associated with short-term improvements in chronic pain and increased risk for dizziness and sedation. Studies are needed on long-term outcomes and further evaluation of product formulation effects.

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

    Effectiveness of a Hybrid Digital Substance Abuse Prevention Approach Combining E-Learning and In-Person Class Sessions

    Journal: Front Digital Health, 2022, doi: 10.3389/fdgth.2022.931276

    Authors: Kenneth W. Griffin, Christopher Williams, Caroline M. Botvin, Sandra Sousa & Gilbert J. Botvin


    Background: Effective school-based programs for preventing substance abuse offer considerable public health potential. Yet limited class time and uneven implementation fidelity can be barriers to widespread adoption and high-quality implementation. A hybrid digital approach may be effective and help address these barriers.

    Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of a hybrid substance abuse prevention program for middle school students consisting of e-learning modules and in-person class sessions.

    Design: Twenty-three United States (U.S.) middle schools were randomly assigned either to an intervention condition (13 schools) or a treatment-as-usual control condition (10 schools) where standard health education material was delivered. There were 1,447 participants who completed the pre-test and post-test assessments, of which 48.3% were male and 51.7% female.

    Intervention: The hybrid digital intervention consisted of 14 brief e-learning modules and six classroom sessions adapted from an evidence-based program designed for classroom implementation to increase knowledge of adverse consequences of substance use and improve social skills, personal coping skills, and skills for resisting social influences to smoke, drink, or use drugs.

    Measures: Participating students completed online pre-test and post-test surveys to assess substance use, knowledge, and life skills.

    Results: There were significant reductions in substance use for the hybrid digital condition compared to the control condition as well as significant increases in health knowledge, skills knowledge, and life skills.

    Conclusions: A hybrid digital approach to substance abuse prevention is effective and offers potential for overcoming common barriers to widespread adoption and high-quality implementation.

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

    Association of Methamphetamine and Opioid Use with Nonfatal Overdose in Rural

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2022, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.26544

    Authors: P. Todd Korthuis, Ryan R. Cook, Canyon A. Foot, Gillian Leichtling, Judith I. Tsui, Thomas J. Stopka, Judith Leahy, et. al.


    Importance: Overdoses continue to increase in the US, but the contribution of methamphetamine use is understudied in rural communities.

    Objective: To estimate the prevalence of methamphetamine use and its correlates among people who use drugs (PWUD) in rural US communities and to determine whether methamphetamine use is associated with increased nonfatal overdoses.

    Design, setting, and participants: From January 2018 through March 2020, the National Rural Opioid Initiative conducted cross-sectional surveys of PWUD in rural communities in 10 states (Illinois, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin). Participants included rural PWUD who reported any past-30-day injection drug use or noninjection opioid use to get high. A modified chain-referral sampling strategy identified seeds who referred others using drugs. Data analysis was performed from May 2021 to January 2022.

    Exposures: Use of methamphetamine alone, opioids alone, or both.

    Main outcomes and measures: Unweighted and weighted prevalence of methamphetamine use, any past-180-day nonfatal overdose, and number of lifetime nonfatal overdoses.

    Results: Among the 3048 participants, 1737 (57%) were male, 2576 (85%) were White, and 225 (7.4%) were American Indian; the mean (SD) age was 36 (10) years. Most participants (1878 of 2970 participants with any opioid or methamphetamine use [63%]) reported co-use of methamphetamine and opioids, followed by opioids alone (702 participants [24%]), and methamphetamine alone (390 participants [13%]). The estimated unweighted prevalence of methamphetamine use was 80% (95% CI, 64%-90%), and the estimated weighted prevalence was 79% (95% CI, 57%-91%). Nonfatal overdose was greatest in people using both methamphetamine and opioids (395 of 2854 participants with nonmissing overdose data [22%]) vs opioids alone (99 participants [14%]) or methamphetamine alone (23 participants [6%]). Co-use of methamphetamine and opioids was associated with greater nonfatal overdose compared with opioid use alone (adjusted odds ratio, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.08-1.94; P = .01) and methamphetamine use alone (adjusted odds ratio, 3.26; 95% CI, 2.06-5.14; P < .001). Those with co-use had a mean (SD) of 2.4 (4.2) (median [IQR], 1 [0-3]) lifetime overdoses compared with 1.7 (3.5) (median [IQR], 0 [0-2]) among those using opioids alone (adjusted rate ratio, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.01-1.43; P = .04), and 1.1 (2.9) (median [IQR], 0 [0-1]) among those using methamphetamine alone (adjusted rate ratio, 1.81; 95% CI, 1.45-2.27; P < .001). Participants with co-use most often reported having tried and failed to access substance use treatment: 827 participants (44%) for both, 117 participants (30%) for methamphetamine alone, and 252 participants (36%) for opioids alone (χ22 = 33.8; P < .001). Only 66 participants (17%) using methamphetamine alone had naloxone.

    Conclusions and relevance: These findings suggest that harm reduction and substance use disorder treatment interventions must address both methamphetamine and opioids to decrease overdose in rural communities.

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