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    Research News Roundup: August 3, 2023

    Provision of Digital Health Technologies for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment by US Health Care Organizations

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2023, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.23741

    Authors: Chris Miller-Rosales, Nancy E. Morden, Mary F. Brunette, Susan H. Busch, John B. Torous, & Ellen R. Meara


    Importance: Digital health technologies may expand organizational capacity to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). However, it remains unclear whether these technologies serve as substitutes for or complements to traditional substance use disorder (SUD) treatment resources in health care organizations.

    Objective: To characterize the use of patient-facing digital health technologies for OUD by US organizations with accountable care organization (ACO) contracts.

    Design, setting, and participants: This cross-sectional study analyzed responses to the 2022 National Survey of Accountable Care Organizations (NSACO), collected between October 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, from US organizations with Medicare and Medicaid ACO contracts. Data analysis was performed between December 15, 2022, and January 6, 2023.

    Exposures: Treatment resources for SUD (eg, an addiction medicine specialist, sufficient staff to treat SUD, medications for OUD, a specialty SUD treatment facility, a registry to identify patients with OUD, or a registry to track mental health for patients with OUD) and organizational characteristics (eg, organization type, Medicaid ACO contract).

    Main outcomes and measures: The main outcomes included survey-reported use of 3 categories of digital health technologies for OUD: remote mental health therapy and tracking, virtual peer recovery support programs, and digital recovery support for adjuvant cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Statistical analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic regression models.

    Results: Overall, 276 of 505 organizations responded to the NSACO (54.7% response rate), with a total of 304 respondents. Of these, 161 (53.1%) were from a hospital or health system, 74 (24.2%) were from a physician- or medical group-led organization, and 23 (7.8%) were from a safety-net organization. One-third of respondents (101 [33.5%]) reported that their organization used at least 1 of the 3 digital health technology categories, including remote mental health therapy and tracking (80 [26.5%]), virtual peer recovery support programs (46 [15.1%]), and digital recovery support for adjuvant CBT (27 [9.0%]). In an adjusted analysis, organizations with an addiction medicine specialist (average marginal effect [SE], 32.3 [4.7] percentage points; P < .001) or a registry to track mental health (average marginal effect [SE], 27.2 [3.8] percentage points; P < .001) were more likely to use at least 1 category of technology compared with otherwise similar organizations lacking these capabilities.

    Conclusions and relevance: In this cross-sectional study of 276 organizations with ACO contracts, organizations used patient-facing digital health technologies for OUD as complements to available SUD treatment capabilities rather than as substitutes for unavailable resources. Future studies should examine implementation facilitators to realize the potential of emerging technologies to support organizations facing health care practitioner shortages and other barriers to OUD treatment delivery.

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

    Effects of Chronic Workplace Harassment on Mental Health and Alcohol Misuse: A Long-Term Follow-Up

    Journal: BMC Public Health, 2023, doi: 10.1186/s12889-023-16219-0

    Authors: Kathleen M. Rospenda, Judith A. Richman, Meredith McGinley, Kristin L. Moilanen, Tracy Lin, Timothy P. Johnson, Lea Cloninger, Candice A. Shannon, & Thomas Hopkins


    Background: Research on the impacts of exposure to workplace harassment (WH) is largely cross-sectional, and existing prospective studies generally are between two and five years of follow-up, with the longest US study being 10 years. However, the effects of exposure to WH may persist longer, particularly if exposure has been chronic. This study fills this gap by examining effects of prior exposure to chronic sexual and generalized WH on psychological distress and alcohol misuse over an approximately 25 year study period.

    Methods: Individuals originally recruited from a university-employed sample in the United States were surveyed at 8 time points from 1996-2007 and again in 2020-2021. A series of hybrid path analyses were tested on a sample of 2352 individuals, regressing recent outcomes on latent classes of harassment derived from earlier survey waves, controlling baseline outcomes and demographics. Model fit was assessed using a variety of fit statistics, and standardized regression coefficients were used to assess significance of individual pathways.

    Results: Prior exposure to chronic sexual harassment had significant direct associations with psychological distress, alcohol misuse, and recent stressors at follow-up. Prior exposure to chronic generalized harassment had significant direct associations with lower income and alcohol misuse. Both forms of WH were significantly indirectly associated with psychological distress through recent stressors at follow-up.

    Conclusions: Exposure to chronic WH is associated with long-term effects on psychological distress and alcohol misuse in a sample representing a wide variety of job types and racial/ethnic identities. Enforcement of anti-sexual harassment law and policies and enactment of policies and laws to prevent generalized harassment/workplace bullying are imperative for the protection of worker health.

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

    Longitudinal Association Between Exposure to E-Cigarette Advertising and Youth E-Cigarette Use in the United States

    Journal: Addictive Behaviors, 2023, doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2023.107810

    Authors: Tianze Sun, Giang Vu, Carmen C. W. Lim, Ben Johnson, Daniel Stjepanović, Janni Leung, Jason P Connor, … & Gary C. K. Chan


    Background and aim: E-cigarette marketing strategies are targeting and appealing to youth, particularly through social media. This study examined the longitudinal relationship between recalled exposure to e-cigarette advertisements on social media and across five traditional advertising mediums, and e-cigarette use, a year later.

    Design: Weighted regression analyses of waves 4 (W4; 2017), 4.5 (W4.5; 2018) and 5 (W5; 2019) from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study.

    Setting: United States.

    Participants: Youth aged 12-17 years at W4 or W4.5 (N = 16,671).

    Measurements: We examined the association between past 30-day recalled exposure to six different e-cigarette advertisement mediums (gas stations/convenience stores, social media/websites, newspaper/magazines, radio, billboard, TV) in W4.5 and past 30-day and past 12-month e-cigarette use in W5, while controlling for W4 e-cigarette use and covariates such as sociodemographic variables, academic performance, peer cigarette/e-cigarette use and other substance use. Associations between recalled exposure (W4.5) and lifetime use (W5) among e-cigarette naïve youth at W4.5 (N = 8,914) were also assessed.

    Findings: Past 12-month and past 30-day e-cigarette use was significantly associated with recalled exposure to e-cigarette advertisement on social media/websites (aOR = 1.65 [99.17 %CI = 1.36,1.99; aOR = 1.49 [99.17 %CI = 1.13, 1.97]) and gas stations/convenience stores (aOR = 1.33; [99.17 %CI = 1.11,1.58]; aOR = 1.27 [99.17 %CI = 1.03,1.58]). Exposure to e-cigarette advertisement on social media/websites (aOR = 1.35 [99.17 %CI = 1.04,1.74]) and gas stations/convenience stores (aOR = 1.67 [99.17 %CI = 1.31,2.13]) was significantly associated with lifetime e-cigarette use among baseline youth who were e-cigarette naïve.

    Conclusions: Exposure to e-cigarette advertisement on social media/websites and gas stations/convenience stores was associated with youth e-cigarette use a year later. Stricter restrictions on marketing in these mediums is needed to limit youth exposure to e-cigarette marketing messages if we are to reduce e-cigarette use.

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

    Journal: Drug and Alcohol Dependence Reports, 2023, doi: 10.1016/j.dadr.2023.100179

    Authors: Riley D. Shearer, Benjamin A. Howell, Utsha G. Khatri, & Tyler N. A. Winkelman


    Background: Individuals with criminal legal involvement (CLI), housing instability, or Medicaid insurance may experience barriers accessing substance use treatment in certain settings. Previous research has found individuals in these groups are less likely to receive medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), but the role treatment setting may play in low rates of MOUD is unclear.

    Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study using nationally representative survey data from 2015 to 2021. We estimated the proportion of individuals who had CLI, housing instability, or Medicaid insurance who received substance use treatment in a variety of settings. We used multivariable logistic regressions to estimate the associations between group and the receipt of MOUD across treatment settings.

    Results: Individuals with CLI, housing instability, or Medicaid insurance were more likely to receive substance use treatment in hospitals, rehabilitation, and mental health facilities compared with individuals not in these groups. However, all groups accessed substance use treatment in doctors’ offices at similar rates. Treatment at a doctor’s office was associated with the highest likelihood of receiving MOUD (aOR 4.73 [95% CI: 2.2.15-10.43]). Across multiple treatment settings, Individuals with CLI or housing instability were less likely to receive MOUD.

    Conclusions: Individuals with CLI, housing instability, or Medicaid insurance are more likely to access substance use treatment at locations associated with lower rates of MOUD use. MOUD access across treatment settings is needed to improve engagement and retention in treatment for patients experiencing structural disadvantage or who have low incomes.

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


    Emotional Expression on Social Media Support Forums for Substance Cessation: Observational Study of Text-Based Reddit Posts

    Journal: Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2023, doi: 10.2196/45267

    Authors: Genevieve Yang, Sarah G. King, Hung-Mo Lin, & Rita Z. Goldstein


    Background: Substance use disorder is characterized by distinct cognitive processes involved in emotion regulation as well as unique emotional experiences related to the relapsing cycle of drug use and recovery. Web-based communities and the posts they generate represent an unprecedented resource for studying subjective emotional experiences, capturing population types and sizes not typically available in the laboratory. Here, we mined text data from Reddit, a social media website that hosts discussions from pseudonymous users on specific topic forums, including forums for individuals who are trying to abstain from using drugs, to explore the putative specificity of the emotional experience of substance cessation.

    Objective: An important motivation for this study was to investigate transdiagnostic clues that could ultimately be used for mental health outreach. Specifically, we aimed to characterize the emotions associated with cessation of 3 major substances and compare them to emotional experiences reported in nonsubstance cessation posts, including on forums related to psychiatric conditions of high comorbidity with addiction.

    Methods: Raw text from 2 million posts made, respectively, in the fall of 2020 (discovery data set) and fall of 2019 (replication data set) were obtained from 394 forums hosted by Reddit through the application programming interface. We quantified emotion word frequencies in 3 substance cessation forums for alcohol, nicotine, and cannabis topic categories and performed comparisons with general forums. Emotion word frequencies were classified into distinct categories and represented as a multidimensional emotion vector for each forum. We further quantified the degree of emotional resemblance between different forums by computing cosine similarity on these vectorized representations. For substance cessation posts with self-reported time since last use, we explored changes in the use of emotion words as a function of abstinence duration.

    Results: Compared to posts from general forums, substance cessation posts showed more expressions of anxiety, disgust, pride, and gratitude words. “Anxiety” emotion words were attenuated for abstinence durations >100 days compared to shorter durations (t12=3.08, 2-tailed; P=.001). The cosine similarity analysis identified an emotion profile preferentially expressed in the cessation posts across substances, with lesser but still prominent similarities to posts about social anxiety and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. These results were replicated in the 2019 (pre-COVID-19) data and were distinct from control analyses using nonemotion words.

    Conclusions: We identified a unique subjective experience phenotype of emotions associated with the cessation of 3 major substances, replicable across 2 time periods, with changes as a function of abstinence duration. Although to a lesser extent, this phenotype also quantifiably resembled the emotion phenomenology of other relevant subjective experiences (social anxiety and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). Taken together, these transdiagnostic results suggest a novel approach for the future identification of at-risk populations, allowing for the development and deployment of specific and timely interventions.

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