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: December 14, 2023

    Access Challenges to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment among Individuals Experiencing Homelessness: Voices from the Streets

    Journal: Journal of Substance Use and Addiction Treatment, 2023, doi: 10.1016/j.josat.2023.209216

    Authors: Michael Hsu, Olivia S. Jung, Li Ting Kwan, Oluwole Jegede, Bianca Martin, Aniket Malhotra, & Joji Suzuki


    Background: Achieving equitable access to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) such as buprenorphine is a pressing issue. Evidence suggests disparities in MOUD access based on race and socioeconomic status, further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the drivers behind this access gap remain poorly understood. This study explores barriers to treatment access among individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) experiencing homelessness.

    Methods: We interviewed 28 individuals in and around the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) Engagement Center, an area known for its high density of active substance use and homelessness. We asked about people’s experiences, perceptions, and attitudes toward OUD treatment. We conducted a thematic analysis of our interview data.

    Results: Fifty-four percent of participants sampled were not prescribed MOUD. None of the participants reported having an active prescription of sublingual buprenorphine or buprenorphine/naloxone. White participants were more likely to have been prescribed buprenorphine in the past compared to participants of other races even in this socioeconomically homogeneous sample. Themes that emerged in our data included challenges to accessing MOUD due to reduced services during the COVID-19 pandemic, lost or stolen medications, fewer inpatient withdrawal management beds for women, transportation challenges, fear of adverse effects of MOUD, the perception that taking MOUD replaces one addiction for another, and community disapproval of MOUD. Participants also reported stigma and discrimination based on race, gender, and socioeconomic status.

    Conclusion: Systems and individual-level factors contribute to the MOUD treatment gap across race and socioeconomic status. The COVID-19 pandemic posed additional access challenges. This study provides important, actionable insights about the barriers faced by a particularly vulnerable population of individuals with OUD experiencing homelessness.

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

    Smoking May Compromise Physical Function Long Before It Kills You

    Journal: Frontiers in Public Health, 2023, doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2023.1261102

    Author: Dana A. Glei, & Maxine Weinstein


    Introduction: Although prior research has demonstrated an association between smoking and worse physical function, most of those studies are based on older people and do not evaluate whether the age-related increase in physical limitations differs by smoking history. We quantify how the magnitude of the smoking differential varies across age.

    Methods: This cohort study comprised a national sample of Americans aged 20-75 in 1995-1996, who were re-interviewed in 2004-2005 and 2013-2014. Our analysis was restricted to respondents who completed the self-administered questionnaires at Wave 1 (N = 6,325). Follow-up observations for those respondents were included if they completed the self-administered questionnaires at Wave 2 (N = 3,929) and/or Wave 3 (N = 2,849). The final analysis sample comprised 13,103 observations over a follow-up period of up to 19 years (1995-2014). We used a linear mixed model to regress physical limitations on smoking status at baseline adjusted for sex, age, race, socioeconomic status, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and obesity with an interaction between age and smoking to test whether the age pattern of physical limitations differed by smoking history. Additional models incorporated measures of smoking duration and intensity.

    Results: In the fully-adjusted model, smokers exhibited a steeper age-related increase in physical limitations than never smokers. Thus, the disparities in physical limitations by smoking status widened with age but were evident even at young ages. The estimated differential between heavy smokers and never smokers rose from 0.24 SD at age 30 to 0.49 SD at age 80. At younger ages, heavy smokers who quit recently fared worse than current light smokers and not much better than current heavy smokers.

    Discussion: We know smoking is bad for our health, but these results reveal that differences in physical limitations by smoking history are evident even at ages as young as 30. Physical limitations that emerge early in life are likely to have an especially large impact because they can jeopardize health for decades of remaining life. Smoking probably will not kill you at young age, but it may compromise your physical function long before it kills you. Just do not do it.

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

    Sport Specialisation and Performance-Enhancing Substance Use by Young Athletes

    Journal: BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, 2023, doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2023-001702

    Authors: Michael McNaughton, Danielle L. Hunt, Michael O’Brien, Dai Sugimoto, William P. Meehan, Patricia Miller, & Andrea Stracciolini


    Objectives: To investigate the association of reported legal performance enhancing substance (PES) use and consideration of banned PES use among sport-specialised and non-sport-specialised young athletes.

    Methods and design: Cross-sectional study of 1049 young athletes enrolled in an injury prevention programme from 2013 to 2020. We used logistic regression modelling to determine the independent association between sports specialisation. We reported (1) legal PES use and (2) consideration of banned PES use after adjusting for the effects of gender, age, having a relative as a coach, unrestricted internet access, use of a weight training regimen, and weeknight hours of sleep.

    Results: The final cohort consisted of 946 athletes with a mean age of 14. 56% were female, and 80% were sport-specialised athletes. 14% reported legal PES use, and 3% reported consideration of banned PES use. No difference was found between sport-specialised athletes who reported legal PES use (OR=1.4; 95% CI 0.81 to 2.43; p=0.23) or consideration of banned PES use (OR=3.2; 95% CI 0.78 to 14.92; p=0.1) compared with non-sport-specialised athletes. Reported legal PES use was more common among athletes who were male, older, used weight training, and slept less. Reported consideration of banned PES use was more common among male and older athletes.

    Conclusions: PES use is not independently associated with sport specialisation in young athletes. Athlete sex, age, training, and sleep patterns are important factors for young athletes to consider in PES use.

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

    Stigma Towards Persons Who Use Methamphetamine: Results from a Nationally Representative Survey of U.S. Adults

    Journal: Preventive Medicine Reports, 2023, doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2023.102496

    Authors: John Flores, Bruce Taylor, Aniruddha Hazra, Harold Pollack, Mai T. Pho, & John Schneider


    This study seeks to understand the general adult population’s knowledge, attitudes, and stigma towards methamphetamine use and people with a history of methamphetamine use utilizing a cross-sectional national survey. We analyzed data from a cross-sectional survey drawn from AmeriSpeak®, a probability-based ongoing panel of over 35,000 households representative of the U.S. household population. We developed a 10-item social stigma scale, and estimated a multivariable generalized linear regression model for public stigma towards methamphetamine use as our dependent variable and a series of covariates. Six adjusted independent variables were noted to be significantly associated with higher stigma towards methamphetamine use: older age, higher household income, married status, Republican party affiliation, no history of methamphetamine use, and higher racism score. Sex assigned at birth, race (with Black as reference category), education level, and history of arrest or incarceration showed no statistical significance in stigma scores. In a separate regression model limited to people with a history of methamphetamine use (n = 727), notably White respondents had lower stigma compared to Black respondents. Our large population-based survey identified several factors associated with higher stigma towards those who use methamphetamines, including higher racist attitudes which was associated with a higher stigma score and higher internalized stigma amongst Black respondents with a history of methamphetamine use. Given the scope of methamphetamine use in the U.S., addressing stigma, in particular in regard to race, may impact the nation’s public health efforts to reduce methamphetamine-associated adverse outcomes.

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

    E-Cigarette Cessation Interest and Quit Attempts among Young Adults Reporting Exclusive E-Cigarette Use or Dual Use with other Tobacco Products: How Can We Reach Them?

    Journal: Tobacco Prevention & Cessation, 2023, doi: 10.18332/tpc/172416

    Authors: Daisy Le, Annie C. Cicero, Katelyn F. Romm, Michelle E. Clausen, Lorien C. Abroms, W. Douglas Evans, Amanda L. Graham, & Carla J. Berg


    Introduction: There is limited evidence to inform e-cigarette quitting interventions. This mixed-methods study examined: 1) e-cigarette and other tobacco product perceptions and cessation-related factors; and 2) potential behavioral intervention strategies among young adults reporting exclusive e-cigarette use or dual use with other tobacco products.

    Methods: We analyzed Fall 2020 survey data from 726 participants reporting past 6-month e-cigarette use (mean age=24.15 years, 51.1% female, 38.5% racial/ethnic minority) from 6 US metropolitan areas and Spring 2021 qualitative interview data from a subset (n=40), comparing tobacco-related perceptions and cessation-related factors among those reporting exclusive use versus dual use.

    Results: Among survey participants (35.5% exclusive e-cigarette use, 64.5% dual use), those reporting dual use indicated greater importance of quitting all tobacco or nicotine products (mean=5.28, SD=3.44 vs mean=4.65, SD=3.75, p=0.033), whereas those reporting exclusive use expressed greater confidence in quitting e-cigarettes (mean=7.59, SD=3.06 vs mean=7.08, SD=3.01, p=0.029) and all tobacco and nicotine products (mean=7.00, SD=3.16 vs mean=6.31, SD=3.13, p=0.008), as well as less favorable perceptions (i.e. more harmful to health and addictive, less socially acceptable) of cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco (p<0.05). Interview participants (50.0% exclusive e-cigarette use; 50.0% dual use) attributed previous failed e-cigarette quit attempts to their inability to cope with social influences, stress, and withdrawal symptoms. Although most expressed disinterest in quitting due to belief of eventually outgrowing e-cigarettes (among those reporting exclusive use) or unreadiness to abstain from nicotine (among those reporting dual use), many acknowledged the need for quitting interventions.

    Conclusions: Young adult e-cigarette cessation interventions should target risk perceptions, cessation barriers, and social influences/support.

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


    December 2023