Research News Roundup: December 2, 2021

    Cumulative Exposure to Neighborhood Conditions and Substance Use Initiation among Low-Income Latinx and African American Adolescents

    Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2021, doi: 10.3390/ijerph182010831

    Authors: Eunice Lee & Anna Maria Santiago


    Purpose: While previous research underscores the important role that neighborhood contexts play for child and adolescent health and well-being, how these neighborhood contexts influence substance use initiation among adolescents from low-income and ethnic minority families has been understudied.

    Methods: This study is a secondary analysis of data from the Denver Child Study a retrospective survey that uses a natural experiment aimed at assessing neighborhood effects on developmental outcomes of Latinx and African American adolescents (N = 736). Cox cause-specific hazards models were estimated to test: (1) the effects of cumulative exposure to neighborhood social disorder, neighborhood violent and property crime rates, and neighborhood social capital during preadolescence (ages 8–11) on the likelihood of initiating alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use during adolescence (ages 12–18), after controlling for youth, caregiver, and household factors; and (2) whether the effects of these cumulative neighborhood factors vary by Latinx and African American ethnicity.

    Results: 5.6% of adolescents in this study initiated cigarette use, 5.4% initiated alcohol use and 5.2% used marijuana for the first time during adolescence. The results indicate that exposure to neighborhood social disorder during preadolescence is a significant risk factor, especially for the initiation of cigarette use (HR = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.062–1.745, p = 0.015) particularly among Latinx adolescents (HR = 1.42, 95% CI = 1.031–1.966, p = 0.032).

    Conclusions: The findings suggest the need for further research on the relationship between exposure to neighborhood social disorder and adolescent substance use initiation in order to develop and implement community-based prevention and intervention programs to reduce substance use initiation and facilitate healthy adolescent development.

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

    Cannabis Use among Court-Involved Minority Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Adolescents

    Journal: Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 2021, doi: 10.29158/JAAPL.200104-20

    Authors: Matthew E. Hirschtritt, Johanna B. Folk, Brandon D. L. Marshall, Yu Li & Marina Tolou-Shams

    We examined the effects of family functioning and beliefs regarding peers’ cannabis use among minority (n = 112) and non-minority (n = 275) sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), first-time court-involved adolescents. We examined longitudinally the effects of baseline general family functioning and peer cannabis use beliefs on self-reported cannabis use and cannabis-related consequences after 12 months. At baseline, 39.2 percent of adolescents reported using cannabis. Minority SOGI adolescents reported worse family functioning (p = .017) and higher peer cannabis use beliefs (p = .047). Higher peer cannabis use beliefs at baseline predicted recent cannabis use at the 12-month assessment for both minority and non-minority SOGI adolescents. Better family functioning predicted a lower likelihood of recent cannabis use at 12 months for non-minority SOGI adolescents, but not for minority SOGI adolescents. Baseline peer cannabis use beliefs and family functioning predicted cannabis-related consequences for both cohorts at 12 months when accounting for intermediate (i.e., four-month and eight-month) data. Among all first-time court-involved adolescents, those who believed greater cannabis use among their peers reported more subsequent cannabis use themselves. Conversely, higher general family functioning may be less of a protective factor for minority SOGI adolescents. These results suggest the utility of feedback interventions to modify peer norm beliefs among first-time court-involved adolescents.

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

    Preventing Opioid Use among Justice-involved Youth as they Transition to Adulthood: Leveraging Safe Adults (LeSA)

    Journal: BMC Public Health, 2021, doi: 10.1186/s12889-021-12127-3

    Authors: Danica Kalling Knight, Yang Yang, Elizabeth D. Joseph, Elaine Tinius, Shatoya Young, Lillyan T. Shelley, David R. Cross & Kevin Knight


    Background: Juvenile justice (JJ) youth are at high risk of opioid and other substance use (SU), dysfunctional family/social relationships, and complex trauma. The purpose of the Leveraging Safe Adults (LeSA) Project is to examine the effectiveness of Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®; leveraging family systems by providing emotional and instrumental guidance, support, and role modeling) in preventing opioid and other SU among youth after release from secure residential facilities.

    Methods: An effectiveness-implementation Hybrid Type 1 design is used to test the effectiveness of TBRI for preventing non-medical use of opioids among JJ-youth (delayed-start at the site level; a randomized controlled trial at participant level) and to gain insight into facility-level barriers to TBRI implementation as part of JJ re-entry protocols. Recruitment includes two samples (effectiveness: 360 youth/caregiver dyads; implementation: 203 JJ staff) from nine sites in two states over 3 years. Participant eligibility includes 15 to 18-year-olds disposed to community supervision and receiving care in a secure JJ facility, without active suicide risk, and with one caregiver willing to participate. Effectiveness data come from (1) youth and caregiver self-report on background, SU, psychosocial functioning, and youth-caregiver relationships (Months 0, 3, 6, 12, and 18), youth monthly post-release check-ins, and caregiver report on youth psychological/behavioral symptoms, and (2) JJ facility records (e.g., recidivism, treatment utilization). Fidelity assessment includes post-session checklists and measures of TBRI strategy use. Collected four times over four years, implementation data include (1) JJ staff self-report on facility and staff characteristics, use of trauma-informed care and TBRI strategies, and (2) focus groups (line staff, leadership separately) on use of trauma-informed strategies, uptake of new interventions, and penetration, sustainment, and expansion of TBRI practices.

    Discussion: The LeSA study is testing TBRI as a means to empower caregivers to help prevent opioid use and other SU among JJ-youth. TBRI’s multiple components offer an opportunity for caregivers to supplement and extend gains during residential care. If effective and implemented successfully, the LeSA protocol will help expand the application of TBRI with a wider audience and provide guidance for implementing multi-component interventions in complex systems spanning multiple contexts.

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

    Modeling Mortality Risk Effects of Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco: Results from The National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality File Data

    Journal: BMC Public Health, 2021, doi: 10.1186/s12889-021-11801-w

    Authors: Esther Salazar, Chunfeng Ren, Brian L. Rostron & Ghideon Solomon


    Background: Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco (SLT) products are among a wide range of tobacco products that are addictive and pose a significant health risk. In this study, we estimated smoking- and SLT use-related mortality hazard ratios (HRs) among U.S. adults by sex, age group, and cause of death, for nine mutually exclusive categories of smoking and/or SLT use.

    Methods: We used data from the public-use National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality with mortality follow-up through 2015. We used Cox proportional hazard models to estimate mortality HRs, adjusted by race/ethnicity, education, poverty level, body mass index, and tobacco-use status.

    Results: With never users as reference group, HRs for smoking-related diseases for male exclusive current smokers aged 35–64 and 65+ were 2.18 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.79–2.65), and 2.45 (95% CI: 2.14–2.79), respectively. Similar significant HR estimates were found for females and for all-cause mortality (ACM) and other-cause mortality (OCM) outcomes. HRs for exclusive current SLT users were only significant for males aged 35–64 for ACM (HR: 2.04, 95% CI: 1.27–3.27) and OCM (HR: 2.80, 95% CI: 1.50–5.25). HRs for users who switched from cigarettes to SLT products were significant for males aged 65+ for smoking-related diseases (HR: 2.06, 95% CI: 1.47–2.88), SLT-related diseases (HR: 1.99, 95% CI: 1.36–2.89), and ACM (HR: 1.63, 95% CI: 1.21–2.19).

    Conclusions: Male exclusive current SLT users aged 35–64 had a significant HR for ACM and OCM outcomes, suggesting that deaths not attributed to SLT use could be contributing to the ACM elevated HR for exclusive current SLT users.

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

    Association of Substance Use Disorders and Drug Overdose with Adverse COVID-19 Outcomes in New York City: January-October 2020

    Journal: Journal of Public Health, 2021, doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdaa241

    Authors: Bennett Allen, Omar El Shahawy, Erin S. Rogers, Sarah Hochman, Maria R. Khan & Noa Krawczyk


    Background: Evidence suggests that individuals with history of substance use disorder (SUD) are at increased risk of COVID-19, but little is known about relationships between SUDs, overdose and COVID-19 severity and mortality. This study investigated risks of severe COVID-19 among patients with SUDs.

    Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of data from a hospital system in New York City. Patient records from 1 January to 26 October 2020 were included. We assessed positive COVID-19 tests, hospitalizations, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and death. Descriptive statistics and bivariable analyses compared the prevalence of COVID-19 by baseline characteristics. Logistic regression estimated unadjusted and sex-, age-, race- and comorbidity-adjusted odds ratios (AORs) for associations between SUD history, overdose history and outcomes.

    Results: Of patients tested for COVID-19 (n = 188 653), 2.7% (n = 5107) had any history of SUD. Associations with hospitalization [AORs (95% confidence interval)] ranged from 1.78 (0.85–3.74) for cocaine use disorder (COUD) to 6.68 (4.33–10.33) for alcohol use disorder. Associations with ICU admission ranged from 0.57 (0.17–1.93) for COUD to 5.00 (3.02–8.30) for overdose. Associations with death ranged from 0.64 (0.14–2.84) for COUD to 3.03 (1.70–5.43) for overdose.

    Discussion: Patients with histories of SUD and drug overdose may be at elevated risk of adverse COVID-19 outcomes.

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


    December 2021