Research News Roundup: December 9, 2021

    Mobile Text Messaging for Tobacco Risk Communication among Young Adult Community College Students: Randomized Trial of Project Debunk

    Journal: JMIR Mhealth Uhealth, 2021, doi: 10.2196/25618

    Authors: Alexander V Prokhorov, Karen Sue Calabro, Ashish Arya, Sophia Russell, Katarzyna W. Czerniak, Gabrielle C Botello, Minxing Chen, Ying Yuan, Adriana Perez, Damon J. Vidrine, Cheryl L. Perry & Georges Elias Khalil


    Background: The use of new and emerging tobacco products (NETPs) and conventional tobacco products (CTPs) has been linked to several alarming medical conditions among young adults (YAs). Considering that 96% of YAs own mobile phones, SMS text messaging may be an effective strategy for tobacco risk communication.

    Objective: Project Debunk is a community-based randomized trial aiming to identify specific types of messages that effectively improve perceived NETP and CTP risk among YAs in community colleges.

    Methods: With YAs recruited offline from 3 campuses at the Houston Community College (September 2016 to July 2017), we conducted a 6-month randomized trial with 8 arms based on the combination of 3 message categories: framing (gain-framed vs loss-framed), depth (simple vs complex), and appeal (emotional vs rational). Participants received fully automated web-based SMS text messages in two 30-day campaigns (2 messages per day). We conducted repeated-measures mixed-effect models stratified by message type received, predicting perceived CTP and NETP risks. Owing to multiple testing with 7 models, an association was deemed significant for P<.007 (.05 divided by 7).

    Results: A total of 636 participants completed the baseline survey, were randomized to 1 of 8 conditions (between 73 and 86 participants per condition), and received messages from both campaigns. By the 2-month post campaign 2 assessment point, 70.1% (446/636) completed all outcome measures. By the end of both campaigns, participants had a significant increase in perceived NETP risk over time (P<.001); however, participants had a marginal increase in perceived CTP risk (P=.008). Separately for each group, there was a significant increase in perceived NETP risk among participants who received rational messages (P=.005), those who received emotional messages (P=.006), those who received simple messages (P=.003), and those who received gain-framed messages (P=.003).

    Conclusions: In this trial, YAs had an increase in perceived NETP risk. However, with stratification, we observed a significant increase in perceived NETP risk upon exposure to rational, emotional, simple, and gain-framed messages. In addition, YAs generally had an increase in perceived CTP risk and presented nonsignificant but observable improvement upon exposure to emotional, complex, and loss-framed messages. With the results of this study, researchers and practitioners implementing mobile health programs may take advantage of our tailored messages through larger technology-based programs such as smartphone apps and social media campaigns.

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

    Parental Support and Monitoring as Associated with Adolescent Alcohol and Tobacco Use by Gender and Age

    Journal: BMC Public Health 21, 2001, doi: 10.1186/s12889-021-12119-3

    Authors: Rosalina Mills, Michael J. Mann, Megan L. Smith & Alfgeir L. Kristjansson


    Background: Parental support (PS) and parental monitoring (PM) are known protective factors against adolescent substance use (SU). However, little is known about whether PS and PM may affect SU outcomes differently by gender and age. This study examined the relationship between PS and PM and adolescent SU, specifically alcohol and tobacco use, stratified by gender and age group.

    Methods: Middle and high school students (n = 2351, 48.5% Female) completed surveys of self-reported SU, perceived PS and PM, and socioeconomic background. Age group was defined dichotomously as grade 7–8 Middle school and grade 9–10 High school students. PS and PM were each measured using previously validated tools. SU was measured by lifetime and past 30 days cigarette/alcohol use. One-way ANOVA and binary logistic regression models were completed. Odds ratios and means were reported.

    Results: PS and PM were significantly and negatively related to all outcome variables regardless of gender and age group. Mean differences in PS and PM were insignificant between age groups. Between genders, PM scores were significantly higher for girls (14.05) compared to boys (13.48) (p < 0.01). Odds Ratios of all four SU types (for alcohol and tobacco use) increased with higher age group, with ORs ranging from 1.45–2.61 (p < .05).

    Conclusions: PS and PM were protective against SU for all participants, consistent with previous literature. Girls reported greater parental monitoring than boys, irrespective of age-group. While girls experienced higher levels of monitoring, they did not report lower SU than boys. This suggests that monitoring girls more closely than boys appears unnecessary in preventing adolescent SU. Finally, PS was a more significant factor in preventing SU for older adolescents (high school aged group) than for younger adolescents, irrespective of gender suggesting that PS may be more impactful and important as adolescents age. As children mature, particularly from middle school to high school, PS may play a larger role in preventing SU for older adolescents compared to younger ones.

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

    The Impact of COVID-19 on Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) Services: Where Do We Go from Here?

    Journal: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2021.108394

    Authors: Kathlene Tracy, Leah Wachtel & Teri Friedman


    Medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) services is key to addressing the opioid crisis and COVID-19 has significantly impacted MOUD delivery. The need for social distancing and self-quarantining requires individuals to maintain personal physical space and limits face-to-face interactions, which are required for methadone dispensing and other regulated treatment activities. Mount Sinai Beth Israel, which has one of the largest opioid treatment service (OTP) delivery systems within the United States and included 10 OTP methadone clinics that responded rapidly by implementing procedures to address the additional challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article discusses four key procedural areas: 1) verified identity in-person pick-up doses, 2) drug urine toxicology screens, 3) treatment interactions, and 4) discharges, which can inform future OTP operational procedures by encouraging out-of-the-box thinking in this new age.

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

    State Marijuana Policies and Vaping Associated Lung Injuries in the US

    Journal: Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.109086.

    Authors: Abigail S. Friedman & Meghan E. Morean


    Background: The United States’ 2019 outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injuries (EVALI) was linked to an additive most common in informally-sourced vaporizable marijuana concentrates. This study estimates how states’ recreational and medical marijuana policies related to their 2019 EVALI incidence and residents’ likelihood of vaping as their primary mode of marijuana use.

    Methods: Multivariable negative binomial regressions estimated associations between states’ total 2019 EVALI cases and marijuana policies: recreational legalization, medical legalization only, and whether medical-only policies allowed home cultivation, prohibited combustible use, or had operational dispensaries. Logistic regressions used survey data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System’s 2016–2019 marijuana supplements to assess how these policies related to past-30-day marijuana users’ selection of vaping as their primary mode of use.

    Results: EVALI incidence was 42% lower in recreational marijuana states (95%CI=0.339,0.993), versus a positive but statistically insignificant association with medical legalization alone. Adjusting for policy attributes revealed heterogeneity: among medical-marijuana-only states, EVALI incidences were > 60% lower where laws allowed home cultivation (aIRR=0.374; 95%CI=0.196, 0.715). Similarly, among past-30-day marijuana users, odds of vaping as one’s primary mode of use were > 40% lower in medical-only states where home cultivation was allowed versus prohibited (aOR=0.588; 95%CI=0.365,0.946).

    Conclusions: Marijuana policy attributes linked to lower EVALI incidences were also associated with reduced likelihoods of vaping as one’s primary mode of use. As additives in informally-sourced vaping concentrates could drive future EVALI cases, marijuana policy design should account for effects on mode of use in licit and illicit markets, to limit the scope of future outbreaks.

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

    Care-Engaged Individuals with Polysubstance Use in Northeastern US Are Undertreated for Methamphetamine Use Disorder: A Retrospective Cohort Study.

    Journal: Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 2021, doi: 10.1186/s13722-021-00267-1

    Authors: Mimi Yen Li, George A. Alba, Julian Mitton & Benjamin Bearnot


    Background: Stimulant use has increased across the US, with concomitant opioid and methamphetamine use doubling between 2011 and 2017. Shifting patterns of polysubstance use have led to rising psychostimulant-involved deaths. While it is known that individuals who use methamphetamine require greater access to treatment, there is still little known about methamphetamine use and treatment among individuals who are already engaged in outpatient substance use treatment.

    Objectives: To characterize care-engaged individuals who use methamphetamine to guide harm reduction and treatment strategies.

    Methods: Retrospective cohort study of individuals at a large academic medical center in Massachusetts with ≥ 2 positive methamphetamine oral fluid toxicology tests between August 2019 and January 2020. We performed descriptive analysis of sociodemographic, medical, and drug use characteristics and a comparative analysis of injection methamphetamine use versus other routes of use.

    Results: Included were 71 individuals [56 male (80%), 66 non-Hispanic white (94%), median age 36 (IQR 30–42)]. Nearly all had opioid (94%) and stimulant use disorder (92%). Most had (93%) or were (83%) being treated with medications for opioid use disorder, but few received pharmacologic treatment for methamphetamine use disorder (24%). None received contingency management treatment.

    People who inject methamphetamine (68%) were more likely to have a history of overdose (91% vs. 70%; p = 0.02), have HCV (94% vs. 52%; p < 0.01), use fentanyl (93% vs. 65%; p = 0.02), and engage in sex work (19% vs. 0%; p = 0.03) compared to those who used via other routes. Both groups had prevalent homelessness (88% vs. 73%; p = 0.15), incarceration (81% vs. 64%; p = 0.11), depression (94% vs. 87%; p = 0.34), and bacteremia (27% vs. 22%; p = 0.63).

    Conclusions: Individuals in our study had high prevalence of polysubstance use, particularly concomitant methamphetamine and opioid use. Individuals who were well connected to substance use treatment for their opioid use were still likely to be undertreated for their methamphetamine use disorder and would benefit from greater access to contingency management treatment, harm reduction resources, and resources to address adverse social determinants of health.

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


    December 2021