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    Research News Roundup: February 15, 2024

    Social Influence and Advocacy Pathways During a Web-Based Program for Adolescent Smoking Prevention

    Journal: Addictive Behavior Reports, 2024, doi: 10.1016/j.abrep.2024.100529

    Authors: Georges E. Khalil, Meerah Khan, & Jeanie Kim


    Introduction: Exposure to smokers has been identified as a predictor of adolescent tobacco use. Conversely, adolescents who tend to be advocates against smoking may become less likely to initiate smoking themselves. Several digital tobacco prevention programs have been developed to include social strategies. This study aimed to identify (1) whether programs can motivate adolescents to become advocates against smoking, and (2) if being an advocate against smoking and exposure to friends who smoke can predict smoking while controlling for a program’s effect.

    Methods: We conducted a non-prespecified secondary analysis using data from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with 18-month follow-up. High schools were randomized to either receive ASPIRE or a tobacco education booklet. We conducted a cross-lagged linear path model to allow for reciprocal associations, estimating a two-time-points, three-variable panel model with logistic regression.

    Results: Receiving ASPIRE was associated with a lower likelihood of smoking, but it did not predict becoming an advocate against smoking or changing adolescents’ proportion of friends who smoke. After controlling for the effect of ASPIRE, the study shows that adolescents who were advocates against smoking had a decreased risk of smoking by follow-up, and smoking at baseline significantly predicted having a higher proportion of friends who smoke at follow-up.

    Discussion: Being an advocate against smoking can be a key predictor of lower odds of smoking, even when controlling for an individual-based intervention. Future research can study the mechanisms and long-term effects of advocacy and incorporate social strategies that can leverage social networks for tobacco prevention.

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

    Cardiac Arrest Following Drug Overdose in the United States: An Analysis of the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival

    Journal: Journal of the American Heart Association, 2024, doi: 10.1161/JAHA.123.031245

    Authors: Aditya C. Shekhar, Brian H. Nathanson, Timothy J. Mader, & Ryan A. Coute


    Background: Given increases in drug overdose-associated mortality, there is interest in better understanding of drug overdose out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). A comparison between overdose-attributable OHCA and nonoverdose-attributable OHCA will inform public health measures.

    Methods and Results: We analyzed data from 2017 to 2021 in the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES), comparing overdose-attributable OHCA (OD-OHCA) with OHCA from other nontraumatic causes (non-OD-OHCA). Arrests involving patients <18 years, health care facility residents, patients with cancer diagnoses, and patients with select missing data were excluded. Our main outcome of interest was survival with good neurological outcome, defined as Cerebral Performance Category score 1 or 2. From a data set with 537 100 entries, 29 500 OD-OHCA cases and 338 073 non-OD-OHCA cases met inclusion criteria. OD-OHCA cases involved younger patients with fewer comorbidities, were less likely to be witnessed, and less likely to present with a shockable rhythm. Unadjusted survival to hospital discharge with Cerebral Performance Category score =1 or 2 was significantly higher in the OD-OHCA cohort (OD: 15.2% versus non-OD: 6.9%). Adjusted results showed comparable survival with Cerebral Performance Category score =1 or 2 when the first monitored arrest rhythm was shockable (OD: 28.9% versus non-OD: 23.5%, P=0.087) but significantly higher survival rates with Cerebral Performance Category score =1 or 2 for OD-OHCA when the first monitored arrest rhythm was nonshockable (OD: 9.6% versus non-OD: 3.1%, P<0.001).

    Conclusions: Among patients presenting with nonshockable rhythms, OD-OHCA is associated with significantly better outcomes. Further research should explore cardiac arrest causes, and public health efforts should attempt to reduce the burden from drug overdoses.

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

    Smoking Status and Survival in Patients With Early-Stage Primary Cutaneous Melanoma

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2024, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.54751

    Authors: Katherine M. Jackson, Peter C. Jones, Laura M. Fluke, Trevan D. Fischer, John F. Thompson, Alistair J. Cochran, … Leland J. Foshag


    Importance: While smoking is associated with a decreased incidence of cutaneous melanoma, the association of smoking with melanoma progression and death is not well defined.

    Objective: To determine the association of smoking with survival in patients with early-stage primary cutaneous melanoma.

    Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study performed a post hoc analysis of data derived from the randomized, multinational first and second Multicenter Selective Lymphadenectomy Trials (MSLT-I and MSLT-II). Participants were accrued for MSLT-I from January 20, 1994, to March 29, 2002; MSLT-II, from December 21, 2004, to March 31, 2014. Median follow-up was 110.0 (IQR, 53.4-120.0) months for MSLT-I and 67.6 (IQR, 25.8-110.2) months for MSLT-II. Patients aged 18 to 75 years with clinical stages I or II melanoma with a Breslow thickness of 1.00 mm or greater or Clark level IV to V and available standard prognostic and smoking data were included. Analyses were performed from October 4, 2022, to March 31, 2023.

    Exposure: Current, former, and never smoking.

    Main Outcomes and Measures: Melanoma-specific survival of patients with current, former, and never smoking status was assessed for the entire cohort and for nodal observation and among subgroups with sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB)-negative and SLNB-positive findings.

    Results: Of 6279 included patients, 3635 (57.9%) were men, and mean (SD) age was 52.7 (13.4) years. The most common tumor location was an extremity (2743 [43.7%]), and mean (SD) Breslow thickness was 2.44 (2.06) mm. Smoking status included 1077 (17.2%) current, 1694 (27.0%) former, and 3508 (55.9%) never. Median follow-up was 78.4 (IQR, 30.5-119.6) months. Current smoking was associated with male sex, younger age, trunk site, thicker tumors, tumor ulceration, and SLNB positivity. Current smoking was associated with a greater risk of melanoma-associated death by multivariable analysis for the entire study (hazard ratio [HR], 1.48 [95% CI, 1.26-1.75]; P < .001). Former smoking was not. The increased risk of melanoma-specific mortality associated with current smoking was greatest for patients with SLNB-negative melanoma (HR, 1.85 [95% CI, 1.35-2.52]; P < .001), but also present for patients with SLNB-positive melanoma (HR, 1.29 [95% CI, 1.04-1.59]; P = .02) and nodal observation (HR, 1.68 [95% CI, 1.09-2.61]; P = .02). Smoking at least 20 cigarettes/d doubled the risk of death due to melanoma for patients with SLNB-negative disease (HR, 2.06 [95% CI, 1.36-3.13]; P < .001).

    Conclusions and Relevance: The findings of this cohort study suggest that patients with clinical stage I and II melanoma who smoked had a significantly increased risk of death due to melanoma. Smoking status should be assessed at time of melanoma diagnosis and may be considered a risk factor for disease progression.

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

    Referral to and Engagement in Substance Use Disorder Treatment Within Opioid Intervention Courts in New York: A Qualitative Study of Implementation Barriers and Facilitators

    Journal: Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 2024, doi: 10.1186/s13011-024-00593-y

    Authors: Megan A. O’Grady, Katherine S. Elkington, Gail Robson, Ikenna Y. Achebe, Arthur Robin Williams, … Susan Tross


    Background: People with opioid use disorder (OUD) are frequently in contact with the court system and have markedly higher rates of fatal opioid overdose. Opioid intervention courts (OIC) were developed to address increasing rates of opioid overdose among court defendants by engaging court staff in identification of treatment need and referral for opioid-related services and building collaborations between the court and OUD treatment systems. The study goal was to understand implementation barriers and facilitators in referring and engaging OIC clients in OUD treatment.

    Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with OIC stakeholders (n = 46) in 10 New York counties in the United States, including court coordinators, court case managers, and substance use disorder treatment clinic counselors, administrators, and peers. Interviews were recorded and transcribed and thematic analysis was conducted, guided by the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, Sustainment (EPIS) framework, employing both inductive and deductive coding.

    Results: Results were conceptualized using EPIS inner (i.e., courts) and outer (i.e., OUD treatment providers) implementation contexts and bridging factors that impacted referral and engagement to OUD treatment from the OIC. Inner factors that facilitated OIC implementation included OIC philosophy (e.g., non-punitive, access-oriented), court organizational structure (e.g., strong court staff connectedness), and OIC court staff and client characteristics (e.g., positive medications for OUD [MOUD] attitudes). The latter two also served as barriers (e.g., lack of formalized procedures; stigma toward MOUD). Two outer context entities impacted OIC implementation as both barriers and facilitators: substance use disorder treatment programs (e.g., attitudes toward the OIC and MOUD; operational characteristics) and community environments (e.g., attitudes toward the opioid epidemic). The COVID-19 pandemic and bail reform were macro-outer context factors that negatively impacted OIC implementation. Facilitating bridging factors included staffing practices that bridged court and treatment systems (e.g., peers); barriers included communication and cultural differences between systems (e.g., differing expectations about OIC client success).

    Conclusions: This study identified key barriers and facilitators that OICs may consider as this model expands in the United States. Referral to and engagement in OUD treatment within the OIC context requires ongoing efforts to bridge the treatment and court systems, and reduce stigma around MOUD.

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

    Journal: Frontiers in Public Health, 2024, doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2023.1274719

    Authors: Yu Kyung Lee, Mark S. Gold, Kenneth Blum, Panayotis K. Thanos, Colin Hanna, & Brian S. Fuehrlein


    Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a major public health threat, contributing to morbidity and mortality from addiction, overdose, and related medical conditions. Despite our increasing knowledge about the pathophysiology and existing medical treatments of OUD, it has remained a relapsing and remitting disorder for decades, with rising deaths from overdoses, rather than declining. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the increase in overall substance use and interrupted access to treatment. If increased naloxone access, more buprenorphine prescribers, greater access to treatment, enhanced reimbursement, less stigma and various harm reduction strategies were effective for OUD, overdose deaths would not be at an all-time high. Different prevention and treatment approaches are needed to reverse the concerning trend in OUD. This article will review the recent trends and limitations on existing medications for OUD and briefly review novel approaches to treatment that have the potential to be more durable and effective than existing medications. The focus will be on promising interventional treatments, psychedelics, neuroimmune, neutraceutical, and electromagnetic therapies. At different phases of investigation and FDA approval, these novel approaches have the potential to not just reduce overdoses and deaths, but attenuate OUD, as well as address existing comorbid disorders.

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


    February 2024