Research News Roundup: January 26, 2023

    Individual Factors Predict Substance Use Treatment Course Patterns among Patients in Community-Based Substance Use Disorder Treatment

    Journal: PLoS One, 2023, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0280407

    Authors: Evangelia Argyriou, Giorgos Bakoyannis, Wei Wu, Mary Jo Rattermann & Melissa A. Cyders


    Background and Objectives: Substance use disorders (SUDs) usually involve a complex natural trajectory of recovery alternating with symptom reoccurrence. This study examined treatment course patterns over time in a community SUD clinic. We examined depressive symptoms level, primary SUD assigned at each admission, and lifetime misuse of multiple substances as potential risk factors for premature treatment termination and subsequent treatment readmission.

    Methods: De-identified longitudinal data were extracted from charts of 542 patients from an SUD treatment center. Survival analysis methods were applied to predict two time-to-event outcomes: premature treatment termination and treatment readmission.

    Results: Primary opioid (vs alcohol) use disorder diagnosis at admission was associated with higher hazard of premature termination (HR = 1.91, p<0.001). The interaction between depressive symptoms level and substance use status (multiple vs single use) on treatment readmission was significant (p = 0.024), such that higher depressive symptoms level was predictive of readmission only among those with a history of single substance use (marginally significant effect). Lifetime use of multiple (vs single) substances (HR = 1.55, p = 0.002) and age (HR = 1.01, p = 0.019) predicted increased hazard of readmission.

    Conclusions: Findings did not support a universal role for depressive symptoms level in treatment course patterns. Primary SUD diagnosis, age, and history of substance misuse can be easily assessed and incorporated into treatment planning to support SUD patients and families. This study is the first to our knowledge that afforded a stringent test of these relationships and their interactions in a time-dependent, recurrent event, competing risks survival analysis examining both termination and readmission patterns utilizing a real-world clinic-based sample.

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

    An Evaluation of the Association between Specific Post-Overdose Care Services in Emergency Departments and Subsequent Treatment Engagement

    Journal: Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians Open, 2023, doi: 10.1002/emp2.12877

    Authors: Laura C. Chambers, Benjamin D. Hallowell, Elizabeth A. Samuels, Mackenzie Daly, Janette Baird & Francesca L. Beaudoin


    Objective: The objective of this study was to estimate the association between receipt of specific post-overdose care services in the emergency department (ED) and subsequent engagement in treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) after discharge.

    Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of Rhode Island residents treated at 1 of 4 EDs for opioid overdose who were not engaged in OUD treatment and were discharged home (May 2016-April 2021). Electronic health record data were used to identify ED services received, and state administrative data were used to define subsequent engagement in OUD treatment within 30 days. Multivariable conditional logistic regression was used to estimate the association between ED services received and subsequent treatment engagement.

    Results: Overall, 1008 people not engaged in OUD treatment were treated at study EDs for opioid overdose and discharged home, of whom 146 (14%) subsequently engaged in OUD treatment within 30 days. Most patients were aged 25 to 44 years (59%) and non-Hispanic White (69%). Receipt of behavioral counseling in the ED (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.79, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.18-2.71) and initiation of buprenorphine treatment in/from the ED (aOR = 5.86, 95% CI = 2.70-12.71) were associated with treatment engagement. Receipt of a take-home naloxone kit or naloxone prescription and referral to treatment at discharge were not associated with treatment engagement. Overall, 49% of patients received behavioral counseling in the ED, and 3% initiated buprenorphine in/from the ED.

    Conclusion: Strategies for increasing provision of behavioral counseling and initiation of buprenorphine in the ED may be useful for improving subsequent engagement in OUD treatment after discharge.

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

    Long-Term Behavioral Effects of a School-Based Prevention Program on Illicit Drug Use among Young Adults

    Journal: Journal of Public Health Research, 2023, doi: 10.1177/22799036221146914

    Authors: Kenneth W. Griffin, Gilbert J. Botvin, Lawrence M. Scheier & Christopher Williams


    Most universal drug abuse prevention efforts target early adolescents with the goal of delaying or preventing the onset of substance use. The present study examined long-term follow-up data from a large-scale randomized trial of a school-based prevention program that used cognitive-behavioral skills-training techniques to enhance social and personal competence skills and drug refusal skills. The preventive intervention was implemented in junior high schools, and pretest data were collected from students in the classroom. Approximately 13 years later, follow-up data were collected by mail from 2042 young adults. Rates of overall lifetime illicit drug use, as well as lifetime marijuana use, marijuana intoxication, and lifetime non-medical pill use, were lower among students who received the prevention program (Life Skills Training) during junior high school compared to control group participants. These findings support the hypothesis that comprehensive, universal school-based prevention programs can produce long-term effects on illicit drug use behavior.

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

    Telemedicine Use and Quality of Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in the US During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Authors: Ruth Hailu, Ateev Mehrotra, Haiden A. Huskamp, Alisa B. Busch & Michael L. Barnett

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2023, doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.52381


    Importance: Little is known about the potential implications of the rapid transition to telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic for treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD).

    Objective: To examine the association between telemedicine adoption during the COVID-19 pandemic and indicators of OUD treatment quality.

    Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study analyzed deidentified administrative claims data from OptumLabs Data Warehouse. Claims for telemedicine visits were included for both the prepandemic period (March 14, 2019, to March 13, 2020) and pandemic period (March 14, 2020, to March 13, 2021). Patients with OUD and continuous enrollment in either commercial insurance or Medicare Advantage plans were included. Clinicians who provided office-based OUD care were included and categorized into low, medium, or high telemedicine use groups. Patients were attributed to the clinician (and corresponding telemedicine use group) from whom they received a plurality of OUD visits.

    Main Outcomes and Measures: The 4 outcomes were all outpatient visits, OUD visits (in person vs telemedicine) within 90 days of an index visit, medications for OUD (MOUD) prescribing, and OUD-related clinical events (including drug overdose, inpatient detoxification and rehabilitation center stay, or injection drug use–related infections).

    Results: The analysis included 11 801 patients (mean [SD] age, 53.9 [15.7] years; 5902 males [50.0%]) who were treated by 1768 clinicians. Clinicians with low vs high telemedicine use conducted a mean (SD) of 2.1% (2.5%) vs 69.5% (18.6%) of their office visits virtually in the pandemic period. While telemedicine use for OUD increased significantly from the prepandemic to pandemic periods, total OUD visit volume (in person plus telemedicine) per patient episode remained stable among both high (2.6 to 2.7 visits per patient episode) and low (3.1 to 3.3 visits per patient episode) telemedicine use groups. In adjusted analyses comparing the prepandemic with pandemic periods, there was no differential change in MOUD initiation (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.00; 95% CI, 0.84-1.19), MOUD days’ supply (differential change in days’ supply, –0.27; 95% CI, –1.84 to 1.30), or OUD-related clinical events (adjusted OR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.73-1.24) among patients who were treated by clinicians in low vs high telemedicine use groups.

    Conclusions and Relevance: Results of this study revealed that clinical outcomes were similar among patients who were treated by clinicians with high and low telemedicine use during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that telemedicine is a comparable alternative to in-person OUD care. There was no evidence that telemedicine was associated with increased access to or improved quality of OUD treatment.

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

    Co-Substance Use of Nicotine Vaping and Non-Cigarette Tobacco Products among U.S. Grade 12 Students from 2017-2019

    Journal: Drug Alcohol Dependence Reports, 2022, doi: 10.1016/j.dadr.2022.100112

    Authors: Hadley Ankrum, Noah T. Kreski, Magdalena Cerdá, Qixuan Chen, Deborah S. Hasin, Silvia S. Martins, Richard Miech, … Katherine M. Keyes


    Background: Nicotine vaping among U.S. adolescents has risen rapidly over the past decade, particularly for youth in grade 12. While previous studies examined the relationship between nicotine vaping and combustible cigarette use, less is known about the co-occurrence between vaping and other tobacco products.

    Methods: Using Monitoring the Future grade 12 data (2017-2019), we investigated associations between past 30-day nicotine vaping and non-vaping, non-cigarette tobacco use (smokeless tobacco, large cigars, cigarillos, hookah). Population prevalences of four categories were assessed: neither, vaping only, non-vaping of non-cigarette tobacco only, or both. We further investigated these relationships with logistic regressions accounting for the complex survey design (unadjusted, demographic-adjusted, and further adjusted for other substance use). Finally, analyses were stratified by combustible cigarette use.

    Results: Depending on the non-cigarette tobacco product, 2.5% to 5.4% of grade 12 students vaped nicotine and used a non-cigarette tobacco product. Controlling for demographics, cigarillo use was associated with nicotine vaping (adjusted RR = 3.44, 95% CI: 3.08, 3.84), as was hookah use (aRR = 3.51, 95% CI: 2.92, 4.23), smokeless tobacco (aRR = 2.97, 95% CI: 2.51, 3.52), and cigar use (aRR = 2.90, 95% CI: 2.49, 3.37). Controlling for cannabis and all non-cigarette tobacco products simultaneously attenuated associations. Associations were stronger among students who did not use cigarettes.

    Discussion: Nicotine vaping is associated with use of many non-cigarette tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco, cigarillos, cigars, and hookah. As prevalence of nicotine vaping remains high among adolescents, we should monitor co-use of vaping and other tobacco products.

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


    January 2023