Research News Roundup: July 14, 2022

    Individual, Interpersonal, and Neighborhood Measures Associated with Opioid Use Stigma: Evidence from a Nationally Representative Survey

    Journal: Social Science & Medicine, 2022, doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2022.115034

    Authors: Qinyun Lin, Marynia Kolak, Beth Watts, Luc Anselin, Harold Pollack, John Schneider & Bruce Taylor


    Despite growing awareness of opioid use disorder (OUD), fatal overdoses and downstream health conditions (e.g., hepatitis C and HIV) continue to rise in some populations. Various interrelated structural forces, together with social and economic determinants, contribute to this ongoing crisis; among these, access to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) and stigma towards people with OUD remain understudied. We combined data on methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone providers from SAMHSA’s 2019 directory, additional naltrexone providers from Vivitrol’s location finder service, with a nationally representative survey called “The AmeriSpeak survey on stigma toward people with OUD.” Integrating the social-ecological framework, we focus on individual characteristics, personal and family members’ experience with OUD, and spatial access to MOUD at the community level. We use nationally representative survey data from 3008 respondents who completed their survey in 2020. Recognizing that stigma is a multifaceted construct, we also examine how the process varies for different types of stigma, specifically perceived dangerousness and untrustworthiness, as well as social distancing measures under different scenarios. We found a significant association between stigma and spatial access to MOUD – more resources are related to weaker stigma. Respondents had a stronger stigma towards people experiencing current OUD (versus past OUD), and they were more concerned about OUD if the person would marry into their family (versus being their coworkers). Additionally, respondents’ age, sex, education, and personal experience with OUD were also associated with their stigma, and the association can vary depending on the specific type of stigma. Overall, stigma towards people with OUD was associated with both personal experiences and environmental measures.

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

    Preaddiction— A Missing Concept for Treating Substance Use Disorders

    Journal: JAMA Psychiatry, 2022, doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2022.1652

    Authors: A. Thomas McLellan; George F. Koob & Nora D. Volkow


    Despite decades of federal funding to develop and deliver treatments for individuals with serious addictions, treatment penetration rates are less than 20%.1 Facing a similar situation, the diabetes field increased treatment penetration and impact by identifying and intervening with early-stage diabetes, termed prediabetes. We use this example to illustrate the essential elements of this strategic clinical approach and discuss the changes that will be required within the substance use disorder (SUD) field to implement an analogous strategy. We suggest the DSM-5 diagnostic categories mild to moderate SUD as a starting operational definition for the term preaddiction, a commonly understood, motivating term that could engender broader clinical efforts to effect that strategy.

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

    Journal: Harm Reduction Journal, 2022, doi: 10.1186/s12954-022-00652-2

    Authors: Alice Zhang, Joseph A. Balles, Jennifer E. Nyland, Thao H. Nguyen, Veronica M. White & Aleksandra E. Zgierska


    Background: Individuals with substance use disorder often encounter law enforcement due to drug use-related criminal activity. Traditional policing approaches may not be effective for reducing recidivism and improving outcomes in this population. Here, we describe the impact of traditional policing approach to drug use-related crime on future recidivism, incarceration, and overdoses.

    Methods: Using a local Police Department (PD) database, we identified individuals with a police contact with probable cause to arrest for a drug use-related crime (“index contact”), including for an opioid-related overdose, between September 1, 2015, and August 31, 2016 (Group 1, N = 52). Data on police contacts, arrests, and incarceration 12 months before and after the index contact were extracted and compared using Fisher’s exact or Wilcoxon signed-rank tests. County-level data on fatal overdoses and estimates of time spent by PD officers in index contact-related responses were also collected. To determine whether crime-related outcomes changed over time, we identified a second group (Group 2, N = 263) whose index contact occurred between September 1, 2017, and August 31, 2020, and extracted data on police contacts, arrests, and incarceration during the 12 months prior to their index contact. Pre-index contact data between Groups 1 and 2 were compared with Fisher’s exact or Mann-Whitney U tests.

    Results: Comparison of data during 12 months before and 12 months after the index contact showed Group 1 increased their total number of overdose-related police contacts (6 versus 18; p = 0.024), incarceration rate (51.9% versus 84.6%; p = 0.001), and average incarceration duration per person (16.2 [SD = 38.6] to 50 days [SD = 72]; p < 0.001). In the six years following the index contact, 9.6% sustained a fatal opioid-related overdose. For Group 1, an average of 4.7 officers were involved, devoting an average total of 7.2 h per index contact. Comparison of pre-index contact data between Groups 1 and 2 showed similar rates of overdose-related police contacts and arrests.

    Conclusions: The results indicated that the traditional policing approach to drug use-related crime did not reduce arrests or incarceration and was associated with a risk of future overdose fatalities. Alternative law enforcement-led strategies, e.g., pre-arrest diversion-to-treatment programs, are urgently needed.

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

    Aided Recall of The Real Cost e-Cigarette Prevention Advertisements among a Nationally Representative Sample of Adolescents

    Journal: Preventive Medicine Reports, 2022, doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2022.101864

    Authors: Rhyan N. Vereen, Taylor J. Krajewski, Euphy Y. Wu, Jonathan H. Zhang, Nora Sanzo & Seth M Noar


    E-cigarette use among youth remains a significant public health concern. In 2018, The Real Cost campaign began disseminating messages about the harms of vaping, primarily using digital media. We sought to determine the prevalence of aided recall of The Real Cost e-cigarette prevention ads and identify potential differences by participant characteristics. Participants were a nationally representative sample of adolescents living in United States (US) households recruited by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago’s AmeriSpeak panel in September and October of 2020. A total of 623 adolescents completed the survey. Analyses were weighted to represent the distribution of youth in the US, and effect sizes for individual characteristics were estimated using an adjusted marginalized two-part model. Seventy-one percent of adolescents recalled at least one of the five The Real Cost e-cigarette prevention ads, with individual ad recall ranging from a low of 38.8% (for Magic) to a high of 50.1% (for Narrative). Adjusted estimates of aided recall identified significantly higher recall among Black adolescents and those that used social media at medium or high frequencies (p < 0.05). Results support ongoing efforts by the FDA to reach youth with e-cigarette prevention messages using primarily digital media.

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

    An Exploration of Young Adults with Opioid Use Disorder and How their Perceptions of Family Members’ Beliefs Affects Medication Treatment

    Journal: Journal of Addiction Medicine, 2022, doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000001001

    Authors: Sarah M. Bagley, Samantha F. Schoenberger, Vanessa dellaBitta, Karsten Lunze, Kendyl Barron, Scott E. Hadland & Tae Woo Park


    Background: Young adults with opioid use disorder (OUD) have low engagement and retention in medication treatment. Families are uniquely situated to play an important role in treatment decisions. This qualitative study explored how young adults with OUD perceive their families’ beliefs about OUD and medication treatment, and how those beliefs impacted young adults’ beliefs about their own treatment decisions.

    Methods: We conducted a qualitative study of a convenience sample of 20 English-speaking young adults with OUD receiving care from an urban safety net hospital in Massachusetts. We explored young adults’ perceptions of how families viewed medication treatment. We conducted semi-structured interviews that were recorded and transcribed. We analyzed interviews using hybrid inductive and deductive categorization to support thematic analysis.

    Results: We identified 3 themes. First, family history of substance use disorder and treatment negatively impacted how young adults perceive their OUD and medication treatment. Second, young adults shared that many families held negative or stigmatizing views of medication treatment. Finally, acceptance by family was important but young adults acknowledged that keeping treatment decisions from family was sometimes necessary.

    Conclusions: In this qualitative exploration of young adults with OUD, we found that young adults felt that their families held important beliefs about the kind of treatment family members found most appropriate, and these perceived family beliefs impacted their treatment choices. Future research to improve engagement and retention of youth adults with OUD could target the beliefs of family members.

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


    July 2022