Research News Roundup: July 8, 2021

    A Review of Research-supported Group Treatments for Drug Use Disorders

    Journal: Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 2021, doi: 10.1186/s13011-021-00371-0

    Authors: Gabriela López, Lindsay M. Orchowski, Madhavi K. Reddy, Jessica Nargiso & Jennifer E. Johnson

    Abstract: This paper reviews methodologically rigorous studies examining group treatments for interview-diagnosed drug use disorders. A total of 50 studies reporting on the efficacy of group drug use disorder treatments for adults met inclusion criteria. Studies examining group treatment for cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, opioid, mixed substance, and substance use disorder with co-occurring psychiatric conditions are discussed. The current review showed that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) group therapy and contingency management (CM) groups appear to be more effective at reducing cocaine use than treatment as usual (TAU) groups. CM also appeared to be effective at reducing methamphetamine use relative to standard group treatment. Relapse prevention support groups, motivational interviewing, and social support groups were all effective at reducing marijuana use relative to a delayed treatment control. Group therapy or group CBT plus pharmacotherapy are more effective at decreasing opioid use than pharmacotherapy alone. An HIV harm reduction program has also been shown to be effective for reducing illicit opioid use. Effective treatments for mixed substance use disorder include group CBT, CM, and women’s recovery group. Behavioral skills group, group behavioral therapy plus CM, Seeking Safety, Dialectical behavior therapy groups, and CM were more effective at decreasing substance use and psychiatric symptoms relative to TAU, but group psychoeducation and group CBT were not. Given how often group formats are utilized to treat drug use disorders, the present review underscores the need to understand the extent to which evidence-based group therapies for drug use disorders are applied in treatment settings.

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

    Integrating Harm Reduction into Outpatient Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Settings

    Journal: Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2021, doi:10.1007/s11606-021-06904-4

    Authors: Jessica L. Taylor, Samantha Johnson, Ricardo Cruz, Jessica R. Gray, Davida Schiff & Sarah M. Bagley

    Abstract: Opioid use disorder (OUD) is increasingly recognized as a chronic, relapsing brain disease whose treatment should be integrated into primary care settings alongside other chronic conditions. However, abstinence from all non-prescribed substance use continues to be prioritized as the only desired goal in many outpatient, primary care–based treatment programs. This presents a barrier to engagement for patients who continue to use substances and who may be at high risk for complications of ongoing substance use such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), superficial and deep tissue infections, and overdose. Harm reduction aims to reduce the negative consequences of substance use and offers an alternative to abstinence as a singular goal. Incorporating harm reduction principles into primary care treatment settings can support programs in engaging patients with ongoing substance use and facilitate the delivery of evidence-based screening and prevention services. The objective of this narrative review is to describe strategies for the integration of evidence-based harm reduction principles and interventions into outpatient, primary care–based OUD treatment settings. We will offer specific tools for providers and programs including strategies to support safer injection practices, assess the risks and benefits of continuing medications for opioid use disorder in the setting of ongoing substance use, promote a non-stigmatizing program culture, and address the needs of special populations with ongoing substance use including adolescents, parents, and families.

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


    Addiction Medicine Practice-Based Research Network (AMNet): Assessment Tools and Quality Measures

    Journal: Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, 2021, doi: 10.2147/SAR.S305972

    Authors: Diana E Clarke, Adila Ibrahim, Benjamin Doty, Sejal Patel, Debbie Gibson, Anna Pagano, Laura Thompson, Amy B Goldstein, Frank Vocci & Robert P Schwartz

    Introduction: The need for innovative approaches to address the opioid epidemic in the United States is widely recognized. Many challenges exist to addressing this epidemic, including the obstacles outpatient substance use treatment practices face in implementing measurement-based care (MBC), quality measurement systems, and evidence-based treatments. Also, there are insufficient opportunities for clinicians in these settings to participate in research, resulting in diminished translation of research findings into community-based practice. To address these challenges, the Addiction Medicine Practice-Based Research Network (AMNet) was developed to facilitate the uptake of MBC in outpatient practices via implementation of patient-reported assessments and quality of care performance measures to improve patient outcomes. This network will offer clinicians in outpatient settings (not including opioid treatment programs [OTPs]) the opportunity to participate in future substance use disorder treatment research studies.

    Methods: A key step in the development of AMNet was the selection of substance use-specific assessment tools and quality of care performance measures for incorporation into the American Psychiatric Association’s mental health patient registry, PsychPRO. A scoping review and multi-step consensus-based process were used to identify, review and select candidate assessment tools and quality of care performance measures for opioid use disorders (OUD) and substance use disorders (SUD).

    Results: Following a consensus-based methodology, 12 standardized assessment tools and 3 quality of care performance measures for OUD and SUD were selected to help facilitate the implementation of MBC and quality improvement for AMNet participants. These tools were further categorized as core and optional.

    Conclusion: By offering a collection of carefully vetted assessment tools and quality measures through PsychPRO, AMNet will help participating clinicians with the systematic uptake of MBC and delivery of evidence-based treatment for patients with SUD. Also, AMNet will act as a centralized repository of data collected from patients and clinicians in non-OTP outpatient addiction medicine practices and serve as a platform for opioid treatment research.

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


    Cannabis and Cognitive Functioning: From Acute to Residual Effects, From Randomized Controlled Trials to Prospective Designs

    Journal: Front. Psychiatry, 2021, doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.596601

    Authors: Josiane Bourque & Stéphane Potvin

    Abstract: In recent years, several jurisdictions have revised their regulation policy toward both medical and recreational use of cannabis. These changes have elicited concerns regarding how legalization impacts academic achievement and work performance. This review evaluates the acute and long-term (residual) association between cannabis use and cognitive functioning that underlies poor academic and work performance. Relative to other reviews, this article focuses on cross-over randomized controlled trials and prospective designs given that they allow to test the impairing effects of cannabis exposure at the within-subject level. Acute cannabis cognitive effects are discussed separately for known confounding factors such as levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), Δ9-THC:cannabidiol ratio, previous cannabis use and, comorbidity with psychosis-spectrum disorders. The cognitive residual effects of cannabis are detailed in relation to duration of abstinence, frequency of use, comorbidity with psychosis-spectrum disorders, types of cognitive domains assessed, and age of cannabis use initiation. Moreover, considering the fact that adequate longitudinal studies can make inferences about causality between cannabis use and impaired cognitive functioning when disentangling between-subject from within-subject variation, proofs for the three main non-mutually exclusive hypotheses about this relationship will be presented: i) the cognitive vulnerability hypothesis as part of the more general common antecedent hypothesis, ii) the concurrent cannabis impairing hypothesis, and iii) the neurotoxic hypothesis of cannabis. Current research provides evidence for mild to moderate acute cannabis effects on episodic and working memory, processing speed, and executive functions. Mild residual impairing effects were also observed in these exact same cognitive domains, suggesting that adverse effects following cannabis intoxication persist at least days or weeks following cannabis abstinence. Relative to adult-onset, adolescent-onset cannabis use seems to explain the dose-response relationship and is associated with longer lasting residual effects even in mild users (<weekly). The association between cannabis and cognition is likely explained by common antecedents, such that genetic and shared environment factors predispose individuals to both cannabis use and cognitive deficits, and to a lesser degree, neurotoxic effects.

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

    Advancing Emergency Department–initiated Buprenorphine

    Journal: JACEPOPEN, 2021, doi: 0.1002/emp2.12451

    Authors: Kristen Huntley, Emily Einstein, Terri Postma, Anita Thomas, Shari Ling, & Wilson Compton

    Abstract: Opioids are the main driver of drug overdose deaths in the United States, and there has been a marked increase in opioid-related overdoses during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Many emergency departments (EDs) across the country are implementing ED-initiated buprenorphine programs, and this is a method to address and prevent opioid overdoses. Resources are available to overcome barriers and take action.

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

    By Partnership Staff
    July 2021


    July 2021