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    Research News Roundup: June 1, 2023

    Language Considerations for Children of Parents with Substance Use Disorders

    Journal: Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 2023, doi: 10.1186/s13011-023-00536-z

    Authors: Hannah S. Appleseth, Susette A. Moyers, Erica K. Crockett-Barbera, Micah Hartwell, Stephan Arndt & Julie M. Croff


    Parents with substance use disorders are highly stigmatized by multiple systems (e.g., healthcare, education, legal, social). As a result, they are more likely to experience discrimination and health inequities. Children of parents with substance use disorders often do not fare any better, as they frequently experience stigma and poorer outcomes by association. Calls to action for person-centered language for alcohol and other drug problems have led to improved terminology. Despite a long history of stigmatizing, offensive labels such as “children of alcoholics” and “crack babies,” children have been left out of person-centered language initiatives. Children of parents with substance use disorders can feel invisible, shameful, isolated, and forgotten-particularly in treatment settings when programming is centered on the parent. Person-centered language is shown to improve treatment outcomes and reduce stigma. Therefore, we need to adhere to consistent, non-stigmatizing terminology when referencing children of parents with substance use disorders. Most importantly, we must center the voices and preferences of those with lived experience to enact meaningful change and effective resource allocation.

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

    Cost-effectiveness of Increasing Buprenorphine Treatment Initiation, Duration, and Capacity Among Individuals Who Use Opioids

    Journal: JAMA Health Forum, 2023, doi: 10.1001/jamahealthforum.2023.1080

    Authors: Anneke L. Claypool, Catherine DiGennaro, W. Alton Russell, Melike F. Yildirim, Alan F. Zhang, Zuri Reid, Keith Humphreys, … Mohammad S. Jalali


    Importance: Buprenorphine is an effective and cost-effective medication to treat opioid use disorder (OUD), but is not readily available to many people with OUD in the US. The current cost-effectiveness literature does not consider interventions that concurrently increase buprenorphine initiation, duration, and capacity.

    Objective: To conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis and compare interventions associated with increased buprenorphine treatment initiation, duration, and capacity.

    Design and setting: This study modeled the effects of 5 interventions individually and in combination using SOURCE, a recent system dynamics model of prescription opioid and illicit opioid use, treatment, and remission, calibrated to US data from 1999 to 2020. The analysis was run during a 12-year time horizon from 2021 to 2032, with lifetime follow-up. A probabilistic sensitivity analysis on intervention effectiveness and costs was conducted. Analyses were performed from April 2021 through March 2023. Modeled participants included people with opioid misuse and OUD in the US.

    Interventions: Interventions included emergency department buprenorphine initiation, contingency management, psychotherapy, telehealth, and expansion of hub-and-spoke narcotic treatment programs, individually and in combination.

    Main outcomes and measures: Total national opioid overdose deaths, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained, and costs from the societal and health care perspective.

    Results: Projections showed that contingency management expansion would avert 3530 opioid overdose deaths over 12 years, more than any other single-intervention strategy. Interventions that increased buprenorphine treatment duration initially were associated with an increased number of opioid overdose deaths in the absence of expanded treatment capacity. With an incremental cost- effectiveness ratio of $19 381 per QALY gained (2021 USD), the strategy that expanded contingency management, hub-and-spoke training, emergency department initiation, and telehealth was the preferred strategy for any willingness-to-pay threshold from $20 000 to $200 000/QALY gained, as it was associated with increased treatment duration and capacity simultaneously.

    Conclusion and relevance: This modeling analysis simulated the effects of implementing several intervention strategies across the buprenorphine cascade of care and found that strategies that were concurrently associated with increased buprenorphine treatment initiation, duration, and capacity were cost-effective.

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

    Journal: Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 2023,doi: 10.1186/s13011-023-00538-x

    Authors: Jaclyn M. W. Hughto, Abigail Tapper, Sabrina S. Rapisarda, Thomas J. Stopka, Wilson R. Palacios, Patricia Case, Joseph Silcox & Traci C. Green


    Background: Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD; methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone) are the most effective treatments for OUD, and MOUD is protective against fatal overdoses. However, continued illegal drug use can increase the risk of treatment discontinuation. Given the widespread presence of fentanyl in the drug supply, research is needed to understand who is at greatest risk for concurrent MOUD and drug use and the contexts shaping use and treatment discontinuation.

    Methods: From 2017 to 2020, Massachusetts residents with past-30-day illegal drug use completed surveys (N = 284) and interviews (N = 99) about MOUD and drug use. An age-adjusted multinomial logistic regression model tested associations between past-30-day drug use and MOUD use (current/past/never). Among those on methadone or buprenorphine (N = 108), multivariable logistic regression models examined the association between socio-demographics, MOUD type; and past-30-day use of heroin/fentanyl; crack; benzodiazepines; and pain medications. Qualitative interviews explored drivers of concurrent drug and MOUD use.

    Results: Most (79.9%) participants had used MOUD (38.7% currently; 41.2% past), and past 30-day drug use was high: 74.4% heroin/fentanyl; 51.4% crack cocaine; 31.3% benzodiazepines, and 18% pain medications. In exploring drug use by MOUD history, multinomial regression analyses found that crack use was positively associated with past and current MOUD use (outcome referent: never used MOUD); whereas benzodiazepine use was not associated with past MOUD use but was positively associated with current use. Conversely, pain medication use was associated with reduced odds of past and current MOUD use. Among those on methadone or buprenorphine, separate multivariable logistic regression models found that benzodiazepine and methadone use were positively associated with heroin/fentanyl use; living in a medium-sized city and sex work were positively associated with crack use; heroin/fentanyl use was positively associated with benzodiazepine use; and witnessing an overdose was inversely associated with pain medication use. Many participants qualitatively reported reducing illegal opioid use while on MOUD, yet inadequate dosage, trauma, psychological cravings, and environmental triggers drove their continued drug use, which increased their risk of treatment discontinuation and overdose.

    Conclusions: Findings highlight variations in continued drug use by MOUD use history, reasons for concurrent use, and implications for MOUD treatment delivery and continuity.

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

    Assessment of Screening Tools to Identify Substance Use Disorders Among Adolescents

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2023, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.14422

    Authors: Sharon Levy, Melissa Brogna, Machiko Minegishi, Geetha Subramaniam, Jennifer McCormack, Margaret Kline, Eleanor Menzin, … Elissa Weitzman


    Importance: Efficient screening tools that effectively identify substance use disorders (SUDs) among youths are needed.

    Objective: To evaluate the psychometric properties of 3 brief substance use screening tools (Screening to Brief Intervention [S2BI]; Brief Screener for Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs [BSTAD]; and Tobacco, Alcohol, Prescription Medication, and Other Substances [TAPS]) with adolescents aged 12 to 17 years.

    Design, setting, and participants: This cross-sectional validation study was conducted from July 1, 2020, to February 28, 2022. Participants aged 12 to 17 years were recruited virtually and in person from 3 health care settings in Massachusetts: (1) an outpatient adolescent SUD treatment program at a pediatric hospital, (2) an adolescent medicine program at a community pediatric practice affiliated with an academic institution, and (3) 1 of 28 participating pediatric primary care practices. Participants were randomly assigned to complete 1 of the 3 electronic screening tools via self-administration, followed by a brief electronic assessment battery and a research assistant-administered diagnostic interview as the criterion standard measure for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) diagnoses of SUDs. Data were analyzed from May 31 to September 13, 2022.

    Main outcomes and measures: The main outcome was a DSM-5 diagnosis of tobacco/nicotine, alcohol, or cannabis use disorder as determined by the criterion standard World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview Substance Abuse Module. Classification accuracy of the 3 substance use screening tools was assessed by examining the agreement between the criterion, using sensitivity and specificity, based on cut points for each tool for use disorder, chosen a priori from previous studies.

    Results: This study included 798 adolescents, with a mean (SD) age of 14.6 (1.6) years. The majority of participants identified as female (415 [52.0%]) and were White (524 [65.7%]). High agreement between screening results and the criterion standard measure was observed, with area under the curve values ranging from 0.89 to 1 for nicotine, alcohol, and cannabis use disorders for each of the 3 screening tools.

    Conclusions and relevance: These findings suggest that screening tools that use questions on past-year frequency of use are effective for identifying adolescents with SUDs. Future work could examine whether these tools have differing properties when used with different groups of adolescents in different settings.

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

    Collaborative Care Programs for Pregnant and Postpartum Individuals with Opioid Use Disorder: Organizational Characteristics of Sites Participating in the NIDA CTN0080 Moms Study

    Journal: Journal of Substance Use and Addiction Treatment, 2023, doi: 10.1016/j.josat.2023.209030

    Authors: Frankie B. Kropp, Marcela C. Smid, Michelle R. Lofwall, Elisha M. Wachman, Peter R. Martin, Sean M. Murphy, Christine M. Wilder, … John Winhusen


    Introduction: Pregnant individuals with substance use disorders face complex issues that may serve as barriers to treatment entry and retention. Several professional organizations have established recommendations on comprehensive, collaborative approaches to treatment to meet the needs of this population, but information on real-world application is lacking. Sites participating in the NIDA CTN0080 “Medication treatment for Opioid use disorder in expectant Mothers (MOMs)”-a randomized clinical trial of extended release compared to sublingual buprenorphine among pregnant and postpartum individuals (PPI)-were selected, in part, because they have a collaborative approach to treating PPI with opioid use disorder (OUD). However, organizational differences among sites and how they implement expert recommendations for collaborative care could impact study outcomes.

    Methods: Prior to study launch at each of the 13 MOMs sites, investigators used the Pregnancy and Addiction Services Assessment (PAASA) to collect information about organizational factors. Input from a team of addiction, perinatal, and economic evaluation experts guided the development of the PAASA. Investigators programmed the PAASA into a web-based data system and summarized the resultant site data using descriptive statistics.

    Results: Study sites represented four US census regions. Most sites were specialty obstetrics & gynecology (OB/GYN) programs providing OUD services (n = 9, 69.2 %), were affiliated with an academic institution (n = 11, 84.6 %), and prescribed buprenorphine in an ambulatory/outpatient setting (n = 11, 84.6 %); all sites offered access to naloxone. Sites reported that their population was primarily White, utilized public insurance, and faced numerous psychosocial barriers to treatment. Although all sites offered many services recommended by expert consensus groups, they varied in how they coordinated these services.

    Conclusions: By providing the organizational characteristics of sites participating in the MOMs study, this report assists in filling the current gap in knowledge regarding similar programs providing services to PPI with OUD. Collaborative care programs such as those participating in MOMs are uniquely positioned to participate in research to determine the most effective models of care and to determine how research can be integrated into those clinical care settings.

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