Research News Roundup: June 10, 2021

    Benefits of Digital Health Resources for Substance Use Concerns in Women: Scoping Review

    Journal: JMIR Ment Health, 2021, doi:10.2196/25952

    Authors: Lena Quilty, Branka Agic, Michelle Coombs, Betty-Lou Kristy, Jill Shakespeare, Adrienne Spafford, Reena Besa, Shadini Dematagoda, Alina Patel, Rebecca Persaud & Leslie Buckley

    Background: Digital health resources are being increasingly used to support women with substance use concerns. Although empirical research has demonstrated that these resources have promise, the available evidence for their benefit in women requires further investigation. Evidence supports the capacity of interventions that are sex-, gender-, and trauma-informed to improve treatment access and outcomes and to reduce health system challenges and disparities. Indeed, both sex- and gender-specific approaches are critical to improve health and gender equity. Violence and trauma are frequent among those with substance use concerns, but they disproportionately affect those who identify as female or women, further underscoring the need for trauma-informed care as well.

    Objective: The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the evidence supporting the efficacy or effectiveness of online or mobile interventions for risky or harmful substance use in adults who identify as female or women, or who report a history of trauma.

    Methods: This scoping review is based on an academic search in MEDLINE, APA PsycINFO, Embase, Cochrane Central, and CINAHL, as well as a grey literature search in US and Canadian government and funding agency websites. Of the 7807 records identified, 465 remained following title and abstract screening. Of these, 159 met all eligibility criteria and were reviewed and synthesized.

    Results: The 159 records reflected 141 distinct studies and 125 distinct interventions. Investigations and the interventions evaluated predominantly focused on alcohol use or general substance use. Evaluated digital health resources included multisession and brief-session interventions, with a wide range of therapeutic elements. Multisession online and mobile interventions exhibited beneficial effects in 86.1% (105/122) of studies. Single-session interventions similarly demonstrated beneficial effects in 64.2% (43/67) of study conditions. Most investigations did not assess gender identity or conduct sex- or gender-based analyses. Only 13 investigations that included trauma were identified.

    Conclusions: Despite the overall promise of digital health interventions for substance use concerns, direct or quantitative evidence on the efficacy or effectiveness of interventions in females or women specifically is weak.

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

    Characteristics of e-Cigarette Use Behaviors Among US Youth, 2020

    Journal: JAMA Netw Open, 2021, doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.11336

    Authors: Teresa W. Wang, Andrea S. Gentzke, Linda J. Neff, et al.

    Importance: Comprehensive surveillance of e-cigarette use behaviors among youth is important for informing strategies to address this public health epidemic.

    Objective: To characterize e-cigarette use behaviors among US youth in 2020.

    Design, Setting, and Participants: The 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey, a nationally representative, cross-sectional, school-based survey of middle school (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12) students, was conducted from January 16, 2020, to March 16, 2020. A total of 14 531 students from 180 schools participated in the 2020 survey, yielding a corresponding student-level participation rate of 87.4% and school-level participation rate of 49.9%. The overall response rate, a product of the school-level and student-level participation rates, was 43.6%.

    Exposures: Current (past 30-day) e-cigarette use.

    Main Outcomes and Measures: Self-reported current e-cigarette use behaviors (frequency of use, usual e-cigarette brand, and access source) by school level and flavored e-cigarette use and flavor types among current e-cigarette users by school level and device type. Prevalence estimates were weighted to account for the complex survey design.

    Results: Overall, 14 531 students completed the survey, including 7330 female students and 7133 male students with self-reported grade level and sex. In 2020, 19.6% (95% CI, 17.2%-22.2%) of high school students and 4.7% (95% CI, 3.6%-6.0%) of middle school students reported current e-cigarette use. Among them, 38.9% (95% CI, 35.2%-42.6%) of high school users and 20.0% (95% CI, 16.0%-24.8%) of middle school users reported e-cigarette use on 20 to 30 days within the past 30 days. Among current users, JUUL was the most commonly reported usual brand (high school: 25.4%; 95% CI, 18.8%-33.4%; middle school: 35.1%; 95% CI, 27.9%-43.1%). Among current users, the most common source of obtaining e-cigarettes was from a friend (high school: 57.1%; 95% CI, 52.6%-61.4%; middle school: 58.9%; 95% CI, 51.4%-66.1%). Among current users, 84.7% (95% CI, 82.2%-86.9%) of high school students and 73.9% (95% CI, 66.9%-79.8%) of middle school students reported flavored e-cigarette use. Fruit-flavored e-cigarettes were the most commonly reported flavor among current exclusive e-cigarette users of prefilled pods or cartridges (67.3%; 95% CI, 60.9%-73.0%), disposable e-cigarettes (85.8%; 95% CI, 79.8%-90.3%), and tank-based devices (82.7%; 95% CI, 68.9%-91.1%), followed by mint-flavored e-cigarettes.

    Conclusions and Relevance: These results suggest that although current e-cigarette use decreased during 2019 to 2020, overall prevalence, frequent use, and flavored e-cigarette use remained high. Continued actions are warranted to prevent and reduce e-cigarette use among US youth.

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

    Targets for Intervention to Prevent Substance Use in Young People Exposed to Childhood Adversity: A Systematic Review

    Journal: PLoS ONE, 2021, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0252815

    Authors: Lucinda Grummitt, Erin Kelly, Emma Barrett, Katherine Keyes, & Nicola Newton

    Background and aims: Childhood adversity is a strong, and concerningly prevalent, risk factor for the later development of substance misuse. Yet despite substantial accumulating evidence for causal mechanisms, there has been little attempt to synthesize the strength of the evidence. Importantly, these mechanisms may be amenable to intervention, providing targets for substance use prevention among those exposed to childhood adversity. The present review aimed to systematically identify mediating and moderating mechanisms operating between childhood adversity and substance use.

    Methods: A systematic review was conducted. Electronic databases (PubMed, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Web of Science and CINAHL) were searched from 1998 to 2020 for modifiable mediators and moderators of the relationship between childhood adversity and substance use in people aged 10–24. Data was qualitatively synthesised, using a socio-ecological perspective to group mediators/moderators into individual, interpersonal, community, and public policy/cultural levels of behaviour.

    Results: After screening against eligibility criteria, 50 studies were included in the current review. The mediators at the individual level of behaviour showing the largest and most consistent effect sizes included externalising behaviour, anger, coping motives for substance use, and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Among individual-level moderators, religiosity, future orientation and depressive symptoms all attenuated the relationship between childhood adversity and substance use. At the interpersonal level, peer relationships and mother-child relationships mediated the effect of adversity on substance use. Moderators included family cohesion and relationship quality. Community factors were less commonly studied, though school mobility and educational achievement mediated 14% and 28% of the total effect of childhood adversity on substance use respectively. No mediators or moderators were identified for public policy/culture.

    Conclusions: A substantial proportion of the relationship between childhood adversity and substance use in youth is mediated through individual, interpersonal and community factors. Coupled with the knowledge that existing, evidence-based programs effectively address many of the identified mediators and moderators, this review advances knowledge on optimal targets to prevent substance misuse among those exposed to childhood adversity.

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

    Tackling the Substance Abuse Crisis: The Role of Access to Treatment Facilities

    Journal: NBER Working Paper, 2021, doi: 10.3386/w28862

    Authors: Adriana Corredor-Waldron & Janet Currie

    The continuing drug overdose crisis in the U.S. has highlighted the urgent need for greater access to treatment. This paper examines the impact of openings and closings of substance abuse treatment facilities in New Jersey on emergency room visits for substance abuse issues among nearby residents. We find that drug-related ER visits increase by 16.6% after a facility closure and decrease by 9.5% after an opening. The effects are largest in relatively under-served areas, among Black residents, and among males. They are smaller for the middle aged than for either younger or older people. The results suggest that expanding access to treatment results in significant reductions in morbidity related to drug abuse.

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

    Neuroimmune Mechanisms as Novel Treatment Targets for Substance Use Disorders and Associated Comorbidities

    Journal: Front Neurosci., 2021, doi:10.3389/fnins.2021.650785

    Authors: Mark D. Namba, Jonna M. Leyrer-Jackson, Erin K. Nagy, M. Foster Olive, & Janet L. Neisewander

    Recent studies examining the neurobiology of substance abuse have revealed a significant role of neuroimmune signaling as a mechanism through which drugs of abuse induce aberrant changes in synaptic plasticity and contribute to substance abuse-related behaviors. Immune signaling within the brain and the periphery critically regulates homeostasis of the nervous system. Perturbations in immune signaling can induce neuroinflammation or immunosuppression, which dysregulate nervous system function including neural processes associated with substance use disorders (SUDs). In this review, we discuss the literature that demonstrates a role of neuroimmune signaling in regulating learning, memory, and synaptic plasticity, emphasizing specific cytokine signaling within the central nervous system. We then highlight recent preclinical studies, within the last 5 years when possible, that have identified immune mechanisms within the brain and the periphery associated with addiction-related behaviors. Findings thus far underscore the need for future investigations into the clinical potential of immunopharmacology as a novel approach toward treating SUDs. Considering the high prevalence rate of comorbidities among those with SUDs, we also discuss neuroimmune mechanisms of common comorbidities associated with SUDs and highlight potentially novel treatment targets for these comorbid conditions. We argue that immunopharmacology represents a novel frontier in the development of new pharmacotherapies that promote long-term abstinence from drug use and minimize the detrimental impact of SUD comorbidities on patient health and treatment outcomes.

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

    By Partnership Staff
    June 2021


    June 2021