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    Research News Roundup: June 15, 2023

    Nicotine Vaping and Co-occurring Substance Use Among Adolescents in the United States from 2017–2019

    Journal: Substance Use & Misuse, 2023, doi: 10.1080/10826084.2023.2188462

    Authors: Noah T. Kreski, Hadley Ankrum, Magdalena Cerdá, Qixuan Chen, Deborah Hasin, Silvia S. Martins, Mark Olfson, & Katherine M. Keyes


    Background: The use of electronic cigarettes (or “vaping”) among adolescents remains a public health concern given exposure to harmful substances, plus potential association with cannabis and alcohol. Understanding vaping as it intersects with combustible cigarette use and other substance use can inform nicotine prevention efforts.

    Methods: Data were drawn from 51,872 US adolescents (grades 8, 10, 12, years: 2017–2019) from Monitoring the Future. Multinomial logistic regression analyses assessed links of past 30-day nicotine use (none, smoking-only, vaping-only, and any smoking plus vaping) with both past 30-day cannabis use and past two-week binge drinking.

    Results: Nicotine use patterns were strongly associated with greater likelihood of cannabis use and binge drinking, particularly for the highest levels of each. For instance, those who smoked and vaped nicotine had 36.53 [95% CI:16.16, 82.60] times higher odds of having 10+ past 2-week binge drinking instances compared to non-users of nicotine.

    Discussion: Given the strong associations between nicotine use and both cannabis use and binge drinking, there is a need for sustained interventions, advertising and promotion restrictions, and national public education efforts to reduce adolescent nicotine vaping, efforts that acknowledge co-occurring use.

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

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2023, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.16276

    Authors: Lauren Klein Warren, Joella Adams, & Georgiy Bobashev


    Importance: Although opioid misuse has been decreasing among US youths and adolescents in recent years, it is unclear what has contributed to this trend and how this trend differs by age group and sex over time.

    Objective: To identify trends in opioid misuse among youths and young adults across and between ages, birth cohorts, and sexes.

    Design, setting, and participants: Cross-sectional National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) public-use files were used to produce nationally representative pseudocohorts. The survey population includes the civilian US population in the 50 states and Washington, DC. Individuals without a fixed address and institutionalized individuals were excluded. Respondents to the NSDUH are a population-based sample selected using a stratified cluster design. For the years (January 1, 2002, to December 31, 2019) and ages (12-21 years) analyzed, the sample sizes ranged from 1607 to 3239 respondents. Data were analyzed from January 1, 2022, to April 12, 2023, for the main outcome by age, sex, and pseudocohort.

    Main outcomes and measures: Respondents were asked whether they misused prescription opioids or used heroin in the past year. The analysis hypotheses were formulated and tested after data collection.

    Results: In a total of 5 pseudocohorts, data from 114 412 respondents aged 12 to 21 years were analyzed; the unweighted distribution of male sex (complement was female) ranged from 47.7% to 52.6% (mean [SD], 50.6% [1.1%]). Response rates ranged from 45.8% to 71.3%. High school-aged youths and young adults had distinctly lower rates of opioid misuse in later pseudocohorts compared with earlier ones. Rates of misuse among individuals aged 16 years were 2.80% (95% CI, 1.06%-4.54%) higher in 2002 vs 2008; among those aged 18 years, rates were 4.36% (95% CI, 1.85%-6.87%) higher in 2002. Similarly, rates of misuse among individuals aged 16 years were 3.93% (95% CI, 2.15%-5.71%) higher in 2008 vs 2014; among those aged 17 years, rates were 3.41% (95% CI, 1.94%-4.88%) higher in 2008. Similar patterns were observed by sex. In earlier cohorts, younger female participants had higher rates of opioid misuse than their male counterparts and older male participants had higher rates than their female counterparts. Sex differences decreased in later cohorts.

    Conclusions and results: The findings of this cross-sectional study of US youths and young adults suggest that high school-aged individuals consistently misused fewer opioids in later pseudocohorts overall and by sex. Sex differences in opioid rates also diminished in later pseudocohorts. A decrease in drug availability and general exposure to the harms of opioid use could be contributing to these findings. Future planned research using this pseudocohort approach will examine polysubstance use and evaluate how substance use differs by other sociodemographic characteristics.

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

    Racial and Ethnic Disparities and Prevalence in Prescription Drug Misuse, Illicit Drug Use, and Combination of Both Behaviors in the United States

    Journal: International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 2023, doi: 10.1007/s11469-023-01084-0

    Authors: Yen-Han Lee, Chase Woods, Mack Shelley, Stephan Arndt, Ching-Ti Liu, & Yen-Chang Chang


    This study examines racial and ethnic disparities and prevalence in prescription drug misuse, illicit drug use, and the combination of both behaviors in the United States. Using five waves of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH, 2015–2019; n = 276,884), a multinomial logistic regression model estimated the outcomes of prescription drug misuse, illicit drug use, and the combination of both behaviors. Participants’ age was considered as an interaction effect. Approximately 5.4%, 2.9%, and 2.5% misused prescription drug, used illicit drug, or had both behaviors, respectively. Compared with White participants, Black (AOR = 0.69, 99.9 CI: 0.61, 0.79) and Asian (AOR = 0.60, 99.9% CI: 0.42, 0.87) participants had significantly lower odds of reporting prescription drug misuse. Individuals who were classified as others had higher odds of reporting illicit drug use (AOR = 1.31; 99.9% CI: 1.05, 1.64), compared with White participants. Black (AOR = 0.40, 99.9% CI: 0.29, 0.56) and Hispanic (AOR = 0.71, 99.9% CI: 0.55, 0.91) participants were significantly less likely to have both prescription drug misuse and illicit drug use behaviors. Interaction analysis showed that Black participants between 18 and 49 years old were less likely to participate in prescription drug misuse. However, Black participants who were 50 years of age or above were more likely to engage in illicit drug use and the combination of both prescription drug misuse and illicit drug use (all p < 0.001). Hispanic adult participants between 18 and 49 years old were more likely to engage in illicit drug use. Successful intervention and cessation programs may consider the cultural and age disparities among different racial and ethnic groups.

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

    Estimated Reductions in Opioid Overdose Deaths with Sustainment of Public Health Interventions in 4 US States

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2023, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.14925

    Authors: Jagpreet Chhatwal, Peter P. Mueller, Qiushi Chen, Neeti Kulkarni, Madeline Adee, Gary Zarkin, Marc R. LaRochelle, Amy B. Knudsen, & Carolina Barbosa


    Importance: In 2021, more than 80 000 US residents died from an opioid overdose. Public health intervention initiatives, such as the Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEALing) Communities Study (HCS), are being launched with the goal of reducing opioid-related overdose deaths (OODs).

    Objective: To estimate the change in the projected number of OODs under different scenarios of the duration of sustainment of interventions, compared with the status quo.

    Design, setting, and participants: This decision analytical model simulated the opioid epidemic in the 4 states participating in the HCS (ie, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio) from 2020 to 2026. Participants were a simulated population transitioning from opioid misuse to opioid use disorder (OUD), overdose, treatment, and relapse. The model was calibrated using 2015 to 2020 data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other sources for each state. The model accounts for reduced initiation of medications for OUD (MOUDs) and increased OODs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Exposure: Increasing MOUD initiation by 2- or 5-fold, improving MOUD retention to the rates achieved in clinical trial settings, increasing naloxone distribution efforts, and furthering safe opioid prescribing. An initial 2-year duration of interventions was simulated, with potential sustainment for up to 3 additional years.

    Main outcomes and measures: Projected reduction in number of OODs under different combinations and durations of sustainment of interventions.

    Results: Compared with the status quo, the estimated annual reduction in OODs at the end of the second year of interventions was 13% to 17% in Kentucky, 17% to 27% in Massachusetts, 15% to 22% in New York, and 15% to 22% in Ohio. Sustaining all interventions for an additional 3 years was estimated to reduce the annual number of OODs at the end of the fifth year by 18% to 27% in Kentucky, 28% to 46% in Massachusetts, 22% to 34% in New York, and 25% to 41% in Ohio. The longer the interventions were sustained, the better the outcomes; however, these positive gains would be washed out if interventions were not sustained.

    Conclusions and relevance: In this decision analytical model study of the opioid epidemic in 4 US states, sustained implementation of interventions, including increased delivery of MOUDs and naloxone supply, was found to be needed to reduce OODs and prevent deaths from increasing again.

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

    Factors Predicting General Health Concerns and Atypical Behaviours in Children with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and other Adverse Exposures

    Journal: Frontiers in Pediatrics, 2023, doi: 10.3389/fped.2023.1146149

    Authors: Sarah J. MacEachern, Preeti Kar, Daphne Nakhid, Elena Mitevska, Christina Tortorelli, Nils D. Forkert, Catherine Lebel, Carly A. McMorris, & W. Ben Gibbard


    Background: Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) can have significant negative consequences on the health outcomes of children. Children with PAE often experience other prenatal and postnatal adverse exposures. Increased rates of general health concerns and atypical behaviours are seen in both children with PAE as well as with other patterns of adverse exposures, although these have not been systematically described. The association between multiple adverse exposures and adverse health concerns and atypical behaviours in children with PAE is unknown.

    Methods: Demographic information, medical history, adverse exposures, health concerns, and atypical behaviours were collected from children with confirmed PAE (n = 22; 14 males, age range = 7.9-15.9 years) and their caregivers. Support vector machine learning classification models were used to predict the presence of health concerns and atypical behaviours based on adverse exposures. Associations between the sums of adverse exposures, health concerns, and atypical behaviours were examined using correlation analysis.

    Results: All children experienced health concerns, the most common being sensitivity to sensory inputs (64%; 14/22). Similarly, all children engaged in atypical behaviours, with atypical sensory behaviour (50%; 11/22) being the most common. Prenatal alcohol exposure was most important factor for predicting some health concerns and atypical behaviours, and alone and in combination with other factors. Simple associations between adverse exposures could not be identified for many health concerns and atypical behaviours.

    Conclusion: Children with PAE and other adverse exposures experience high rates of health concerns and atypical behaviours. This study demonstrates the complex effects of multiple adverse exposures on health and behaviour in children.

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