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    Research News Roundup: June 29, 2023

    Evaluating Longitudinal Relationships Between Parental Monitoring and Substance Use in a Multi-Year, Intensive Longitudinal Study 0f 670 Adolescent Twins

    Journal: Frontiers in Psychiatry, 2023, doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1149079

    Authors: Jordan D. Alexander, Samantha M. Freis, Stephanie M. Zellers, Robin Corley, Amy Ledbetter, Rachel K. Schneider, Chanda Phelan, … Scott I. Vrieze


    Introduction: Parental monitoring is a key intervention target for adolescent substance use, however this practice is largely supported by causally uninformative cross-sectional or sparse-longitudinal observational research designs.

    Methods: We therefore evaluated relationships between adolescent substance use (assessed weekly) and parental monitoring (assessed every two months) in 670 adolescent twins for two years. This allowed us to assess how individual-level parental monitoring and substance use trajectories were related and, via the twin design, to quantify genetic and environmental contributions to these relationships. Furthermore, we attempted to devise additional measures of parental monitoring by collecting quasi-continuous GPS locations and calculating a) time spent at home between midnight and 5am and b) time spent at school between 8am-3pm.

    Results: ACE-decomposed latent growth models found alcohol and cannabis use increased with age while parental monitoring, time at home, and time at school decreased. Baseline alcohol and cannabis use were correlated (r = .65) and associated with baseline parental monitoring (r = -.24 to -.29) but not with baseline GPS measures (r = -.06 to -.16). Longitudinally, changes in substance use and parental monitoring were not significantly correlated. Geospatial measures were largely unrelated to parental monitoring, though changes in cannabis use and time at home were highly correlated (r = -.53 to -.90), with genetic correlations suggesting their relationship was substantially genetically mediated. Due to power constraints, ACE estimates and biometric correlations were imprecisely estimated. Most of the substance use and parental monitoring phenotypes were substantially heritable, but genetic correlations between them were not significantly different from 0.

    Discussion: Overall, we found developmental changes in each phenotype, baseline correlations between substance use and parental monitoring, co-occurring changes and mutual genetic influences for time at home and cannabis use, and substantial genetic influences on many substance use and parental monitoring phenotypes. However, our geospatial variables were mostly unrelated to parental monitoring, suggesting they poorly measured this construct. Furthermore, though we did not detect evidence of genetic confounding, changes in parental monitoring and substance use were not significantly correlated, suggesting that, at least in community samples of mid-to-late adolescents, the two may not be causally related.

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

    Characteristics Associated with Young Adults' Intentions to Engage with Anti-Vaping Instagram Posts

    Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 2023, doi: 10.3390/ijerph20116054

    Authors: Jessica Liu, Donghee N. Lee, & Elise M. Stevens


    The purpose of this study was to identify behavioral and sociodemographic factors associated with intentions to engage with anti-vaping Instagram posts among a young adult population. This study proposes the following research questions: (1) Does e-cigarette use status influence intentions to engage with anti-vaping Instagram posts?, and (2) How are e-cigarette use and social media use associated? We recruited a convenience sample of young adults (N = 459; aged 18-30 years) in July of 2022 into an online experimental study from Prolific. Participants saw five image-based Instagram posts about the health harms of using e-cigarettes. Participants were then asked about their intentions to engage (“Comment on”, “Reshare”, “DM/Send this to a friend”, “Like”, and/or “Take a screenshot of”) with the posts. We used logistic regression to run adjusted models for each engagement outcome, which included fixed effects for sociodemographics, tobacco use, and social media/internet use. For the sum of the engagement outcome, we used Poisson regression. Total number of social media sites used was associated with intentions to “Like” the posts (p = 0.025) and the overall engagement score (p = 0.019), respectively. Daily internet use was associated with intentions to “Comment on” (p = 0.016) and “Like” (p = 0.019) the posts. Young adults who reported past 30-day e-cigarette use had higher odds of using Twitter (p = 0.013) and TikTok (p < 0.001), and a higher total number of social media sites used (p = 0.046), compared to young adults who reported never use e-cigarettes. The initial evidence from our exploratory research using a convenience sample suggests that social media campaigns about the harms of e-cigarette use may be an effective way to engage younger audiences, a generation that frequents social media. Efforts to disseminate social media campaigns should consider launching on multiple platforms, such as Twitter and TikTok, and consider e-cigarette use status when posting.

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

    Association of Mandatory Warning Signs for Cannabis Use During Pregnancy With Cannabis Use Beliefs and Behaviors

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2023, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.17138

    Authors: Sarah C. M. Roberts, Claudia Zaugg, & M. Antonia Biggs


    Importance: As states have legalized recreational cannabis use, some have enacted policies mandating point-of-sale warning signs with information on harms of using cannabis during pregnancy. While research has found such warning signs are associated with increased adverse birth outcomes, reasons why are unclear.

    Objective: To examine whether exposure to cannabis warning signs is associated with cannabis-related beliefs, stigma, and use.

    Design, setting, and participants: This cross-sectional study used data from a population-based online survey conducted from May to June 2022. Participants included pregnant and recently pregnant (within past 2 years) members of the national probability KnowledgePanel and nonprobability samples in all US states and Washington, the District of Columbia, where recreational cannabis is legal. Data were analyzed from July 2022 to April 2023.

    Exposure: Living in 1 of 5 states with a warning signs policy.

    Main outcomes and measures: Outcomes of interest were self-reported beliefs (linear) that cannabis use during pregnancy is not safe, should be punished, and is stigmatized and cannabis use during pregnancy (dichotomous). Regressions, accounting for survey weights and clustering by state, examined associations of warning signs with cannabis-related beliefs and use.

    Results: A total of 2063 pregnant or recently pregnant people (mean [SD] weighted age, 32 [6] years) completed the survey, and 585 participants (weighted, 17%) reported using cannabis during their pregnancy. Among people who used cannabis during their pregnancy, living in a warning signs state was associated with beliefs that cannabis use during pregnancy was safe (β = -0.33 [95% CI, -0.60 to -0.07]) and that people who used cannabis during pregnancy should not be punished (β = -0.40 [95% CI, -0.73 to -0.07]). Among people who did not use cannabis before or during pregnancy, living in a warning signs state was associated with beliefs that use was not safe (β = 0.34 [95% CI, 0.17 to 0.51]), that people should be punished for use (β = 0.35 [95% CI, 0.24 to 0.47]), and that use was stigmatized (β = 0.35 [95% CI, 0.07 to 0.63]). Warning signs policies were not associated with use (adjusted odds ratio, 1.11 [95% CI, 0.22 to 5.67]).

    Conclusions and relevance: In this cross-sectional study of warning signs and cannabis-related use and beliefs, warning signs policies were not associated with reduced cannabis use during pregnancy or with people who used cannabis believing use during pregnancy was less safe but were associated with greater support for punishment and stigma among people who did not use cannabis.

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

    Racial, Ethnic, and Sex Differences in Methadone-Involved Overdose Deaths Before and After the US Federal Policy Change Expanding Take-home Methadone Doses

    Journal: JAMA Health Forum, 2023, doi: 10.1001/jamahealthforum.2023.1235

    Authors: Rebecca Arden Harris, Judith A. Long, Yuhua Bao, & David S. Mandell


    Importance: In March 2020, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) permitted states to relax restrictions on take-home methadone doses for treatment-adherent patients to minimize COVID-19 exposures.

    Objective: To assess whether the methadone take-home policy change was associated with drug overdose deaths among different racial, ethnic, and sex groups.

    Design, setting, and participants: Interrupted time series analysis from January 1, 2018, to June 30, 2022. Data analysis was conducted from February 18, 2023, to February 28, 2023. In this population-based cohort study of drug overdose mortality including 14 529 methadone-involved deaths, monthly counts of methadone-involved drug overdose deaths were obtained for 6 demographic groups: Hispanic men and women, non-Hispanic Black men and women, and non-Hispanic White men and women.

    Exposure: On March 16, 2020, in response to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, SAMHSA issued an exemption to the states that permitted up to 28 days of take-home methadone for stable patients and 14 days for less stable patients.

    Main outcome measures: Monthly methadone-involved overdose deaths.

    Results: From January 1, 2018, to June 30, 2022 (54 months), there were 14 529 methadone-involved deaths in the United States; 14 112 (97.1%) occurred in the study’s 6 demographic groups (Black men, 1234; Black women, 754; Hispanic men, 1061; Hispanic women, 520; White men, 5991; and White women, 4552). Among Black men, there was a decrease in monthly methadone deaths associated with the March 2020 policy change (change of slope from the preintervention period, -0.55 [95% CI, -0.95 to -0.15]). Hispanic men also experienced a decrease in monthly methadone deaths associated with the policy change (-0.42 [95% CI, -0.68 to -0.17]). Among Black women, Hispanic women, White men, and White women, the policy change was not associated with a change in monthly methadone deaths (Black women, -0.27 [95% CI, -1.13 to 0.59]; Hispanic women, 0.29 [95% CI, -0.46 to 1.04]; White men, -0.08 [95% CI, -1.05 to 0.88]; and White women, -0.43 [95% CI, -1.26 to 0.40]).

    Conclusions and relevance: In this interrupted time series study of monthly methadone-involved overdose deaths, the take-home policy may have helped reduce deaths for Black and Hispanic men but had no association with deaths of Black or Hispanic women or White men or women.

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

    "We Do It Ourselves": Strengths and Opportunities for Improving the Practice of Harm Reduction

    Journal: Harm Reduction Journal, 2023, doi: 10.1186/s12954-023-00809-7

    Authors: Kasey Claborn, Jake Samora, Katie McCormick, Quanisha Whittfield, Frederic Courtois, Kyle Lozada, Daniel Sledg, … & Jennifer Potter


    Background: Unprecedented increases in substance-related overdose fatalities have been observed in Texas and the U.S. since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and have made clear there is considerable need to reduce harms associated with drug use. At the federal level, initiatives have called for widespread dissemination and implementation of evidence-based harm reduction practices to reduce overdose deaths. Implementation of harm reduction strategies is challenging in Texas. There is a paucity of literature on understanding current harm reduction practices in Texas. As such, this qualitative study aims to understand harm reduction practices among people who use drugs (PWUD), harm reductionists, and emergency responders across four counties in Texas. This work would inform future efforts to scale and spread harm reduction in Texas.

    Methods: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with N = 69 key stakeholders (25 harm reductionists; 24 PWUD; 20 emergency responders). Interviews were transcribed verbatim, coded for emergent themes, and analyzed using Applied Thematic Analysis with Nvivo 12. A community advisory board defined the research questions, reviewed the emergent themes, and assisted with interpretation of the data.

    Results: Emergent themes highlighted barriers to harm reduction at micro and macro levels, from the individual experience of PWUD and harm reductionists to systemic issues in healthcare and the emergency medical response system. Specifically, (1) Texas has existing strengths in overdose prevention and response efforts on which to build, (2) PWUD are fearful of interacting with healthcare and 911 systems, (3) harm reductionists are in increasing need of support for reaching all PWUD communities, and (4) state-level policies may hinder widespread implementation and adoption of evidence-based harm reduction practices.

    Conclusions: Perspectives from harm reduction stakeholders highlighted existing strengths, avenues for improvement, and specific barriers that currently exist to harm reduction practices in Texas.

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