Research News Roundup: March 31, 2022

    Use of Medication for Opioid Use Disorder among US Adolescents and Adults with Need for Opioid Treatment, 2019

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2022, doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.3821

    Authors: Pia M. Mauro, Sarah Gutkind, Erin M. Annunziato & Hillary Samples


    Importance: Medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) is the criterion standard treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD), but nationally representative studies of MOUD use in the US are lacking.

    Objective: To estimate MOUD use rates and identify associations between MOUD and individual characteristics among people who may have needed treatment for OUD.

    Design, Setting, and Participants: Cross-sectional, nationally representative study using the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health in the US. Participants included community-based, noninstitutionalized adolescent and adult respondents identified as individuals who may benefit from MOUD, defined as (1) meeting criteria for a past-year OUD, (2) reporting past-year MOUD use, or (3) receiving past-year specialty treatment for opioid use in the last or current treatment episode.

    Main Outcomes and Measures: The main outcomes were treatment with MOUD compared with non-MOUD services and no treatment. Associations with sociodemographic characteristics (eg, age, race and ethnicity, sex, income, and urbanicity); substance use disorders; and past-year health care or criminal legal system contacts were analyzed. Multinomial logistic regression was used to compare characteristics of people receiving MOUD with those receiving non-MOUD services or no treatment. Models accounted for predisposing, enabling, and need characteristics.

    Results: In the weighted sample of 2 206 169 people who may have needed OUD treatment (55.5% male; 8.0% Hispanic; 9.9% non-Hispanic Black; 74.6% non-Hispanic White; and 7.5% categorized as non-Hispanic other, with other including 2.7% Asian, 0.9% Native American or Alaska Native, 0.2% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and 3.8% multiracial), 55.1% were aged 35 years or older, 53.7% were publicly insured, 52.2% lived in a large metropolitan area, 56.8% had past-year prescription OUD, and 80.0% had 1 or more co-occurring substance use disorders (percentages are weighted). Only 27.8% of people needing OUD treatment received MOUD in the past year. Notably, no adolescents (aged 12-17 years) and only 13.2% of adults 50 years and older reported past-year MOUD use. Among adults, the likelihood of past-year MOUD receipt vs no treatment was lower for people aged 50 years and older vs 18 to 25 years (adjusted relative risk ratio [aRRR], 0.14; 95% CI, 0.05-0.41) or with middle or higher income (eg, $50 000-$74 999 vs $0-$19 999; aRRR, 0.18; 95% CI, 0.07-0.44). Compared with receiving non-MOUD services, receipt of MOUD was more likely among adults with at least some college (vs high school or less; aRRR, 2.94; 95% CI, 1.33-6.51) and less likely in small metropolitan areas (vs large metropolitan areas, aRRR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.19-0.93). While contacts with the health care system (85.0%) and criminal legal system (60.5%) were common, most people encountering these systems did not report receiving MOUD (29.5% and 39.1%, respectively).

    Conclusions and Relevance: In this cross-sectional study, MOUD uptake was low among people who could have benefited from treatment, especially adolescents and older adults. The high prevalence of health care and criminal legal system contacts suggests that there are critical gaps in care delivery or linkage and that cross-system integrated interventions are warranted.

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

    Correlates of U.S. Young Adults’ Awareness of Alcohol Use as a Behavioral Risk Factor for Cancer

    Journal: Preventive Medicine Reports, 2022, doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2022.101765

    Authors: Lauren Long, Mahmood A. Alalwan, Brittney Keller-Hamilton, Michael D. Slater & Darren Maysa


    Although alcohol increases the risk of cancer, awareness of alcohol-related cancer risks is low. Alcohol use is prevalent among young adults, and understanding factors associated with awareness and perceptions of alcohol-related cancer risks in this group is critical for cancer prevention efforts. We examined the demographic, tobacco, and alcohol related correlates of young adults’ awareness and perceptions of alcohol as a behavioral risk factor for cancer. We completed a secondary analysis of data collected in February 2020 in the U.S. from 1,328 young adults (ages 18–30) who completed a cross-sectional online survey. Participants reported (1) awareness of alcohol as a risk factor for cancer and (2) perceived risks of serious disease such as cancer. We analyzed demographic characteristics, alcohol use, and tobacco use associated with these outcome variables using multivariable regression. Overall, 18.5% of participants believed that alcohol does not increase cancer risk. Perceived cancer risk associated with alcohol use was moderate (M 3.2, SD 1.6, 1–7 scale). In multivariable analysis, awareness of risk was significantly higher among those with higher socioeconomic status. Perceived risk was significantly greater among those with higher socioeconomic status, higher alcohol consumption, and a history of tobacco use. These findings indicate research is warranted to better understand awareness of alcohol as a behavioral risk factor for cancer and associated beliefs in subgroups of young adults to help guide the development of interventions to raise awareness of the risks of cancer associated with alcohol use.

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

    Factors Associated with Quit Interest and Quit Attempts among Young Adult JUUL Users

    Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2022,

    Authors: Mahmood A. Alalwan, Jill M. Singer & Megan E. Roberts


    Despite reports suggesting young people are interested in quitting e-cigarettes, little work has examined predictors of quit outcomes. This study aimed to identify factors associated with quit outcomes among JUUL e-cigarette users in a longitudinal sample of young adults. We assessed undergraduate past-30-day JUUL users during autumn 2018 (N = 225); Our outcomes included short-term quit attempts and interest (spring 2019), and long-term quit attempts (spring 2020). We used logistic regression to examine the associations between our outcomes and JUUL use characteristics, other tobacco use, and sociodemographic factors. Findings indicated 76% of users were interested in quitting JUUL, and more than 40% reported a quit attempt. Quit outcomes were not related to sociodemographics. Short-term quit outcomes were more likely among freshmen and less likely among recent cigarillo users. Heavy JUUL users were more likely to report short- and long-term quit attempts, but JUUL device owners were less likely to report short- and long-term quit attempts. Higher nicotine dependence reduced the likelihood of a long-term quit attempt. There is a need for policy level actions that address tobacco control among this population. Findings suggest a range of unique factors that can inform such policies and programs to curb young adult e-cigarette use.

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

    Counselors’ Attitudes toward Psychedelics and their Use in Therapy

    Journal: Journal of Counseling & Development, 2022, doi: 10.1002/jcad.12429

    Authors: Benjamin G. Hearn, Michael D. Brubaker & George Richardson


    The ‘‘psychedelic renaissance’’ is generating new evidence for psychedelics’ potential to treat numerous mental and substance use disorders. In particular, the United States Food and Drug Administration is poised to approve psychedelic drugs 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and psilocybin for the use in psychedelic-assisted therapy (PAT). This renaissance has led to substantial public attention toward psychedelics, state and local changes to the legal status of psychedelics, and recent increases in the rate of psychedelic use among United States adults. Despite these advancements, the counseling profession has remained relatively disengaged from the research and general discourse surrounding psychedelics and PAT. In response to this gap, this study presents the results of a survey of counseling professionals’ attitudes toward psychedelics and PATs. Results suggest counselors’ attitudes toward psychedelic use and PATs are mixed, unless they are medically supervised. Furthermore, most counselors see potential in PAT and the need for additional research.

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

    Individual and Combined Association between Prenatal Polysubstance Exposure and Childhood Risk of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2022, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.1957

    Authors: Henri M. Garrison-Desany, Xiumei Hong, MD, Brion S. Maher, Terri H. Beaty, Guoying Wang, Colleen Pearson, Liming Liang, Xiaobin Wang & Christine Ladd-Acosta


    Importance: Polysubstance use among pregnant women has increased because of the opioid epidemic and the increasing legalization of cannabis along with persistent tobacco and alcohol consumption. Previous research on prenatal substance use and the child’s risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has mostly focused on single-substance exposures; simultaneous examination of multiple substance use and assessment of their synergistic health consequences is needed.

    Objectives: To assess the consequences of the use of specific substances during pregnancy, investigate whether the interaction of multiple prenatal substance exposures is associated with increases in the risk of childhood ADHD, and estimate the aggregate burden of polysubstance exposure during gestation.

    Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study analyzed data from the Boston Birth Cohort from 1998 to 2019. The sample of the present study comprised a multiethnic urban cohort of mother-child pairs who were predominantly low income. A total of 3138 children who were enrolled shortly after birth at Boston Medical Center were included and followed up from age 6 months to 21 years.

    Exposures: Substance use during pregnancy was identified based on self-reported tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, and use of cannabis, cocaine, or opioids in any trimester of pregnancy. Diagnostic codes for neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome or neonatal abstinence syndrome from the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, and the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, were also used to identify opioid exposure during gestation.

    Main Outcomes and Measures: ADHD diagnosis in the child’s electronic medical record.

    Results: Among 3138 children (1583 boys [50.4%]; median age, 12 years [IQR, 9-14 years]; median follow-up, 10 years [IQR, 7-12 years]) in the final analytic sample, 486 (15.5%) had an ADHD diagnosis and 2652 (84.5%) were neurotypical. The median postnatal follow-up duration was 12 years (IQR, 9-14 years). Among mothers, 46 women (1.5%) self-identified as Asian (non–Pacific Islander), 701 (22.3%) as Hispanic, 1838 (58.6%) as non-Hispanic Black, 227 (7.2%) as non-Hispanic White, and 326 (10.4%) as other races and/or ethnicities (including American Indian or Indigenous, Cape Verdean, Pacific Islander, multiracial, other, or unknown). A total of 759 women (24.2%) reported the use of at least 1 substance during pregnancy, with tobacco being the most frequently reported (580 women [18.5%]). Cox proportional hazards models revealed that opioid exposure (60 children) had the highest adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for ADHD (2.19; 95% CI, 1.10-4.37). After including main statistical effects of all individual substances in an elastic net regression model, the HR of opioids was reduced to 1.60, and evidence of a statistical interaction between opioids and both cannabis and alcohol was found, producing 1.42 and 1.15 times higher risk of ADHD, respectively. The interaction between opioids and smoking was also associated with a higher risk of ADHD (HR, 1.17).

    Conclusions and Relevance: The findings of this study suggest that it is important to consider prenatal concurrent exposure to multiple substances and their possible interactions when counseling women regarding substance use during pregnancy, the future risk of ADHD for their children, and strategies for cessation and treatment programs.

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


    March 2022