Research News Roundup: May 20, 2021

    The NIDA clinical trials network: evolving, expanding, and addressing the opioid epidemic

    Journal: Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 2021, doi:10.1186/s13722-021-00238-6

    Authors: Betty Tai, Ronald Dobbins, Quandra Blackeney, David Liu & Landhing Moran

    Abstract: Over the past two decades, the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN), a program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), has expanded from the initial six Nodes to 16 Nodes, as a nationwide consortium of research scientists and treatment providers working together to improve care for substance use in the nation’s communities. Encompassing both specialty care programs and general medical settings, the Network has become a unique resource for expertise on clinically focused research, bridging the gap between research and treatment delivery. Over 22 years, the CTN has completed 101 studies, resulting in 650 publications. In response to the opioid epidemic, a CTN task force generated a comprehensive list of research priorities in the areas of prevention, treatment, knowledge dissemination, and workforce training, to form the basis of the Network’s opioid portfolio. The Network’s opioid portfolio currently includes five main categories of studies: (1) large multi-site studies; (2) studies aimed at closing the treatment gap; (3) expansion of ongoing studies to improve service delivery and implementation; (4) studies to explore the use of substance use data in electronic health record systems; (5) training and dissemination projects to expand the research/health care provider workforce. With funding from the Helping to End Addiction Long-Term Initiative (HEAL), the CTN established five new Nodes, which, along with the pre-existing Nodes, are distributed in every region of the nation and engage researchers and clinicians in areas that have been among the hardest hit by the opioid epidemic. Through this expanded network and its commitment to developing personalized, evidence-based treatments, the CTN is poised to address and provide solutions for the ongoing epidemic of opioid use and addiction.

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

    New and Emerging Opioid Overdose Risk Factors

    Journal: Current Addiction Reports, 2021,
    doi: 10.1007/s40429-021-00368-6

    Authors: Ralph Foglia, Anna Kline & Nina A. Cooperman

    Abstract: The purpose of this review is to provide a review of the current literature surrounding opioid overdose risk factors, focusing on relatively new factors in the opioid crisis.

    Recent Findings:
    Both a market supply driving force and a subpopulation of people who use opioids actively seeking out fentanyl are contributing to its recent proliferation in the opioid market. Harm reduction techniques such as fentanyl testing strips, naloxone education and distribution, drug sampling behaviors, and supervised injection facilities are all seeing expanded use with increasing amounts of research being published regarding their effectiveness. Availability and use of interventions such as medication for opioid use disorder and peer recovery coaching programs are also on the rise to prevent opioid overdose.

    The opioid epidemic is an evolving crisis, necessitating continuing research to identify novel overdose risk factors and the development of new interventions targeting at-risk populations.

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

    Journal: JAMA Psychiatry, 2021, doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.4402

    Authors: Kristin M. Holland, Christopher Jones, Alana M. Vivolo-Kantor, et al.

    Importance: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, associated mitigation measures, and social and economic impacts may affect mental health, suicidal behavior, substance use, and violence.

    To examine changes in US emergency department (ED) visits for mental health conditions (MHCs), suicide attempts (SAs), overdose (OD), and violence outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional study used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Syndromic Surveillance Program to examine national changes in ED visits for MHCs, SAs, ODs, and violence from December 30, 2018, to October 10, 2020 (before and during the COVID-19 pandemic). The National Syndromic Surveillance Program captures approximately 70% of US ED visits from more than 3500 EDs that cover 48 states and Washington, DC.

    Main Outcomes and Measures: Outcome measures were MHCs, SAs, all drug ODs, opioid ODs, intimate partner violence (IPV), and suspected child abuse and neglect (SCAN) ED visit counts and rates. Weekly ED visit counts and rates were computed overall and stratified by sex.

    From December 30, 2018, to October 10, 2020, a total of 187 508 065 total ED visits (53.6% female and 46.1% male) were captured; 6 018 318 included at least 1 study outcome (visits not mutually exclusive). Total ED visit volume decreased after COVID-19 mitigation measures were implemented in the US beginning on March 16, 2020. Weekly ED visit counts for all 6 outcomes decreased between March 8 and 28, 2020 (March 8: MHCs = 42 903, SAs = 5212, all ODs = 14 543, opioid ODs = 4752, IPV = 444, and SCAN = 1090; March 28: MHCs = 17 574, SAs = 4241, all ODs = 12 399, opioid ODs = 4306, IPV = 347, and SCAN = 487). Conversely, ED visit rates increased beginning the week of March 22 to 28, 2020. When the median ED visit counts between March 15 and October 10, 2020, were compared with the same period in 2019, the 2020 counts were significantly higher for SAs (n = 4940 vs 4656, P = .02), all ODs (n = 15 604 vs 13 371, P < .001), and opioid ODs (n = 5502 vs 4168, P < .001); counts were significantly lower for IPV ED visits (n = 442 vs 484, P < .001) and SCAN ED visits (n = 884 vs 1038, P < .001). Median rates during the same period were significantly higher in 2020 compared with 2019 for all outcomes except IPV.

    Conclusions and Relevance
    : These findings suggest that ED care seeking shifts during a pandemic, underscoring the need to integrate mental health, substance use, and violence screening and prevention services into response activities during public health crises.

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

    Exposure to e-cigarette TV advertisements among U.S. youth and adults, 2013–2019

    Journal: PLOS ONE, 2021, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0251203

    Authors: Zongshuan Duan, Yu Wang, Sherry L. Emery, Frank J. Chaloupka, Yoonsang Kim & Jidong Huang

    Introduction: E-cigarette advertising has been shown to increase e-cigarette awareness and use. Although e-cigarette marketing in the early 2010s has been well-documented, little is known about how it has changed in recent years in response to the regulatory scrutiny from the FDA and the Congress to combat youth vaping epidemic. This study aims to examine the exposure to e-cigarette TV advertising among youth and adults in the U.S. from 2013 to 2019, overall and by media market and brand.

    Methods: Quarterly data on e-cigarette TV advertising exposure, measured by target rating points (TRPs), and expenditures from 2013 to 2019 were compiled from the Stradegy of Kantar Media. Trends of quarterly e-cigarette advertising TRPs were reported by age group, market, and brand.

    Results: Over the study period, overall exposure to e-cigarette TV advertising was higher among adults than among youth. E-cigarette advertising TRPs and expenditures were relatively stable, despite intermittent fluctuations, between 2013 Q1 and 2017 Q1 except for a one-time dip in 2015 Q3, followed by a sharp decline in 2017 Q2 and stayed low till the end of 2018. A resurgence of e-cigarette advertising TRPs occurred in 2019 Q1, led by the advertising from JUUL, Blu, and Vuse, which peaked in the third quarter of 2019, with quarterly TRPs reaching 316.8 for youth and 1,701.9 for adults, and quarterly advertising expenditure totaling $31 million.

    : Significant variations, both over time and across media markets and brands, were observed for e-cigarette televised advertising between 2013 and 2019. Following a lull in TV advertising in 2017/18, major e-cigarette companies have substantially increased advertising of their products on American television since early 2019, resulting in a surge in exposure to e-cigarette advertising among both youth and adults. Our findings highlighted the importance of continued monitoring of e-cigarette advertising in the U.S.

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

    Association of co-occurring opioid or other substance use disorders with increased healthcare utilization in patients with depression

    Journal: Translational Psychiatry, 2021, doi: 10.1038/s41398-021-01372-0

    Authors: Veer Vekaria, Budhaditya Bose, Sean M. Murphy, Jonathan Avery, George Alexopoulos & Jyotishman Pathak

    Abstract: Substance use disorders (SUDs) commonly co-occur with mental illness. However, the ongoing addiction crisis raises the question of how opioid use disorder (OUD) impacts healthcare utilization relative to other SUDs. This study examines the utilization patterns of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and: (1) co-occurring OUD (MDD-OUD); (2) a co-occurring SUD other than OUD (MDD-NOUD); and (3) no co-occurring SUD (MDD-NSUD). We analyzed electronic health records (EHRs) derived from multiple health systems across the New York City (NYC) metropolitan area between January 2008 and December 2017. 11,275 patients aged ≥18 years with a gap of 30–180 days between 2 consecutive MDD diagnoses and an antidepressant prescribed 0–180 days after any MDD diagnosis were selected, and prevalence of any SUD was 24%. Individuals were stratified into comparison groups and matched on age, gender, and select underlying comorbidities. Prevalence rates and encounter frequencies were measured and compared across outpatient, inpatient, and emergency department (ED) settings. Our key findings showed that relative to other co-occurring SUDs, OUD was associated with larger increases in the rates and odds of using substance-use-related services in all settings, as well as services that integrate mental health and substance abuse treatments in inpatient and ED settings. OUD was also associated with larger increases in total encounters across all settings. These findings and our proposed policy recommendations could inform efforts towards targeted OUD interventions, particularly for individuals with underlying mental illness whose treatment and recovery are often more challenging.

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


    By Partnership Staff
    May 2021


    May 2021