Research News Roundup: May 27, 2021

    A cascade of care for alcohol use disorder: Using 2015–2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health data to identify gaps in past 12-month care.

    Journal: medRxiv, 2021, doi: 10.1101/2020.10.30.20222695

    Authors: Carrie Mintz, Sarah Hartz, Sherri Fisher, Alex Ramsey, Elvin Geng, Richard Grucza & Laura Bierut

    Background: Although effective treatments exist, alcohol use disorder (AUD) is undertreated. We used a cascade of care framework to understand gaps in care between diagnosis and treatment for persons with AUD.

    Methods: Using 2015-2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health data, we evaluated the following steps in the cascade of care: 1) prevalence of adults with AUD; 2) proportion of adults who utilized health care in the past 12 months; 3) were screened about alcohol use; 4) received a brief intervention about alcohol misuse; 5) received information about treatment for alcohol misuse; and 6) proportion of persons with AUD who received treatment. Analyses were stratified by AUD severity.

    Results: Of the 171,766 persons included in the sample, weighted prevalence of AUD was 7.9% (95% CI 7.7-8.0%). Persons with AUD utilized health care settings at similar rates as those without AUD. Cascades of care showed the majority of individuals with AUD utilized health care and were screened about alcohol use, but the percent who received the subsequent steps of care decreased substantially. For those with severe AUD, 83.5% (CI: 78.3%-88.7%) utilized health care in the past 12 months, 73.5% (CI: 68.1%-78.9%) were screened for alcohol use, 22.7% (CI: 19.4%-26.0%) received a brief intervention, 12.4% (CI: 10%-14.7%) received information about treatment, and 20.5% (CI: 18%-23.1%) were treated for AUD. The greatest decrease in the care continuum occurred from screening to brief intervention and referral to treatment. More persons with severe AUD received treatment than were referred, indicating other pathways to treatment outside of the healthcare system.

    Conclusions: Persons with AUD utilize health care at high rates and are frequently screened about alcohol use, but few receive treatment. Health care settings-particularly primary care settings-represent a prime opportunity to implement pharmacologic treatment for AUD to improve outcomes in this high-risk population.

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

    Housing, opportunities, motivation and engagement (HOME) for homeless youth at-risk for opioid use disorder: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

    Journal: Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 2021, doi: 10.1186/s13722-021-00237-7

    Authors: Natasha Slesnick, Laura Chavez, Alicia Bunger, Ruri Famelia, Jodi Ford, Xin Feng, Sarah Higgins, Eugene Holowacz, Soren Jaderlund, Ellison Luthy, Allen Mallory, Jared Martin, Laura Walsh, Tansel Yilmazer & Kelly Kelleher

    Background: Homeless youth experience high rates of substance use disorders, exposures to violence, mental and physical health conditions, and mortality. They have been particularly affected by the opioid crisis. However, no study to date has used a randomized controlled design to test preventive interventions of opioid and other drug use among this vulnerable population. Resolution of youth homelessness through housing and supportive services including prevention services, often referred to as “Housing First,” has great potential to reduce the likelihood for the development of an opioid use disorder as well as other problem behaviors associated with living on the streets. Housing First has been tested through randomized trials among homeless adults with mental health and substance use disorders, but has not been empirically tested for opioid prevention among homeless youth.

    Methods: Homeless youth will be recruited from a drop-in shelter site frequented by disconnected youth; they will be screened for eligibility, including current homelessness, age 18–24 years, and not currently meeting criteria for opioid use disorder (OUD). In a controlled trial, 240 youth will then be randomized to one of two conditions, (1) housing + opioid and related risk prevention services, or (2) opioid and related risk prevention services alone. This project utilizes existing efficacious models of prevention to address opioid-related risks, including motivational interviewing, strengths-based outreach and advocacy, and an HIV risk preventive intervention. Follow-up will be conducted at 3, 6, 9 and 12-months post-baseline. The economic cost of each intervention will be determined to support implementation decisions with other providers and their funders.

    Discussion: This study will provide essential information for researchers and providers on the efficacy of housing + opioid and related risk prevention services in an RCT for effects on opioid use and mechanisms underlying change. Because youth experiencing homelessness are at increased risk for a variety of adverse outcomes, the proposed intervention may produce substantial health care benefits to the youths and society at large.

    Trial registration, NCT04135703, Registered October 13, 2019,

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

    Where there is (No) smoke, there is still fire: a review of trends, reasons for use, preferences and harm perceptions of adolescent and young adult electronic cigarette use

    Journal: Current pediatrics reports, 2021, doi: 10.1007/s40124-021-00240-1

    Authors: Priya Sarin Gupta & Kelly M. Kalagher

    Purpose of the review: To review the current prevalence, trends, perceptions, and effects of e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury (EVALI) on e-cigarette use among US adolescents and young adults.

    Recent findings: COVID-19 diagnosis was more likely among the current/ever dual cigarette and e-cigarettes users, as well as ever e-cigarette only users. Additionally, the EVALI outbreak may have influenced harm perceptions, as daily nicotine vaping declined significantly from 2019 to 2020, and more youth and young adults perceived vaping as harmful.

    Summary: The prevalence of e-cigarette use, specifically flavored use, remains high among adolescents and young adults, which is concerning due to the short-term and unknown long-term effects of e-cigarettes and their association with future cigarette and other substance use.

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

    Gender stigma awareness is associated with adolescent risky health behaviors

    Journal: PLOSONE, 2021, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0251332

    Authors: Karen Kwaning, Mitchell Wong, Kulwant Dosanjh, Christopher Biely & Rebecca Dudovitz

    Objectives: Although racial stigma in school is associated with adolescent risky health behaviors, there are no studies investigating how gender stigma relates to adolescent risky health behaviors among low-income, minority youth. We sought to determine whether gender stigma awareness is associated with adolescent risky health behaviors (delinquency, fighting, and substance use) and whether this association is mediated by school disengagement (low perceived teacher support, low school engagement, cutting classes, and breaking school rules) among low-income, minority students.

    Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional survey data, collected from 2017 to 2019, from 412 high school students. Multi-level logistic regressions tested whether gender stigma awareness was associated with delinquency, fighting, and substance use, controlling for covariates, baseline behaviors, and clustering within schools. Mediation analyses tested whether school disengagement (low school engagement, perceived teacher support, cutting class, and breaking school rules) mediated these associations. Secondary analyses explored whether associations differed for male versus female, high-performing versus low-performing, and Latinx versus non-Latinx students.

    Results: In this predominantly Latinx (83%) sample, gender stigma awareness was associated with delinquency (AOR = 1.48, P< 0.001) and fighting (AOR = 1.15, P< 0.001). School engagement, perceived teacher support, breaking school rules, and cutting classes mediated 42.7% of the association between gender stigma awareness and delinquency and 65.42% of the association between gender stigma awareness and fighting. Gender stigma awareness was also associated with substance use for low-performing (AOR = 1.68, P = 0.003) and non-Latinx adolescents (AOR = 3.80, P = 0.03). School disengagement did not mediate the association between gender stigma awareness and substance use for non-Latinx students but mediated 50% of this association for low-performing students.

    Conclusions: Gender stigma awareness is associated with adolescent risky health behaviors. A decreased sense of acceptance in the school community and increased school misbehavior may mediate these associations. School environments that value and accept all students may better support adolescent health.

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

    By Partnership Staff
    May 2021


    May 2021