Research News Roundup: May 4, 2023

    Examining the Relationship of Concurrent Obesity and Tobacco Use Disorder on the Development of Substance Use Disorders and Psychiatric Conditions: Findings from the NESARC-III

    Journal: Drug and Alcohol Dependence Reports, 2023, doi: 10.1016/j.dadr.2023.100162

    Authors: Logan J. Fields, W. Roberts, I. Schwing, M. McCoy, T. L. Verplaetse, M. R. Peltier, R. F. Carretta, … S. A. McKee


    Background: Multimorbidity is linked to worse health outcomes than single health conditions. However, recent studies show that obesity may reduce the risk of developing substance use disorders (SUDs), particularly in vulnerable populations. We investigated how comorbid obesity and tobacco use disorder (TUD) relate to the risk of SUDs and psychiatric conditions.

    Methods: Data was used from 36,309 individuals who completed the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions – Wave III. Individuals who met the DSM-5 criteria for TUD in the last year were defined as the TUD group. Obesity was defined as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 kg/m2. Using this information, individuals were grouped into categories, with people being identified as either having obesity, TUD, both obesity and TUD, or not having either obesity or TUD (comparison). Groups were compared against their comorbid diagnoses of either an additional SUD or psychiatric conditions.

    Results: Controlling for demographic characteristics, we found that individuals with obesity including those individuals with TUD, had lower rates of comorbid SUD diagnosis than individuals with TUD alone. Additionally, individuals with combined TUD and obesity, and those with TUD alone, had the highest rates of comorbid psychiatric disorder diagnosis.

    Conclusions: The current study aligns with previous research suggesting that obesity may reduce risk of substance use disorders, even in individuals who have other risk factors promoting harmful substance use (e.g., tobacco use). These findings may inform targeted intervention strategies for this clinically relevant subpopulation.

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

    Solitary-Specific Drinking to Cope Motives Explain Unique Variance in Solitary Drinking Behavior but not Alcohol Problems Compared to General Drinking to Cope Motives

    Journal: PLoS One, 2023, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0282506

    Authors: Carillon J. Skrzynski & Kasey G. Creswell


    Objective: Adolescent and young adult solitary drinking is prospectively associated with alcohol problems, and it is thus important to understand why individuals engage in this risky drinking behavior. There is substantial evidence that individuals drink alone to cope with negative affect, but all prior studies have assessed motives for alcohol use without specifying the context of such use. Here, we directly compared solitary-specific drinking to cope motives with general drinking to cope motives in their ability to predict solitary drinking behavior and alcohol problems. We hypothesized that solitary-specific drinking motives would provide additional predictive utility in each case.

    Methods: Current underage drinkers (N = 307; 90% female; ages 18-20) recruited from a TurkPrime panel March-May 2016 completed online surveys querying solitary alcohol use, general and solitary-specific coping motives, and alcohol problems.

    Results: Both solitary-specific and general coping motives were positively associated with a greater percentage of total drinking time spent alone in separate models, after controlling for solitary-specific and general enhancement motives, respectively. However, the model with solitary-specific motives accounted for greater variance than the general motives model based on adjusted R2 values (0.8 versus 0.3, respectively). Additionally, both general and solitary-specific coping motives were positively associated with alcohol problems, again controlling for enhancement motives, but the model including general motives accounted for greater variance (0.49) than the solitary-specific motives model (0.40).

    Conclusion: These findings provide evidence that solitary-specific coping motives explain unique variance in solitary drinking behavior but not alcohol problems. The methodological and clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

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

    "As long as that Place Stays Open, I'll Stay Alive": Accessing Injectable Opioid Agonist Treatment During Dual Public Health Crises

    Journal: Harm Reduction Journal, 2023, doi: 10.1186/s12954-023-00779-w

    Authors: Kaitlyn Jaffe, Sarin Blawatt, Eisha Lehal, Kurt Lock, Adam Easterbrook, Scott MacDonald, Scott Harrison, … & Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes


    Background: Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, overdose rates in North America have continued to rise, with more than 100,000 drug poisoning deaths in the past year. Amidst an increasingly toxic drug supply, the pandemic disrupted essential substance use treatment and harm reduction services that reduce overdose risk for people who use drugs. In British Columbia, one such treatment is injectable opioid agonist treatment (iOAT), the supervised dispensation of injectable hydromorphone or diacetylmorphine for people with opioid use disorder. While evidence has shown iOAT to be safe and effective, it is intensive and highly regimented, characterized by daily clinic visits and provider-client interaction-treatment components made difficult by the pandemic.

    Methods: Between April 2020 and February 2021, we conducted 51 interviews with 18 iOAT clients and two clinic nurses to understand how the pandemic shaped iOAT access and treatment experiences. To analyze interview data, we employed a multi-step, flexible coding strategy, an iterative and abductive approach to analysis, using NVivo software.

    Results: Qualitative analysis revealed the ways in which the pandemic shaped clients’ lives and the provision of iOAT care. First, client narratives illuminated how the pandemic reinforced existing inequities. For example, socioeconomically marginalized clients expressed concerns around their financial stability and economic impacts on their communities. Second, clients with health comorbidities recognized how the pandemic amplified health risks, through potential COVID-19 exposure or by limiting social connection and mental health supports. Third, clients described how the pandemic changed their engagement with the iOAT clinic and medication. For instance, clients noted that physical distancing guidelines and occupancy limits reduced opportunities for social connection with staff and other iOAT clients. However, pandemic policies also created opportunities to adapt treatment in ways that increased patient trust and autonomy, for example through more flexible medication regimens and take-home oral doses.

    Conclusion: Participant narratives underscored the unequal distribution of pandemic impacts for people who use drugs but also highlighted opportunities for more flexible, patient-centered treatment approaches. Across treatment settings, pandemic-era changes that increase client autonomy and ensure equitable access to care are to be continued and expanded, beyond the duration of the pandemic.

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

    A Scoping Review of Risk and Protective Factors for Negative Cannabis Use Consequences

    Journal: Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment, 2023, doi: 10.1177/11782218231166622

    Authors: Timothy J. Grigsby, Andrea Lopez, Larisa Albers, Christopher J. Rogers & Myriam Forster


    Objective: Numerous reviews have examined risk and protective factors for alcohol-related negative consequences, but no equivalent review of risk and protective factors exists for cannabis-related negative consequences (CRNCs)-a gap filled by the present study. This scoping review examined survey-based research of risk and protective factors for CRNCs such as neglecting responsibilities, blacking out, or needing more cannabis.

    Methods: Three databases (PubMed, PsycINFO, and Google Scholar) were searched for peer-reviewed manuscripts published between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 2021. A qualitative synthesis was performed using the matrix method and the results were organized using the socioecological model as a framework.

    Results: Eighty-three studies were included in the review. There was considerable variation in measures and operationalizations of CRNCs across studies. Risk factors were identified in the intrapersonal (depression, social anxiety, PTSD, impulsivity, sensation seeking, motives, expectancies), interpersonal/community (trauma, victimization, family and peer substance use, social norms), and social/policy (education, employment, community attachment, legalization, availability of substances) domains of influence. Protective behavioral strategies were a robust protective factor for CRNCs. Males consistently reported more CRNCs than females, but there were no differences observed across race.

    Conclusions: Future research should identify person- and product-specific patterns of CRNCs to refine theoretical models of cannabis misuse and addiction. Public health interventions to reduce the risk of negative consequences from cannabis should consider utilizing multilevel interventions to attenuate the cumulative risk from a combination of psychological, contextual, and social influences.

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

    Understanding Predictors of Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment Utilization among US Adults: A Repeated Cross-Sectional Study

    Journal: Global Epidemiology, 2023, doi: 10.1016/j.gloepi.2023.100109

    Authors: Jaskiran Dhinsa, Andres Roman-Urrestarazu, Robin van Kessel & Keith Humphreys


    Background: Understanding discrepancies in mental health and substance use treatment utilization can help identify inequities in access to health services. We investigate mental health and substance use treatment utilization as function of demographic and social determinants, as well as pre-existing mental health and substance use disorders.

    Methods: In this repeated cross-sectional study, we used the 2017–2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health data on US adults above age 18. Two logistic regression models were conducted, using predictors of age, gender, race/Hispanicity, sexual identity, education, insurance, family income, and past year mental health and substance use disorders, with outcomes of mental health or substance use treatment utilization. Weighted estimates of substance use disorders and insurance types and Pearson’s correlation tests of vulnerability among age, gender, and treatment type were reported.

    Findings: Racial minorities, uninsured populations, sexual minorities, and females had lower odds of receiving mental health treatment, while older populations, lower income groups, and dual eligible enrollees had higher odds. Individuals with substance use disorders but no mental illness had higher odds of receiving mental health treatment. Those utilizing mental health treatment were mostly of high income, privately insured, and using cannabis, cocaine, and opioids. Older populations, men, and Medicaid only enrollees had higher odds of receiving substance use disorder treatment, whereas racial minorities had lower odds. Distribution of income, insurance type, and substance use were more widespread than mental health treatment.

    Interpretation: Mental health treatment can be used as an avenue for substance use treatment, particularly opioid use disorders. It is important to target vulnerable populations, like racial minorities and uninsured populations to improve access to mental health and substance use treatment.

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


    May 2023