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    Research News Roundup: October 26, 2023

    Cannabis Use Disorder, Suicide Attempts, and Self-Harm Among Adolescents: A National Inpatient Study Across the United States

    Journal: PLoS One, 2023, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0292922

    Authors: Adeolu Funso Oladunjoye, Elijah Li, Kammarauche Aneni, & Edore Onigu-Otite


    Background: Suicide is among the top three causes of adolescent mortality. There is a scarcity of research examining cannabis use and suicidal behavior in adolescents.

    Objectives: To determine the association between cannabis use disorder (CUD) and suicide attempt/self-harm in a hospitalized sample of adolescents.

    Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional observation study using data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample collected over four years from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2019. We included adolescents aged 10-19 hospitalized during the above period (N = 807,105). The primary outcome was suicide attempt/self-harm and the main predictor was CUD. The International Classification of Diseases Tenth Revision (ICD 10) diagnostic codes was used to identify a diagnosis of CUD, suicide attempt/self-harm, and other diagnoses included in the analyses. Adolescents diagnosed with CUD (n = 53,751) were compared to adolescents without CUD (n = 753,354). Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions were conducted to determine the association between CUD and suicide attempts/self-harm.

    Results: 807,105 adolescent hospitalizations were analyzed, of which 6.9% had CUD. Adolescents with CUD were more likely to be older (17 years vs. 15 years), female (52% vs. 48%), have depression (44% vs. 17%), anxiety (32% vs. 13%), an eating disorder (1.9% vs. 1.2%), ADHD (16.3% vs. 9.1%), Conduct Disorder (4.1% vs. 1.3%), Alcohol Use Disorder (11.9% vs. 0.8%), Nicotine Use Disorder (31.1% vs. 4.1%), Cocaine Use Disorder (5.4% vs. 0.2%), Stimulant Use Disorder (0.8% vs. 0.4%) and report suicide attempts/self-harm (2.8% vs. 0.9%) [all ps<0.001]. After adjusting for potential confounders, CUD was associated with a higher risk of suicide attempts/self-harm (OR = 1.4, 95% CI 1.3-1.6, p <0.001). Post-hoc analyses showed the presence of depression moderated the association between CUD and suicide attempts/self-harm in that adolescents with CUD and depression had 2.4 times the odds of suicide attempt/self-harm compared to those with CUD but no depression after controlling for potential confounders (p<0.001).

    Conclusions: Our study provides evidence for the association between CUD and suicide risk among hospitalized adolescents and underscores the importance of recognizing and addressing co-occurring mental and substance use disorders along with CUD to mitigate suicide risk. Identifying high-risk adolescents in inpatient settings provides an opportunity for intervention.

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

    The Co-Occurrence of Conduct Problems and Depressive Symptoms from Childhood to Adulthood for Men: Stability Over Time and Prediction to Substance Use

    Journal: Substance Abuse: Research & Treatment, 2023, doi: 10.1177/11782218231204776

    Authors: Deborah M. Capaldi, Stacey S. Tiberio, & Lee D. Owen


    The dual pathway hypothesis of risk for substance use was tested by examining risk from symptoms of conduct problems and depressive symptoms in adolescence (from ages 10-11 to 17-18 years) to substance use-including tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, and other illicit drugs-in both early adulthood (approximately from ages 20 to 29 years) and middle adulthood (approximately from ages 29 to 38 years). Hypotheses were tested on a sample of boys who were at risk for conduct problems by virtue of the neighborhoods where they lived in childhood (the Oregon Youth Study; N = 206 at Wave 1). Dual-trajectory modeling (Latent Class Analysis) resulted in a 3-group solution of high, moderate, and low co-occurring symptoms. The latent class of boys with co-occurring symptoms in adolescence showed higher levels of substance use in adulthood; namely, higher levels of cannabis and illicit substance use during early adulthood compared to either of the moderate or low symptom classes, and higher use of cannabis in midadulthood than the low symptom class. Those with co-occurring symptoms also showed, overall, higher vulnerability to use of tobacco in these 2 periods, but not to higher use of alcohol. Regression analyses indicated that the higher substance use of the co-occur group of men was related to their adolescent conduct problems, but was not related to their adolescent depressive symptoms; however, these associations were nonsignificant when adolescent use of the respective substances were included in the models. Thus, the dual-trajectory hypothesis was not supported. However, the findings indicated that, as assessed in the present study, the psychopathology symptoms of boys with conduct problems in adolescence who show risk for later substance use may be complex, involving depressive symptoms.

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

    Removal of Medicaid Prior Authorization Requirements and Buprenorphine Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

    Journal: JAMA Health Forum, 2023, doi: 10.1001/jamahealthforum.2023.3549

    Authors: Paul J. Christine, Marc R. Larochelle, Lewei (Allison) Lin, Jonathon McBride, & Renuka Tipirneni


    Importance: Buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) is associated with decreased morbidity and mortality. Despite its effectiveness, buprenorphine uptake has been limited relative to the burden of OUD. Prior authorization (PA) policies may present a barrier to treatment, though research is limited, particularly in Medicaid populations.

    Objective: To assess whether removal of Medicaid PAs for buprenorphine to treat OUD is associated with changes in buprenorphine prescriptions for Medicaid enrollees.

    Design, Setting, and Participants: This state-level, serial cross-sectional study used quarterly data from 2015 through the first quarter (January-March) of 2019 to compare buprenorphine prescriptions in states that did and did not remove Medicaid PAs. Analyses were conducted between June 10, 2021, and August 15, 2023. The study included 23 states with active Medicaid PAs for buprenorphine in 2015 that required similar PA policies in fee-for-service and managed care plans and had at least 2 quarters of pre- and postperiod buprenorphine prescribing data.

    Exposures: Removal of Medicaid PA for at least 1 formulation of buprenorphine for OUD.

    Main Outcomes and Measures: The main outcome was number of quarterly buprenorphine prescriptions per 1000 Medicaid enrollees.

    Results: Between 2015 and the first quarter of 2019, 6 states in the sample removed Medicaid PAs for at least 1 formulation of buprenorphine and had at least 2 quarters of pre- and postpolicy change data. Seventeen states maintained buprenorphine PAs throughout the study period. At baseline, relative to states that repealed PAs, states that maintained PAs had lower buprenorphine prescribing per 1000 Medicaid enrollees (median, 6.6 [IQR, 2.6-13.9] vs 24.1 [IQR, 8.7-27.5] prescriptions) and lower Medicaid managed care penetration (median, 38.5% [IQR, 0.0%-74.1%] vs 79.5% [IQR, 78.1%-83.5%] of enrollees) but similar opioid overdose rates and X-waivered buprenorphine clinicians per 100 000 population. In fully adjusted difference-in-differences models, removal of Medicaid PAs for buprenorphine was not associated with buprenorphine prescribing (1.4% decrease; 95% CI, -31.2% to 41.4%). For states with below-median baseline buprenorphine prescribing, PA removal was associated with increased buprenorphine prescriptions per 1000 Medicaid enrollees (40.1%; 95% CI, 0.6% to 95.1%), while states with above-median prescribing showed no change (-20.7%; 95% CI, -41.0% to 6.6%).

    Conclusions and Relevance: In this serial cross-sectional study of Medicaid PA policies for buprenorphine for OUD, removal of PAs was not associated with overall changes in buprenorphine prescribing among Medicaid enrollees. Given the ongoing burden of opioid overdoses, continued multipronged efforts are needed to remove barriers to buprenorphine care and increase availability of this lifesaving treatment.

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

    Effectiveness of Family-Involved Interventions in Reducing Co-Occurring Alcohol Use and Mental Health Problems in Young People Aged 12-17: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

    Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 2023, doi: 10.3390/ijerph20196890

    Authors: Emma Geijer-Simpson, Eileen Kaner, Raghu Lingam, Paul McArdle, & Ruth McGovern


    There is a high prevalence rate of co-occurring alcohol use and mental health problems in young people. This is associated with adverse outcomes and poses a substantial public health concern. We identified and synthesized evidence on the effectiveness of family-involved interventions in reducing alcohol use and mental health problems in young people aged 12-17. Seven databases were searched from inception to January 2023. Data from 19 articles reporting on 14 trials were pooled through random-effects meta-analysis for each outcome using Review Manager 5.3. Pooled estimates resulted in non-significant findings for alcohol use (SMD -0.60; 95% CI -1.63 to 0.42; p = 0.25; 6 trials; 537 participants), internalizing symptoms (SMD -0.13; 95% CI -0.37 to 0.10; p = 0.27), externalizing symptoms (SMD -0.26; 95% CI -0.66 to 0.15; p = 0.22) and substance use (SMD -0.33; 95% CI -0.72 to 0.06; p = 0.10). In contrast, significant intervention effects were identified for the mechanism of change, family conflict (SMD -0.30; 95% CI -0.51 to -0.09; p = 0.005). Consequently, addressing family functioning may not be sufficient in reducing co-occurring alcohol use and mental health problems. Non-significant intervention effects could be due to a lack of content addressing the relationship between alcohol use and mental health problems. Future intervention development could explore whether to incorporate such content and how best to involve the family.

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

    Evaluating Outcomes of a Three-Year Case Management Program for Mothers with Prenatal Substance Use According to Race/Ethnicity, Washington State, 2006-2017

    Journal: BMC Public Health, 2023, doi: 10.1186/s12889-023-16670-z

    Authors: Susan A. Stoner, J. Christopher Graham, & Therese M. Grant


    Background: Well-designed public health interventions ideally aspire to reduce health disparities between racial and ethnic groups. Yet, there remains virtually no research examining racial/ethnic disparities in interventions for marginalized perinatal populations with substance use disorders (SUD). We sought to examine whether there were racial/ethnic differences at intake, in retention, and in program outcomes among pregnant or postpartum women with prenatal substance use enrolled in a three-year intensive case management intervention. We hypothesized that:  at baseline, numerous racial/ethnic disparities in well-being, health, and health care would be observed, and after the three-year intervention few racial/ethnic disparities in maternal and child health and welfare would be found.

    Methods: We used self-reported data from 3,165 women aged 18 to 45 years enrolled in the Parent-Child Assistance Program in Washington State between May 10, 2006, and September 21, 2017. We used Fisher-Freeman-Halton Exact Tests and t-tests to compare racial/ethnic groups at program enrollment and exit and logistic regression to examine likelihood of completing the intervention by group, controlling for other factors.

    Results: Despite numerous racial/ethnic differences at enrollment, there were no such differences in outcomes among those who finished the program and completed an exit interview. Different racial/ethnic groups received comparable case manager time. American Indians/Alaska Natives were less likely to finish the program (Adjusted Odds = 0.66).

    Conclusions: Participants who finished the program achieved comparable outcomes regardless of race/ethnicity. More work is needed to understand why American Indian/Alaska Native women were less likely than the others to finish the program and to close this service gap.

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