Research News Roundup: September 14, 2023

    An Unexplored Equity Factor: Differential Beliefs and Attitudes Toward Contingency Management by Providers' Ethnicity

    Journal: BMC Health Services Research, 2023, doi: 10.1186/s12913-023-09878-7

    Authors: Oladunni Oluwoye, Douglas L. Weeks, & Michael G. McDonell


    Background: Although considered one of the most effective interventions for substance use disorders (SUD), the widespread implementation of contingency management (CM) has remained limited. In more recent years there has been surge in the implementation of CM to address increasing rates of substance use. Prior studies at the provider-level have explored beliefs about CM among SUD treatment providers and have tailored implementation strategies based on identified barriers and training needs, to promote implementation of CM. However, there have been no implementation strategies that have actively sought to identify or address potential differences in the beliefs about CM that could be influenced by the cultural background (e.g., ethnicity) of treatment providers. To address this knowledge gap, we examined beliefs about CM among a sample of inpatient and outpatient SUD treatment providers.

    Methods: A cross-sectional survey of SUD treatment providers was completed by 143 respondents. The survey asked respondents about their attitudes toward CM using the Contingency Management Beliefs Questionnaire (CMBQ). Linear mixed models examined the effect of ethnicity (non-Hispanic White and Hispanic) on CMBQ subscale (general barriers, training-related barriers, CM positive-statements) scores.

    Results: Fifty-nine percent of respondents to the CMBQ self-identified as non-Hispanic White and 41% as Hispanic. Findings revealed that treatment providers who identified as Hispanic had significantly higher scores on the general barriers (p < .001) and training-related barriers (p = .020) subscales compared to the non-Hispanic White treatment providers. Post-hoc analyses identified differences in the endorsement of specific individual scale items on the general barriers (e.g., CM interventions create extra work for me) and training-related (e.g., I want more training before implementing CM) subscales.

    Conclusions: Dissemination and implementation strategies for CM need to consider equity-related factors at the provider-level that may be associated with the adoption and uptake of CM.

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

    Variation in HIV Transmission Behaviors Among People Who Use Drugs in Rural US Communities

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2023, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.30225

    Authors: Wiley D. Jenkins, Samuel R. Friedman, Christopher B. Hurt, P. Todd Korthuis, Judith Feinberg, Lizbeth M. Del Toro-Mejias, … Mihai Giurcanu


    Importance: People who use drugs (PWUD) continue to be at risk of HIV infection, but the frequency and distribution of transmission-associated behaviors within various rural communities is poorly understood.

    Objective: To examine the association of characteristics of rural PWUD with HIV transmission behaviors.

    Design, setting, and participants: In this cross-sectional study, surveys of PWUD in rural communities in 10 states (Illinois, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin) were collected January 2018 through March 2020 and analyzed August through December 2022. A chain-referral sampling strategy identified convenience sample seeds who referred others who used drugs. Rural PWUD who reported any past 30-day injection drug use or noninjection opioid use “to get high” were included.

    Exposures: Individual characteristics, including age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, partnership status, drug of choice, and location, were collected.

    Main outcomes and measures: Past 30-day frequency of behaviors associated with HIV transmission, including drug injection, syringe sharing, opposite- and same-gender partners, transactional sex, and condomless sex, was assessed.

    Results: Of 3048 rural PWUD (mean [SD] age, 36.1 [10.3] years; 225 American Indian [7.4%], 96 Black [3.2%], and 2576 White [84.5%] among 3045 with responses; and 1737 men [57.0%] among 3046 with responses), most participants were heterosexual (1771 individuals [86.8%] among 2040 with responses) and single (1974 individuals [68.6%] among 2879 with responses). Opioids and stimulants were reported as drug of choice by 1636 individuals (53.9%) and 1258 individuals (41.5%), respectively, among 3033 individuals with responses. Most participants reported recent injection (2587 of 3046 individuals [84.9%] with responses) and condomless sex (1406 of 1757 individuals [80.0%] with responses), among whom 904 of 1391 individuals (65.0%) with responses indicated that it occurred with people who inject drugs. Syringe sharing (1016 of 2433 individuals [41.8%] with responses) and transactional sex (230 of 1799 individuals [12.8%] with responses) were reported less frequently. All characteristics and behaviors, except the number of men partners reported by women, varied significantly across locations (eg, mean [SD] age ranged from 34.5 [10.0] years in Wisconsin to 39.7 [11.0] years in Illinois; P < .001). In multivariable modeling, younger age (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] for ages 15-33 vs ≥34 years, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.08-1.72) and being single (aOR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.08-1.74) were associated with recent injection; younger age (aOR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.20-1.85) and bisexual orientation (aOR vs heterosexual orientation, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.60-3.23) with syringe sharing; gender identity as a woman (aOR vs gender identity as a man, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.01-2.12), bisexual orientation (aOR vs heterosexual orientation, 2.59; 95% CI, 1.67-4.03), and being single (aOR, 1.71; 95% CI, 1.15-2.55) with transactional sex; and bisexual orientation (aOR vs heterosexual orientation, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.04-2.46) and stimulants as the drug of choice (aOR vs opioids, 1.45; 95 CI, 1.09-1.93) with condomless sex with someone who injects drugs.

    Conclusions and relevance: This study found that behaviors associated with HIV transmission were common and varied across communities. These findings suggest that interventions to reduce HIV risk among rural PWUD may need to be tailored to locally relevant factors.

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

    Validating Opioid Use Disorder Diagnoses in Administrative Data: A Commentary on Existing Evidence and Future Directions

    Journal: Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 2023, doi: 10.1186/s13722-023-00405-x

    Authors: Jeffrey F. Scherrer, Mark D. Sullivan, Marc R. LaRochelle, & Richard Grucza


    Background: A valid opioid use disorder (OUD) identification algorithm for use in administrative medical record data would enhance investigators’ ability to study consequences of OUD, OUD treatment seeking and treatment outcomes.

    Main body: Existing studies indicate ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes for opioid abuse and dependence do not accurately measure OUD. However, critical appraisal of existing literature suggests alternative validation methods would improve the validity of OUD identification algorithms in administrative data. Chart abstraction may not be sufficient to validate OUD, and primary data collection via structured diagnostic interviews might be an ideal gold standard.

    Conclusion and commentary: Generating valid OUD identification algorithms is critical for OUD research and quality measurement in real world health care settings.

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

    Perspectives of U.S. Harm Reduction Advocates on Persuasive Message Strategies

    Journal: Harm Reduction Journal, 2023, doi: 10.1186/s12954-023-00849-z

    Authors: Sarah A. White, Rachel Lee, Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, Susan G. Sherman, & Emma E. McGinty


    Background: The messages used to communicate about harm reduction are critical in garnering public support for adoption of harm reduction interventions. Despite the demonstrated effectiveness of harm reduction interventions at reducing overdose deaths and disease transmission, the USA has been slow to adopt harm reduction to scale. Implementation of evidence-based interventions has been hindered by a historical framing of drug use as a moral failure and related stigmatizing attitudes among the public toward people who use drugs. Understanding how professional harm reduction advocates communicate to audiences about the benefits of harm reduction is a critical step to designing persuasive messaging strategies.

    Methods: We conducted qualitative interviews with a purposively recruited sample of U.S. professional harm reduction advocates (N = 15) to examine their perspectives on which types of messages are effective in persuading U.S. audiences on the value of harm reduction. Participants were professionals working in harm reduction advocacy at national- or state-level organizations promoting and/or implementing harm reduction. Semi-structured interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using a hybrid inductive/deductive approach.

    Results: Interviewees agreed that messages about the scientific evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of harm reduction approaches are important but insufficient, on their own, to persuade audiences. Interviewees identified two overarching messaging strategies they perceived as persuasive: using messages about harm reduction that align with audience-specific values, for example centering the value of life or individual redemption; and positioning harm reduction as part of the comprehensive solution to current issues audiences are facing related to drug use and overdose in their community. Interviewees discussed tailoring messages strategies to four key audiences: policymakers; law enforcement; religious groups; and the family and friends of people who use, or have used, drugs. For example, advocates discussed framing messages to law enforcement from the perspective of public safety.

    Conclusions: Interviewees viewed messages as most persuasive when they align with audience values and audience-specific concerns related to drug use and overdose death. Future research should test effectiveness of tailored messaging strategies to audiences using experimental approaches.

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

    The Impact of Polysubstance Use Patterns on Engagement of Substance Use Disorder Treatment Among Emergency Department Patients at High Risk of Opioid Overdose

    Journal: Addictive Behaviors Reports, 2023, doi: 10.1016/j.abrep.2023.100512

    Authors: Fiona Bhondoekhan, Yu Li, Rachel Gaither, Mackenzie M. Daly, Benjamin D. Hallowell, Laura C. Chambers, Francesca L. Beaudoin, & Brandon D. L. Marshall


    Background: Substance use patterns are diverse, and multiple substances are often involved in fatal and nonfatal overdoses. Additionally, polysubstance use is associated with greater difficulty accessing and remaining in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. The aim of this study was to identify substance use patterns and determine their association with SUD treatment engagement among emergency department (ED) patients at risk of opioid overdose.

    Methods: This was a sub-analysis of a randomized controlled trial comparing two behavioral interventions for individuals at two EDs in Rhode Island from 2018 to 2021. Past six-month substance use frequency for eight substances plus injection drug use was self-reported at trial enrollment, and SUD treatment engagement within 90 days after enrollment was obtained using administrative data linkages. Latent class analysis identified substance use patterns and multivariable log-binomial models estimated the association with SUD treatment engagement.

    Results: Among 607 participants, there were four substance use patterns: 1) low reported use (n = 295), 2) frequent injection and heroin use (n = 131), 3) high frequency broad polysubstance use (n = 62), and 4) low frequency broad polysubstance use (n = 119). Compared to participants with the low reported use pattern, those with the frequent injection and heroin pattern had a greater likelihood of SUD treatment engagement (adjusted risk ratio = 1.28; 95% confidence interval = 1.02-1.61).

    Conclusions: Distinct and meaningful polysubstance use patterns showed differential SUD treatment engagement after ED discharge. Nuanced relationships between substance use patterns and treatment highlight the necessity for tailored harm reduction, treatment, and recovery services.

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


    September 2023