Research News Roundup: September 16, 2021

    Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 2021, doi: 10.3390/ijerph18168884

    Authors: Fares Qeadan, Nana A Mensah, Lily Y Gu, Erin F Madden, Kamilla L Venner & Kevin English


    Background: Naltrexone, a medication for addiction treatment (MAT), is an FDA-approved medication recommended for the treatment of alcohol use disorder (AUD). Despite the high prevalence of AUD and efficacy of naltrexone, only a small percentage of individuals with AUD receive treatment.

    Objectives: To identify trends for the prescription of naltrexone in AUD admissions in substance use treatment centers across the U.S.

    Methods: Data from the 2000-2018 U.S. Treatment Episode Data Set: Admissions (TEDS-A) were used in temporal trend analysis of naltrexone prescription in admissions that only used alcohol. Data from the 2019 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) were also used to characterize medication use among AUD clients across different treatment service settings.

    Results: Treatment of AUD with naltrexone was 0.49% in 2000 and tripled from 0.53% in 2015 to 1.64% in 2018 in AUD admissions (p < 0.0001 for the Cochran-Armitage trend test). Women, middle-aged adults, and admissions for clients living in the Northeast U.S. were more likely to be prescribed naltrexone than their respective counterparts, as were admissions with prior treatment episodes and referrals through alcohol/drug use care providers, who paid for treatment primarily through private insurance, used alcohol daily in the month prior to admission, and waited 1-7 days to enter treatment. Naltrexone was more commonly prescribed by AUD admissions compared to acamprosate and disulfiram and was more frequently prescribed in residential and outpatient services as opposed to hospital inpatient services.

    Conclusions: Naltrexone remains underutilized for AUD, and factors that influence prescription of medication are multifaceted. This study may contribute to the creation of effective interventions aimed at reducing naltrexone disparities for AUD.

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

    Exploring How Exposure to Truth and State-Sponsored Anti-Tobacco Media Campaigns Affect Smoking Disparities among Young Adults Using a National Longitudinal Dataset, 2002-2017.

    Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2021, doi:10.3390/ijerph18157803

    Authors: David C. Colston, Yanmei Xie, James F. Thrasher, Sherry Emery, Megan E. Patrick, Andrea R. Titus, Michael R. Elliott & Nancy L. Fleischer


    Background: Little is known regarding long-term impacts of anti-tobacco media campaigns on youth smoking and related disparities in the United States. Methods. We examined longitudinal cohort data from Monitoring the Future (MTF) between 2000 and 2017 in modified Poisson regression models to understand the long-term impacts of televised Truth and state-sponsored ad campaign exposure at baseline (age 18) on first cigarette and daily smoking initiation 1 to 2 years later (at modal ages 19/20). We also used additive interactions to test for potential effect modification between campaign exposure and smoking outcomes by sex, race/ethnicity, and parental educational attainment.

    Results: We found no evidence for baseline media campaign exposure to be associated with first cigarette or daily smoking initiation at modal age 19/20. Further, results showed no evidence for effect modification between campaign exposure and first cigarette or daily smoking initiation.

    Conclusions: We found no evidence that baseline Truth and state-sponsored ad exposure was associated with first cigarette or daily smoking initiation at follow up, nor did we find any evidence for effect modification by sex, race/ethnicity, or parental education. We hypothesize that anti-tobacco media campaigns might have had a short-term impact on smoking behaviors, though these effects were not sustained long term.

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

    Early Adolescent Substance Use Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Longitudinal Survey in the ABCD Study Cohort

    Journal: Journal of Adolescent Health, 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.06.015

    Authors: William E. Pelham III, Susan F. Tapert, Marybel Robledo Gonzalez, Amandine M. Van Rinsveld, Natasha E. Wade & Sandra A. Brown


    Purpose: Evaluate changes in early adolescent substance use during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic using a prospective, longitudinal, nationwide cohort.

    Methods: Participants were enrolled in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study. A total of 7,842 youth (mean age = 12.4 years, range = 10.5–14.6) at 21 study sites across the U.S. completed a three-wave assessment of substance use between May and August 2020. Youth reported whether they had used alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, or other substances in the past 30 days. Data were linked to prepandemic surveys that the same youth had completed in the years 2018–2020, before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Results: Past-30-day substance use remained stable in the 6 months since stay-at-home orders were first issued in U.S. states/counties; was primarily episodic (1–2 days in the past month); and was typically limited to a single substance. Using pretest/posttest and age-period designs, we found that compared to before the pandemic, fewer youth were using alcohol and more youth were using nicotine or misusing prescription drugs. During the pandemic, youth were more likely to use substances when they were more stressed by pandemic-related uncertainty; their family experienced material hardship; their parents used alcohol or drugs; or they experienced greater depression or anxiety. Neither engagement in social distancing nor worry about COVID-19 infection was associated with substance use. Several risk factors were stronger among older (vs. younger) adolescents.

    Conclusions: Among youth in early adolescence, advent of the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with decreased use of alcohol and increased use of nicotine and misuse of prescription drugs.

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

    Behavioral Health Risk Factors for Nonmedical Prescription Opioid Use in Adolescence

    Journal: Pediatrics, 2021, doi:10.1542/peds.2021-051451

    Authors: Junhan Cho, Lorraine I. Kelley-Quon, Jessica L. Barrington-Trimis, Afton Kechter, Sarah Axeen & Adam M. Leventhal


    Background: Adolescent nonmedical prescription opioid use is associated with overdose and other adverse outcomes, but its risk factors are poorly understood.

    Methods: Data were drawn from a prospective cohort study of Los Angeles, California, high school students. At baseline (mean age = 14.6 years), students completed self-report screening measures of problem alcohol, cannabis, and drug use and 6 mental health problems (major depression, generalized anxiety, panic disorder, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and hypomania or mania). Past 6-month nonmedical prescription opioid use (yes or no) was assessed across 7 semiannual follow-ups.

    Results: Among baseline never users of nonmedical prescription opioids (N = 3204), average past 6-month prevalence of new nonmedical prescription opioid use across the 42-month follow-up was 4.4% (range 3.5%–6.1%). In a multivariable model co-adjusting for 9 baseline behavioral problems and other factors, major depression, hypomania or mania, cannabis, alcohol, and other drug use problems were associated with increased odds of nonmedical prescription opioid use over follow-ups. Cumulative indices of behavioral health comorbidity showed successively greater odds of subsequent nonmedical prescription opioid use for students with 1 (odds ratio [OR]: 3.74; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.79–5.01), 2 (OR: 8.79; 95% CI: 5.95–12.99), or 3 (OR: 9.69; 95% CI: 5.63–16.68) vs 0 baseline substance use problems, and similar increases were associated with increasing number of mental health problems (1 [OR: 1.60; 95% CI: 1.03–2.88] to all 6 [OR: 3.98; 95% CI: 1.09–14.82] vs 0).

    Conclusions: Behavioral health problems may be associated with increased risk of subsequent nonmedical prescription opioid use during mid to late adolescence, with successively greater risk for those with greater behavioral health comorbidity. In pediatric clinical practice or school-based prevention, behavioral health screeners may be useful for identifying youth at high risk for nonmedical prescription opioid use.

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

    Changes in Medical Use of Central Nervous System Stimulants among US Adults, 2013 and 2018: A Cross-Sectional Study

    Journal: BMJ Open, 2021, doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2020-048528

    Authors: Thomas J. Moore, Phillip W. Wirtz, Stefan P. Kruszewski & G. Caleb Alexander


    Objective: To assess the 5-year changes in the adult medical use of central nervous system (CNS) stimulants with higher risk of dependence and evaluate the population characteristics of users and their medical and/or neurological conditions.

    Design: Cross-sectional study.

    Setting: Annual US Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a stratified random sample of approximately 30 000 persons designed to produce national population estimates. It focuses on reported medical spending, medical services used, health status and prescription medications.

    Participants: Adults age 19 years and older who reported obtaining one or more prescriptions for amphetamine or methylphenidate products during two survey years, 2013 and 2018.

    Main outcomes measures: Prescriptions obtained, the specific stimulant product and annual treatment days of drug supplied.

    Results: In 2018, an estimated 4.1 million US adults (95% CI 3.4 million to 4.8 million) reported prescriptions for CNS stimulants, having filled a mean of 7.3 (95% CI 6.8 to 7.8) prescriptions with a mean of 226 (95% CI 210 to 242) days’ supply. Compared with 2013, the estimated number of adults reporting using CNS stimulants in 2018 increased by 1.8 million (95% CI 1.0 million to 2.7 million) or 79.8%. Most 2018 adult stimulant users reported taking psychoactive medication for one or more mental, behavioural or neurodevelopment disorders. Overall, 77.8% (95% CI 72.6% to 83.0%) reported some medication for adult attention deficit disorder, 26.8% (95% CI 22.2% to 31.5%) took medication for anxiety, 25.1% (95% CI 19.9% to 30.3%) for depression and 15.3% (95% CI 9.8% to 20.8%) indicated drug treatment for other mental or neurological disorders. Adult CNS stimulant use was higher in females, in younger age cohorts and among individuals of white race/ethnicity.

    Conclusions: Adult medical use of prescription stimulants increased markedly in 5 years and occurred in a population often reporting multiple mental or neurological disorders. Further action is needed to understand and manage this new resurgence in drugs with high risks of dependence.

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


    September 2021