Multidisciplinary Strategies for Preventing Opioid Misuse and Escalation by Targeting Mental Health Symptoms and Conditions

Journal: Prevention Science, 2023, doi: 10.1007/s11121-023-01556-8

Authors: Amy M. Yule, Claudia-Santi F. Fernandes, Elizabeth A. Stormshak, Yang Yang, Lillyan Shelley, Lynn E. Fiellin, Kaitlin Larkin, … Erin E. Bonar


We aim to review the association between childhood-onset mental health conditions and increased risk for early substance use including opioid misuse and opioid use disorders (OUD). The association between mental health conditions and opioid misuse suggests youth with mental health conditions may benefit from opioid prevention efforts that concurrently address mental health. To aid in the identification of youth with mental health conditions who could benefit from interventions, we will review opportunities and challenges associated with screening for mental health symptoms or substance use in settings where youth at high risk for mental health conditions present. We will also review how research projects within the National Institutes of Health’s Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Prevention Cooperative are addressing mental health within opioid misuse and OUD prevention interventions for youth.

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Psychosocial Stressors and Current E-Cigarette Use in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey

Journal: BMC Public Health, 2023, doi: 10.1186/s12889-023-16031-w

Authors: John Erhabor, Ellen Boakye, Ngozi Osuji, Olufunmilayo Obisesan, Albert D. Osei, Hassan Mirbolouk, Andrew C. Stokes, … Michael J. Blaha


Background: This study explores the association between psychosocial stressors and current e-cigarette use among adolescents in the United States.

Methods: We used data from 12,767 participants in the 2019 National Youth Risk Behavioral Survey to examine the association between psychosocial stressors (bullying, sexual assault, safety-related absence from school, depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, physical altercation, and weapon threats) and past-30-day e-cigarette use using multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models. We examined the association for each stressor and then as a burden score (0-7). To compare the strength of the association between stressors and current e-cigarette use to current combustible cigarette use, we additionally examined the association between each stressor and current combustible cigarette use.

Results: Approximately 32.7% reported current e-cigarette use. The weighted prevalence of current e-cigarette use was higher among individuals who experienced stressors than those who did not. For example, bullying (43.9% vs. 29.0%). Similar prevalence patterns were seen among other stressors. Individuals who experienced stressors had significantly higher adjusted odds of current e-cigarette use than those who did not (OR [Odds Ratio] range: 1.47-1.75). Similarly, individuals with higher burden scores had a higher prevalence (zero [20.5%], one [32.8%], two [41.4%], three [49.6%], four to seven [60.9%]) and higher odds of current e-cigarette use (OR range: 1.43-2.73) than those with a score of zero. The strength of the association between the stressors and e-cigarette use was similar to that between the stressors and combustible cigarette use.

Conclusion: The study demonstrates a significant association between psychosocial stressors and adolescent e-cigarette use, highlighting the potential importance of interventions, such as targeted school-based programs that address stressors and promote stress management, as possible means of reducing adolescent e-cigarette use. Future research directions include exploring underlying mechanisms linking stressors to e-cigarette use and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions addressing stressors in reducing adolescent e-cigarette use.

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Economic Benefits of Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Systematic Literature Review of Economic Evaluation Studies from 2003 to 2021

Journal: Journal of Substance Use & Addiction Treatment, 2023, doi: 10.1016/j.josat.2023.209084

Authors: Erminia Fardone, Iván D. Montoya, Bruce R. Schackman, & Kathryn E. McCollister.


Introduction: The economic burden of substance use disorder (SUD) is significant, comprising costs of health care and social services, criminal justice resources, loss of productivity, and premature mortality. This study assembles and synthesizes two decades of evidence describing the benefits of SUD treatment across five main outcome domains; 1) health care utilization; 2) self-reported criminal activity by offense type; 3) criminal justice involvement collected from administrative records or self-reported; 4) productivity assessed through working hours or wages earned; and 5) social services (e.g., a day spent in transitional housing).

Methods: This review included studies if they reported the monetary value of the intervention outcomes, most commonly through a cost-benefit or cost-effectiveness framework. The search included studies from 2003 to the present day as of this writing (up to October 15, 2021). Summary cost estimates were adjusted using the US Consumer Price Index (CPI) to reflect the 12-month benefits per client in USD 2021. We followed the PRISMA methodology for study selection and assessed quality using the Checklist for Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS).

Results: The databases yielded 729 studies after removing duplicates, and we ultimately selected 12 for review. Studies varied widely regarding analytical approaches, time horizons, outcome domains, and other methodological factors. Among the ten studies that found positive economic benefits, reductions in criminal activity or criminal justice costs represented the largest or second largest component of these benefits (range $621 to $193,440 per client).

Conclusions: Consistent with previous findings, a reduction in criminal activity costs is driven by the relatively high societal cost per criminal offense, notably for violent crimes, such as aggravated assault and rape/sexual assault. Accepting the economic rationale for increased investment in SUD interventions will require recognizing that more benefits accrue to individuals by avoiding being victims of a crime than to governments through budget offsets resulting from savings in non-SUD program expenses. Future studies should explore individually tailored interventions to optimize care management, which may yield unexpected economic benefits to services utilization, and criminal activity data to estimate economic benefits across a broad range of interventions.

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Three Decades of Research in Substance Use Disorder Treatment for Syringe Services Program Participants: A Scoping Review of the Literature

Journal: Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 2023, doi: 10.1186/s13722-023-00394-x

Authors: Andrea Jakubowski, Sabrina Fowler, & Aaron D. Fox


Background: Syringe services programs (SSPs) provide a spectrum of health services to people who use drugs, with many providing referral and linkage to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, and some offering co-located treatment with medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD). The objective of this study was to review the evidence for SSPs as an entry point for SUD treatment with particular attention to co-located (onsite) MOUD.

Methods: We performed a scoping review of the literature on SUD treatment for SSP participants. Our initial query in PubMed led to title and abstract screening of 3587 articles, followed by full text review of 173, leading to a final total of 51 relevant articles. Most articles fell into four categories: (1) description of SSP participants’ SUD treatment utilization; (2) interventions to link SSP participants to SUD treatment; (3) post-linkage SUD treatment outcomes; (4) onsite MOUD at SSPs.

Results: SSP participation is associated with entering SUD treatment. Barriers to treatment entry for SSP participants include: use of stimulants, lack of health insurance, residing far from treatment programs, lack of available appointments, and work or childcare responsibilities. A small number of clinical trials demonstrate that two interventions (motivational enhancement therapy with financial incentives and strength-based case management) are effective for linking SSP participants to MOUD or any SUD treatment. SSP participants who initiate MOUD reduce their substance use, risk behaviors, and have moderate retention in treatment. An increasing number of SSPs across the United States offer onsite buprenorphine treatment, and a number of single-site studies demonstrate that patients who initiate buprenorphine treatment at SSPs reduce opioid use, risk behaviors, and have similar retention in treatment to patients in office-based treatment programs.

Conclusions: SSPs can successfully refer participants to SUD treatment and deliver onsite buprenorphine treatment. Future studies should explore strategies to optimize the implementation of onsite buprenorphine. Because linkage rates were suboptimal for methadone, offering onsite methadone treatment at SSPs may be an appealing solution, but would require changes in federal regulations. In tandem with continuing to develop onsite treatment capacity, funding should support evidence-based linkage interventions and increasing accessibility, availability, affordability and acceptability of SUD treatment programs.

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Peer Activate: A Feasibility Trial of a Peer-Delivered Intervention to Decrease Disparities in Substance Use, Depression, and Linkage to Substance Use Treatment

Journal: Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 2023,

Authors: Julia W. Felton, Mary B. Kleinman, Kelly Doran, Emily N. Satinsky, Hannah Tralka, Dwayne Dean, C. J. Seitz Brown, … Jessica F. Magidson


Although effective evidence-based interventions (EBIs) exist, racial/ethnic minority individuals with lower income are less likely to have access to these interventions and may experience greater stigma in the health care system, resulting in disproportionate rates of morbidity and mortality. Peer recovery specialists (PRSs) may be uniquely suited to address barriers faced by those from impoverished areas; however, peers have not traditionally been trained in implementing EBIs. The current open-label trial (N = 8) was performed to evaluate implementation and preliminary effectiveness of an adapted EBI supporting recovery, linkage to treatment, and reduced depression. Results suggest the intervention was feasible, acceptable, and appropriate for linking individuals from a community setting to substance use treatment and could be delivered with fidelity by a peer interventionist. Participants who completed the intervention demonstrated clinically reliable decreases in substance use and depressive symptoms. Findings provide initial support for PRS dissemination of EBIs to increase linkage to care and support recovery in traditionally underserved populations.

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