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1.  Interrelationship of alcohol misuse, HIV sexual risk and HIV screening uptake among emergency department patients 
Emergency department (ED) patients comprise a high-risk population for alcohol misuse and sexual risk for HIV. In order to design future interventions to increase HIV screening uptake, we examined the interrelationship among alcohol misuse, sexual risk for HIV and HIV screening uptake among these patients.
A random sample of 18-64-year-old English- or Spanish-speaking patients at two EDs during July-August 2009 completed a self-administered questionnaire about their alcohol use using the Alcohol Use Questionnaire, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), and the HIV Sexual Risk Questionnaire. Study participants were offered a rapid HIV test after completing the questionnaires. Binging (≥ five drinks/occasion for men, ≥ four drinks for women) was assessed and sex-specific alcohol misuse severity levels (low-risk, harmful, hazardous, dependence) were calculated using AUDIT scores. Analyses were limited to participants who had sexual intercourse in the past 12 months. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the associations between HIV screening uptake and (1) alcohol misuse, (2) sexual risk for HIV, and (3) the intersection of HIV sexual risk and alcohol misuse. Adjusted odds ratios (AORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated. All models were adjusted for patient demographic characteristics and separate models for men and women were constructed.
Of 524 participants (55.0% female), 58.4% identified as white, non-Hispanic, and 72% reported previous HIV testing. Approximately 75% of participants reported drinking alcohol within the past 30 days and 74.5% of men and 59.6% of women reported binge drinking. A relationship was found between reported sexual risk for HIV and alcohol use among men (AOR 3.31 [CI 1.51-7.24]) and women (AOR 2.78 [CI 1.48-5.23]). Women who reported binge drinking were more likely to have higher reported sexual risk for HIV (AOR 2.55 [CI 1.40-4.64]) compared to women who do not report binge drinking. HIV screening uptake was not higher among those with greater alcohol misuse and sexual risk among men or women.
The apparent disconnection between HIV screening uptake and alcohol misuse and sexual risk for HIV among ED patients in this study is concerning. Brief interventions emphasizing these associations should be evaluated to reduce alcohol misuse and sexual risk and increase the uptake of ED HIV screening.
PMCID: PMC3686630  PMID: 23721108
Emergency services; Hospital; Ethanol/blood; Questionnaires; Sexual behavior risk; HIV; Intervention
2.  Benzodiazepine use during buprenorphine treatment for opioid dependence: Clinical and safety outcomes 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2013;132(3):580-586.
Prescribing benzodiazepines during buprenorphine treatment is a topic of active discussion. Clinical benefit is unclear. Overdose, accidental injury, and benzodiazepine misuse remain concerns. We examine the relationship between benzodiazepine misuse history, benzodiazepine prescription, and both clinical and safety outcomes during buprenorphine treatment.
We retrospectively examined outpatient buprenorphine treatment records, classifying patients by past-year benzodiazepine misuse history and approved benzodiazepine prescription at intake. Primary clinical outcomes included 12-month treatment retention and urine toxicology for illicit opioids. Primary safety outcomes included total emergency department (ED) visits and odds of an ED visit related to overdose or accidental injury during treatment.
The 12-month treatment retention rate for the sample (N = 328) was 40%. Neither benzodiazepine misuse history nor benzodiazepine prescription was associated with treatment retention or illicit opioid use. Poisson regressions of ED visits during buprenorphine treatment revealed more ED visits among those with a benzodiazepine prescription versus those without (p < 0.001); benzodiazepine misuse history had no effect. The odds of an accidental injury-related ED visit during treatment were greater among those with a benzodiazepine prescription (OR: 3.7, p < 0.01), with an enhanced effect among females (OR: 4.7, p < 0.01). Overdose was not associated with benzodiazepine misuse history or prescription.
We found no effect of benzodiazepine prescriptions on opioid treatment outcomes; however, benzodiazepine prescription was associated with more frequent ED visits and accidental injuries, especially among females. When prescribing benzodiazepines during buprenorphine treatment, patients need more education about accidental injury risk. Alternative treatments for anxiety should be considered when possible, especially among females.
PMCID: PMC3916951  PMID: 23688843
Buprenorphine; Opioid dependence; Benzodiazepine; Accident; Female; Utilization
3.  Sex Differences in Alcohol Misuse and Estimated Blood Alcohol Concentrations Among Emergency Department Patients: Implications for Brief Interventions 
The objective was to assess the relationship between alcohol use and misuse and patient sex among emergency department (ED) patients by comparing self-reported estimates of quantity and frequency of alcohol use; estimated blood alcohol concentrations (eBACs) when typically drinking, and during heavy episodic drinking (binging); and alcohol misuse severity, to understand sex differences in alcohol use and misuse for this population.
The authors surveyed a random sample of non-intoxicated, sub-critically ill or injured, 18 to 64 year-old English- or Spanish-speaking patients on randomly selected dates and times at two EDs during July 2009 and August 2009. Participants self-administered a questionnaire about their self-reported alcohol use during a typical month within the past 12 months, and the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Using the formulae by Matthews and Miller, sex-specific eBACs were calculated for participants according to their reported weight and the number of reported alcoholic drinks consumed on days when typically drinking, and on days of heavy episodic (binge) drinking (≥ 5 drinks/occasion for men, ≥ 4 drinks for women). Sex-specific alcohol misuse severity levels (low-risk, harmful, hazardous, and dependence) were calculated using AUDIT scores. Wilcoxon rank-sum and Pearson’s chi-square tests were used to compare outcomes by sex. Negative binomial regression was used to assess the relationship between sex and the number of drinks consumed on a typical day, the number of days spent drinking and binging, and estimated AUDIT scores. Logistic regression was used to assess the outcome of the presence of binging according to sex. Multinomial logistic regression was used to compare by sex the percentage of days spent drinking and binging in one month, eBACs when typically drinking and when binging, and AUDIT at-risk drinking levels. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and adjusted odds ratios (AORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated. All models were adjusted for patient demographic characteristics.
Of the 513 participants, 52.1% were women, 55.8% were white non-Hispanic, and their median age was 34 years (IQR 25 to 46 years). Men reported greater mean alcohol consumption than women when typically drinking (4.3 vs. 3.3 drinks per day; p < 0.001), and during heavy episodic drinking (8.6 vs. 5.3/drinks per occasion; p < 0.001). Men spent more days drinking (IRR 1.41, 95% CI = 1.19 to 1.65) and engaging in heavy episodic drinking (IRR 1.68, 95% CI = 1.31 to 2.17) than women. Additionally, men were more likely to engage in heavy episodic drinking (AOR 1.72, 95% CI = 1.16 to 2.56) than women. However, the mean eBACs for men and women were similar when typically drinking (0.05 vs. 0.06; p < 0.13) and during heavy episodic drinking (0.13 vs. 0.12; p < 0.13). Mean AUDIT scores were greater for men than women (7.5 vs. 5.3; p < 0.001), although alcohol misuse severity levels were similar between men and women (24.4% vs. 26.6% for hazardous, 2.8% vs. 2.2% for harmful, and 6.5% vs. 3.4% for dependence; p < 0.38).
Although men drink more than women, women have similar eBACs with comparable levels of alcohol misuse. Women may benefit from recognizing that they are reaching similar levels of intoxication compared to men. Addressing these differences and possible health implications in future ED brief interventions may induce changes in problematic alcohol use among women.
PMCID: PMC3424395  PMID: 22849748
4.  Benzodiazepine dependence among multidrug users in the club scene 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2011;119(1-2):99-105.
Benzodiazepines (BZs) are among the most frequently prescribed drugs with the potential for abuse. Young adults ages 18–29 report the highest rates of BZ misuse in the United States. The majority of club drug users are also in this age group, and BZ misuse is prevalent in the nightclub scene. BZ dependence, however, is not well documented. This paper examines BZ dependence and its correlates among multidrug users in South Florida’s nightclub scene.
Data were drawn from structured interviews with men and women (N=521) who reported regular attendance at large dance clubs and recent use of both club drugs and BZs.
Prevalences of BZ-related problems were 7.9% for BZ dependence, 22.6% BZ abuse, and 25% BZ abuse and/or dependence. In bivariate logistic regression models, heavy cocaine use (OR 2.27; 95% CI 1.18, 4.38), severe mental distress (OR 2.63; 95% CI 1.33, 5.21), and childhood victimization history (OR 2.43; 95% CI 1.10, 5.38) were associated with BZ dependence. Heavy cocaine use (OR 2.14; 95% CI 1.10, 4.18) and severe mental distress (OR 2.16; 95% CI 1.07, 4.37) survived as predictors in the multivariate model.
BZ misuse is widespread among multidrug users in the club scene, who also exhibit high levels of other health and social problems. BZ dependence appears to be more prevalent in this sample than in other populations described in the literature. Recommendations for intervention and additional research are described.
PMCID: PMC3205230  PMID: 21708434
benzodiazepine; young adult; club drugs; drug dependence
5.  PROSPER Community-University Partnership Delivery System Effects on Substance Misuse through 6½ Years Past Baseline from a Cluster Randomized Controlled Intervention Trial 
Preventive medicine  2012;56(0):190-196.
To examine effects of a delivery system for evidence-based preventive interventions through 12th grade, 6.5 years past baseline.
A cohort sequential design included 28 public school districts randomly assigned to the partnership delivery system or usual-programming conditions. At baseline, 11,960 students participated. Partnerships supported community teams that implemented a family-focused intervention in 6th grade and a school-based intervention in 7th grade. Outcome measures included lifetime, current misuse, and frequencies of misuse, for a range of substances. Intent-to-treat, multilevel analyses of covariance of point-in-time misuse and analyses of growth in misuse were conducted.
Results showed significantly lower substance misuse in the intervention group at one or both time points for most outcomes, with relative reduction rates of up to 31.4%. There was significantly slower growth in misuse in the intervention group for 8 of 10 outcomes. In addition, risk moderation results indicated there were significantly greater intervention benefits for higher- versus lower-risk youth, for misuse of 6 of 10 substances at 11th grade, illicit substances at 12th grade, and growth in misuse of illicit substances.
Partnership-based delivery systems for brief universal interventions have potential for public health impact by reducing substance misuse among youth, particularly higher-risk youth.
PMCID: PMC3632253  PMID: 23276777
Evidence-based; universal preventive intervention; community-university partnership model; delivery system
6.  Comparative efficacy of two primary care interventions to assist withdrawal from long term benzodiazepine use: A protocol for a clustered, randomized clinical trial 
BMC Family Practice  2011;12:23.
Although benzodiazepines are effective, long-term use is not recommended because of potential adverse effects; the risks of tolerance and dependence; and an increased risk of hip fractures, motor vehicle accidents, and memory impairment. The estimated prevalence of long-term benzodiazepine use in the general population is about 2,2 to 2,6%, is higher in women and increases steadily with age. Interventions performed by General Practitioners may help patients to discontinue long-term benzodiazepine use. We have designed a trial to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of two brief general practitioner-provided interventions, based on gradual dose reduction, and will compare the effectiveness of these interventions with that of routine clinical practice.
In a three-arm cluster randomized controlled trial, general practitioners will be randomly allocated to: a) a group in which the first patient visit will feature a structured interview, followed by visits every 2-3 weeks to the end of dose reduction; b) a group in which the first patient visit will feature a structured interview plus delivery of written instructions to self-reduce benzodiazepine dose, or c) routine care. Using a computerized pharmaceutical prescription database, 495 patients, aged 18-80 years, taking benzodiazepine for at least 6 months, will be recruited in primary care health districts of three regions of Spain (the Balearic Islands, Catalonia, and Valencia). The primary outcome will be benzodiazepine use at 12 months. The secondary outcomes will include measurements of anxiety and depression symptoms, benzodiazepine dependence, quality of sleep, and alcohol consumption.
Although some interventions have been shown to be effective in reducing benzodiazepine consumption by long-term users, the clinical relevance of such interventions is limited by their complexity. This randomized trial will compare the effectiveness and safety of two complex stepped care interventions with that of routine care in a study with sufficient statistical power to detect clinically relevant differences.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials: ISRCTN13024375
PMCID: PMC3105938  PMID: 21507257
7.  Risk of future trauma based on alcohol screening scores: A two-year prospective cohort study among US veterans 
Severe alcohol misuse as measured by the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test–Consumption (AUDIT-C) is associated with increased risk of future fractures and trauma-related hospitalizations. This study examined the association between AUDIT-C scores and two-year risk of any type of trauma among US Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients and assessed whether risk varied by age or gender.
Outpatients (215, 924 male and 9168 female) who returned mailed AUDIT-C questionnaires were followed for 24 months in the medical record for any International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-9) code related to trauma. The two-year prevalence of trauma was examined as a function of AUDIT-C scores, with low-level drinking (AUDIT-C 1–4) as the reference group. Men and women were examined separately, and age-stratified analyses were performed.
Having an AUDIT-C score of 9–12 (indicating severe alcohol misuse) was associated with increased risk for trauma. Mean (SD) ages for men and women were 68.2 (11.5) and 57.2 (15.8), respectively. Age-stratified analyses showed that, for men ≤50 years, those with AUDIT-C scores ≥9 had an increased risk for trauma compared with those with AUDIT-C scores in the 1–4 range (adjusted prevalence, 25.7% versus 20.8%, respectively; OR = 1.24; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03–1.50). For men ≥65 years with average comorbidity and education, those with AUDIT-C scores of 5–8 (adjusted prevalence, 7.9% versus 7.4%; OR = 1.16; 95% CI, 1.02–1.31) and 9–12 (adjusted prevalence 11.1% versus 7.4%; OR = 1.68; 95% CI, 1.30–2.17) were at significantly increased risk for trauma compared with men ≥65 years in the reference group. Higher AUDIT-C scores were not associated with increased risk of trauma among women.
Men with severe alcohol misuse (AUDIT-C 9–12) demonstrate an increased risk of trauma. Men ≥65 showed an increased risk for trauma at all levels of alcohol misuse (AUDIT-C 5–8 and 9–12). These findings may be used as part of an evidence-based brief intervention for alcohol use disorders. More research is needed to understand the relationship between AUDIT-C scores and risk of trauma in women.
PMCID: PMC3414833  PMID: 22966411
Alcohol; Trauma; Fracture; AUDIT-C; Age; Gender; Screening; Women
8.  Prevalence and Correlates of Prescription Drug Misuse among Socially Active Young Adults 
Prescription drug misuse represents an emerging global drug trend. Data indicate that young adults are misusing prescription drugs at high rates. As such, continued surveillance of the patterns of prescription drug misuse among young adults is critical, particularly for those engaged in social scenes known to accommodate drug use.
Prevalence and correlates of lifetime and recent prescription drug misuse among urban young adults recruited at nightlife venues using time-space sampling are assessed via prevalence estimates and logistic regression analyses.
In a diverse sample of 1,207 young adults, 44.1% reported lifetime prescription drug misuse, and 20.3% reported misuse during the past three months. Stimulants were the most common class of drug respondents misused within the past six months (16.7%), followed by pain killers (16.5%) and sedatives (14.5%). While no gender or sexual orientation differences in misuse prevalence existed, Black youth reported the lowest prevalence of misuse. In multivariate analyses, increased age was associated with lower odds of recent misuse, females report lower odds of recent use, and Black, Asian, and Latino individuals had lower odds of recent misuse than Whites. These odds varied by prescription drug type. Negative binomial regression analyses indicate that, among prescription drug misusers, women misuse prescription drugs less frequently. Younger individuals more frequently misuse stimulants and older individuals more frequently misuse sedatives. Racial variation existed with frequency of use across classes.
This study illustrates the need for health promotion efforts targeting prescription drug misuse among young adults who are highly socially active. Future research should focus on motivations for and factors associated with prescription drug misuse within youth cultures. Further research may provide a fuller sense of how to reduce the impact of prescription drug misuse for nations whose prescription drug problem lags behind that of the U.S.
PMCID: PMC3546267  PMID: 23036649
prescription drugs; youth culture; young adults; nightlife
9.  Alcohol Misuse and Multiple Sexual Partners 
We examine the association between self-reported alcohol misuse and alcohol use within 2 hours of having sex and the number of sexual partners among a sample of African-American and Latino emergency department (ED) patients.
Cross-sectional data were collected prospectively from a randomized sample of all ED patients during a 5-week period. In face-to-face interviews, subjects were asked to report their alcohol use and number of sexual partners in the past 12 months. Data were analyzed using multiple variable negative binomial regression models, and effect modification was assessed through inclusion of interaction terms.
The 395 study participants reported an average of 1.4 (standard error = 0.11) sexual partners in the past 12 months, 23% reported misusing alcohol, and 28% reported consuming alcohol before sex. There was no statistically significant association between alcohol misuse and the number of sexual partners; however, alcohol before sex was associated with a larger number of sexual partners in the past year. Moreover, among those who misused alcohol, participants who reported alcohol before sex were 3 times more likely to report a higher number of sexual partners (risk ratio = 3.2; confidence interval [CI] =1.9–5.6). The association between alcohol use before sex and number of sexual partners is dependent upon whether a person has attributes of harmful drinking over the past 12 months. Overall, alcohol use before sex increases the number of sexual partners, but the magnitude of this effect is significantly increased among alcohol misusers.
Alcohol misusers and those who reported having more than 1 sexual partner were more likely to cluster in the same group, ie, those who used alcohol before sex. Efforts to reduce the burden of sexually transmitted diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus, and other consequences of risky sexual behavior in the ED population should be cognizant of the interplay of alcohol and risky sexual behaviors. EDs should strive to institute a system for regular screening, brief intervention, and referral of at-risk patients to reduce negative consequences of alcohol misuse, including those of risky sexual behaviors.
PMCID: PMC3415802  PMID: 22900104
10.  Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Violence During Pregnancy and Postpartum 
This longitudinal investigation examined potential risk factors for intimate partner violence (IPV) among women during pregnancy and 6 weeks postpartum.
A sample of 180 pregnant women was collected in order to investigate 1) whether associations between partner alcohol misuse, partner jealousy, partner suspicion of infidelity, and stress were associated with IPV victimization, 2) the indirect effects of alcohol misuse on these relationships, and 3) factors related to changes in IPV victimization over time.
At baseline, partner alcohol misuse was associated with each type of IPV victimization and the combination of partner alcohol misuse, partner jealousy, and partner suspicion of infidelity was most strongly associated with severe physical victimization. Partner alcohol misuse mediated the relationship between partner jealousy and psychological and severe physical victimization. At follow-up, partner jealousy and stress were related to women’s psychological victimization and partner alcohol misuse was related to women’s severe physical victimization.
Findings suggest that partner alcohol misuse is a risk factor for women’s IPV victimization during pregnancy and jealousy and stress may increase risk for some types of IPV. Findings also suggest that intervention should target parents early in pregnancy in order to reduce the risk for future IPV.
PMCID: PMC3547143  PMID: 23053216
intimate partner violence; pregnancy; alcohol misuse
11.  Substance Misuse Treatment for High Risk Chronic Pain Patients on Opioid Therapy: A Randomized Trial 
Pain  2010;150(3):390-400.
Chronic pain patients who show aberrant drug-related behavior often are discontinued from treatment when they are noncompliant with their use of opioids for pain. The purpose of this study was to conduct a randomized trial in patients prescribed opioids for noncancer back pain who showed risk potential for or demonstration of opioid misuse to see if close monitoring and cognitive behavioral substance misuse counseling could increase overall compliance with opioids. Forty two patients meeting criteria for high risk for opioid misuse were randomized to either standard control (High-Risk Control; N=21) or experimental compliance treatment consisting of monthly urine screens, compliance checklists, and individual and group motivational counseling (High-Risk Experimental; N=21). Twenty patients who met criteria indicating low potential for misuse were recruited to a low-risk control group (Low-Risk Control). Patients were followed for 6 months and completed pre- and post-study questionnaires and monthly electronic diaries. Outcomes consisted of the percent with a positive Drug Misuse Index (DMI), which was a composite score of self-reported drug misuse (Prescription Drug Use Questionnaire), physician-reported abuse behavior (Addiction Behavior Checklist), and abnormal urine toxicology results. Significant differences were found between groups with 73.7 % of the High-Risk Control patients demonstrating positive scores on the DMI compared with 26.3% from the High-Risk Experimental group and 25.0% from the Low-Risk Controls (p<0.05). The results of this study demonstrate support for the benefits of a brief behavioral intervention in the management of opioid compliance among chronic back pain patient at high-risk for prescription opioid misuse.
PMCID: PMC2910796  PMID: 20334973
substance misuse; chronic pain; opioid therapy; motivational counseling; addiction disorder
12.  Screening and brief interventions for hazardous and harmful alcohol use among patients with active tuberculosis attending primary public care clinics in South Africa: results from a cluster randomized controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:699.
In 2008 the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that South Africa had the highest tuberculosis (TB) incidence in the world. This high incidence rate is linked to a number of factors, including HIV co-infection and alcohol use disorders. The diagnosis and treatment package for TB and HIV co-infection is relatively well established in South Africa. However, because alcohol use disorders may present more insidiously, making it difficult to diagnose, those patients with active TB and misusing alcohol are not easily cured from TB. With this in mind, the primary purpose of this cluster randomized controlled trial was to provide screening for alcohol misuse and to test the effectiveness of brief interventions in reducing alcohol intake in those patients with active TB found to be misusing alcohol in primary public health care clinics in three districts in South Africa.
Within each of the three provinces targeted, one district with the highest TB burden was selected. Furthermore, 14 primary health care facilities with the highest TB caseload in each district were selected. In each district, 7 of the 14 (50%) clinics were randomly assigned to a control arm and another 7 of the 14 (50%) clinics assigned to intervention arm. At the clinic level systematic sampling was used to recruit newly diagnosed and retreatment TB patients. Those consenting were screened for alcohol misuse using the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT). Patients who screened positive for alcohol misuse over a 6-month period were given either a brief intervention based on the Information-Motivation-Behavioural Skills (IMB) Model or an alcohol use health education leaflet.
Of the 4882 tuberculosis patients screened for alcohol and agreed to participate in the trial, 1196 (24.6%) tested positive for the AUDIT. Among the 853 (71%) patients who also attended the 6-month follow-up session, the frequency of positive screening results at baseline/follow-up were 100/21.2% for the AUDIT (P < 0.001) for the control group and 100/16.8% (P < 0.001) for the intervention group. The intervention effect on the AUDIT score was statistically not significant. The intervention effect was also not significant for hazardous or harmful drinkers and alcohol dependent drinkers (AUDIT: 7–40), alcohol dependent drinkers and heavy episodic drinking, while the control group effect was significant for hazardous drinkers (AUDIT: 7–19) (P = 0.035).
The results suggest that alcohol screening and the provision of a health education leaflet on sensible drinking performed at the beginning of anti-tuberculosis treatment in public primary care settings may be effective in reducing alcohol consumption.
Trial registrations
PMCID: PMC3733870  PMID: 23902931
13.  Drug and alcohol referrals: are elderly substance abuse diagnoses and referrals being missed? 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1994;308(6926):444-446.
OBJECTIVE--To examine the diagnosis of problem substance use in hospital inpatients aged 65 years and over and their referral to drug and alcohol services by medical staff. DESIGN--Questionnaire to registrars or house officers caring for patients 65 years of age and over with problem substance use. SETTING--3 hospitals in New South Wales, Australia. SUBJECTS--Medical staff caring for 263 inpatients. RESULTS--Medical staff did not recognise substance misuse in older hospital patients and did not seem to be aware of current recommendations of the National Health and Medical Research Council recommendations for safe use of alcohol and benzodiazepines. Three out of 88 problem users of benzodiazepines, 29 out of 76 smokers, and 33 out of 99 problem drinkers were identified by medical staff. Of those identified with problems, 2 benzodiazepine users, 6 smokers, and 19 drinkers were considered for referral to drug and alcohol services. CONCLUSIONS--Greater awareness of recommendations for dealing with problem use of benzodiazepines and alcohol needs to be promoted among medical staff, along with an increased emphasis in medical education on substance use as a potentially important problem for older people. Drug and alcohol services also need to promote a broader role, particularly in regard to early intervention in a hospital setting for older patients.
PMCID: PMC2539506  PMID: 8124174
14.  Sex differences among recipients of benzodiazepines in Dutch general practice. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1993;307(6900):363-366.
OBJECTIVE--To analyse sex differences among recipients of benzodiazepines in Dutch general practice. DESIGN--Study of consultations and associated interventions as recorded in the Dutch national survey of general practice. SETTING--Practices of 45 general practitioners monitored during 1 April to 30 June 1987. SUBJECTS--61,249 patients (29,035 (47.4%) men in the age groups 19-44, 45-64, and 65 years and over. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Symptoms among recipients of repeat as well as new benzodiazepine prescriptions stratified by sex and age. RESULTS--Prescriptions for benzodiazepines were found to be significantly more common among women than among men, (a) after correcting for the sex distribution of the total patient population, and (b) in the two oldest age groups after correcting for the number of consultations. Of all prescriptions for benzodiazepines, 89% (6055/6777) were repeats and 70% (4759/6777) requests. Only 9% (439/4759) of these were authorized by the general practitioner, the rest being issued by the general practitioner's assistant after he or she had referred to the diagnosis in the patient's record. In contrast, only three (1%) of the 492 first time recipients of benzodiazepines had requested a prescription and were not seen by the general practitioner. Women (43/96; 45%) aged 45-64 years received their first prescription for benzodiazepines almost twice as often as men (15/63; 24%) without symptoms or a diagnosis being an indication (female to male relative risk 1.88 (95% confidence interval 1.15 to 3.08)). CONCLUSIONS--The sex difference among first time recipients of benzodiazepines seems to be due to general practitioners being less stringent when prescribing this drug for women. The difference continues in repeat prescriptions, physicians failing to check adequately the need for these.
PMCID: PMC1678235  PMID: 8104066
15.  Prevalence of Substance Misuse in New Patients in an Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic Using a Prescription Monitoring Program 
Objective: To investigate the value of a prescription monitoring program in identifying prescription drug misuse among patients presenting to a resident physician outpatient psychiatry clinic at an academic medical center.
Method: Participants were 314 new patients aged 18 years or older presenting to the clinic from October 2011 to June 2012. Resident physicians completed a data collection form for each participant using information from the patient interview and from the prescription monitoring program report. Prescription drug misuse was defined as having any 1 of the following 5 criteria in the prescription monitoring program report: (1) filled prescriptions for 2 or more controlled substances, (2) obtained prescriptions from 2 or more providers, (3) obtained early refills, (4) used 3 or more pharmacies, and (5) the prescription monitoring program report conflicted with the patient’s report.
Results: At least 1 indicator of prescription drug misuse was found in 41.7% of patients. Over 69% of the patients that the residents believed were misusing prescription drugs actually met 1 of the criteria for prescription drug misuse. The prescription monitoring program report changed the management only 2.2% of the time. Patients with prior benzodiazepine use (χ21 = 17.68, P < .001), prior opioid use (χ21 = 19.98, P < .001), a personality disorder (χ21 = 7.22, P < .001), and chronic pain (χ21 = 14.31, P < .001) had a higher percentage of prescription drug misuse compared to patients without these factors.
Conclusion: Using the prescription monitoring program to screen patients with prior benzodiazepine and opioid use, with a personality disorder, and/or with chronic pain may be useful in confirming the suspicion of prescription drug misuse identified at the initial evaluation.
PMCID: PMC4048139  PMID: 24940523
16.  Estimating Risk of Alcohol Dependence Using Alcohol Screening Scores* 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2009;108(1-2):29-36.
Brief alcohol counseling interventions can reduce alcohol consumption and related morbidity among non-dependent risky drinkers, but more intensive alcohol treatment is recommended for persons with alcohol dependence. This study evaluated whether scores on common alcohol screening tests could identify patients likely to have current alcohol dependence so that more appropriate follow-up assessment and/or intervention could be offered. This cross-sectional study used secondary data from 392 male and 927 female adult family medicine outpatients (1993–1994). Likelihood ratios were used to empirically identify and evaluate ranges of scores of the AUDIT, the AUDIT-C, two single-item questions about frequency of binge drinking, and the CAGE questionnaire for detecting DSM-IV past-year alcohol dependence. Based on the prevalence of past-year alcohol dependence in this sample (men: 12.2%; women: 5.8%), zones of the AUDIT and AUDIT-C identified wide variability in the post-screening risk of alcohol dependence in men and women, even among those who screened positive for alcohol misuse. Among men, AUDIT zones 5–10, 11–14 and 15–40 were associated with post-screening probabilities of past-year alcohol dependence ranging from 18–87%, and AUDIT-C zones 5–6, 7–9 and 10–12 were associated with probabilities ranging from 22–75%. Among women, AUDIT zones 3–4, 5–8, 9–12 and 13–40 were associated with post-screening probabilities of past-year alcohol dependence ranging from 6–94%, and AUDIT-C zones 3, 4–6, 7–9 and 10–12 were associated with probabilities ranging from 9–88%. AUDIT or AUDIT-C scores could be used to estimate the probability of past-year alcohol dependence among patients who screen positive for alcohol misuse and inform clinical decision-making.
PMCID: PMC2835806  PMID: 20042299
Alcohol dependence; alcohol screening; stratum specific likelihood ratio; risk stratification; assessment; treatment
17.  Benzodiazepine Use and Misuse Among Patients in a Methadone Program 
BMC Psychiatry  2011;11:90.
Benzodiazepines (BZD) misuse is a serious public health problem, especially among opiate-dependent patients with anxiety enrolled in methadone program because it puts patients at higher risk of life-threatening multiple drug overdoses. Both elevated anxiety and BZD misuse increase the risk for ex-addicts to relapse. However, there is no recent study to assess how serious the problem is and what factors are associated with BZD misuse. This study estimates the prevalence of BZD misuse in a methadone program, and provides information on the characteristics of BZD users compared to non-users.
An anonymous survey was carried out at a methadone program in Baltimore, MD, and all patients were invited to participate through group meetings and fliers around the clinic on a voluntary basis. Of the 205 returned questionnaires, 194 were complete and entered into final data analysis. Those who completed the questionnaire were offered a $5 gift card as an appreciation.
47% of the respondents had a history of BZD use, and 39.8% used BZD without a prescription. Half of the BZD users (54%) started using BZD after entering the methadone program, and 61% of previous BZD users reported increased or resumed use after entering methadone program. Compared to the non-users, BZD users were more likely to be White, have prescribed medication for mental problems, have preexistent anxiety problems before opiate use, and had anxiety problems before entering methadone program. They reported more mental health problems in the past month, and had higher scores in anxiety state, depression and perceived stress (p < .05).
Important information on epidemiology of BZD misuse among methadone-maintenance patients suggests that most methadone programs do not address co-occurring anxiety problems, and methadone treatment may trigger onset or worsening of BZD misuse. Further study is needed to explore how to curb misuse and abuse of BZD in the addiction population, and provide effective treatments targeting simultaneously addiction symptoms, anxiety disorders and BZD misuse.
PMCID: PMC3117775  PMID: 21595945
Benzodiazepines use; prescription drug misuse; methadone program; anxiety; survey study
18.  Longitudinal Effects of Universal Preventive Intervention on Prescription Drug Misuse: Three RCTs with Late Adolescents and Young Adults 
American journal of public health  2013;103(4):665-672.
Examine long-term prescription drug misuse outcomes from three RCTs of brief universal preventive interventions conducted during middle school.
Study 1 tested the Iowa Strengthening Families Program (ISFP); 22 schools participated, with pretesting at grade 6 (1993) and outcomes measured at age 25. Study 2 evaluated a revised ISFP, renamed Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10–14—SFP 10–14, plus the school-based Life Skills Training (SFP 10–14 + LST); 24 schools participated, with pretesting at grade 7 (1998) and outcomes at ages 21–25. Study 3 examined SFP 10–14 plus one of three school-based interventions selected from a menu (SFP 10–14 + School Program); 28 schools participated, with pretesting at grade 6 (2002) and outcomes at 12th grade. Self-reported outcomes were Prescription Opioid Misuse (POM) and Lifetime Prescription Drug Misuse Overall (PDMO).
Study 1: ISFP showed significant effects on POM and PDMO, Relative Reduction Rates (RRRs) of 65%, and comparable benefits for higher- and lower-risk subgroups. Study 2: SFP 10–14 + LST showed significant or marginally-significant effects on POM/PDMO across all ages; higher-risk participants showed stronger effects (RRRs 43–79%). Study 3: significant results were found for POM/PDMO (RRRs 20–21%); higher-risk and lower-risk participants showed comparable outcomes.
Brief universal interventions have potential for public health impact by reducing prescription drug misuse among adolescents and young adults.
PMCID: PMC3673263  PMID: 23409883
Universal preventive intervention; prescription drug misuse; public health benefits
19.  A primary care, multi-disciplinary disease management program for opioid-treated patients with chronic non-cancer pain and a high burden of psychiatric comorbidity 
Chronic non-cancer pain is a common problem that is often accompanied by psychiatric comorbidity and disability. The effectiveness of a multi-disciplinary pain management program was tested in a 3 month before and after trial.
Providers in an academic general medicine clinic referred patients with chronic non-cancer pain for participation in a program that combined the skills of internists, clinical pharmacists, and a psychiatrist. Patients were either receiving opioids or being considered for opioid therapy. The intervention consisted of structured clinical assessments, monthly follow-up, pain contracts, medication titration, and psychiatric consultation. Pain, mood, and function were assessed at baseline and 3 months using the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale scale (CESD) and the Pain Disability Index (PDI). Patients were monitored for substance misuse.
Eighty-five patients were enrolled. Mean age was 51 years, 60% were male, 78% were Caucasian, and 93% were receiving opioids. Baseline average pain was 6.5 on an 11 point scale. The average CESD score was 24.0, and the mean PDI score was 47.0. Sixty-three patients (73%) completed 3 month follow-up. Fifteen withdrew from the program after identification of substance misuse. Among those completing 3 month follow-up, the average pain score improved to 5.5 (p = 0.003). The mean PDI score improved to 39.3 (p < 0.001). Mean CESD score was reduced to 18.0 (p < 0.001), and the proportion of depressed patients fell from 79% to 54% (p = 0.003). Substance misuse was identified in 27 patients (32%).
A primary care disease management program improved pain, depression, and disability scores over three months in a cohort of opioid-treated patients with chronic non-cancer pain. Substance misuse and depression were common, and many patients who had substance misuse identified left the program when they were no longer prescribed opioids. Effective care of patients with chronic pain should include rigorous assessment and treatment of these comorbid disorders and intensive efforts to insure follow up.
PMCID: PMC546203  PMID: 15649331
20.  Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Clusters, Alcohol Misuse, and Women's Use of Intimate Partner Violence Associated with their Victimization 
Journal of traumatic stress  2013;26(4):451-458.
Exploring the relationships among PTSD, alcohol misuse, and women's use of intimate partner violence (IPV) is vital to develop our understanding of the etiologies of women's use of IPV, which can serve to maximize intervention efforts for women. This study examined the extent to which posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom clusters are directly and indirectly related to women's use of IPV through pathways involving alcohol misuse while controlling for severity of women's IPV victimization. The sample was comprised of substance using, low socioeconomic status community women (n = 143) currently experiencing IPV victimization. The majority of the sample was African American (n = 115, 80.42%). This sample had a mean annual household income of $14,368.68 (SD = $12,800.68) and the equivalent of a high school education (11.94 years, SD = 1.32). Path analyses indicated that the strongest statistical relationship emerged between women's use of IPV and women's IPV victimization. PTSD re-experiencing and numbing symptom severity were related to women's use of psychological, minor physical, and severe physical IPV, however these relationships were indirect through alcohol misuse. Findings lend preliminary support for the application of the self-medication hypothesis to the study of PTSD, alcohol misuse, and IPV among women.
PMCID: PMC3981454  PMID: 23868671
Traumatic stress; alcohol use; physical abuse; psychological abuse; women's aggression
21.  Capture-recapture estimates of problem drug use and the use of simulation based confidence intervals in a stratified analysis 
Study objective: To establish the prevalence of problem drug use in the 10 local authorities within the Metropolitan County of Greater Manchester between April 2000 and March 2001.
Setting and participants: Problem drug users aged 16–54 resident within Greater Manchester who attended community based statutory drug treatment agencies, were in contact with general practitioners, were assessed by arrest referral workers, were in contact with the probation service, or arrested under the Misuse of Drugs Act for offences involving possession of opioids, cocaine, or benzodiazepines.
Design: Multi-sample stratified capture-recapture analysis. Patterns of overlaps between data sources were modelled in a log-linear regression to estimate the hidden number of drug users within each of 60 area, age group, and gender strata. Simulation methods were used to generate 95% confidence intervals for the sums of the stratified estimates.
Main results: The total number of problem drug users in Greater Manchester was estimated to be 19 255 giving a prevalence of problem drug use of 13.7 (95% CI 13.4 to 15.7) per 1000 population aged 16–54. The ratio of men to women was 3.5:1. The distribution of problem drug users varied across three age groups (16–24, 25–34, and 35–54) and varied between the 10 areas.
Conclusions: Areas in close geographical proximity display different patterns of drug use in terms of prevalence rates and age and gender patterns. This has important implications, both for future planning of service provision and for the way in which the impact of drug misuse interventions are evaluated.
PMCID: PMC1732890  PMID: 15310802
22.  Screening and brief interventions for hazardous and harmful alcohol use among hospital outpatients in South Africa: results from a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:644.
High prevalence rates of hazardous and harmful alcohol use have been found in a hospital outpatient setting in South Africa. Hospital settings are a particularly valuable point of contact for the delivery of brief interventions because of the large access to patient populations each year. With this in mind, the primary purpose of this randomized controlled trial is to provide screening for alcohol misuse and to test the effectiveness of brief interventions in reducing alcohol intake among hospital outpatients in South Africa.
The study design for this effectiveness study is a randomized controlled trial with 6- and 12-month follow-ups to examine the effects of a brief alcohol intervention to reduce alcohol use by hazardous or harmful drinkers in a hospital setting. Outpatients were screened for alcohol problems, and those identified as hazardous or harmful drinkers were randomized into an experimental or control group. The experimental group received one brief counselling session on alcohol risk reduction, while the control group received a health education leaflet.
Of the 1419 screened for alcohol misuse who agreed to participate in the trial 392 (27.6%) screened positive for hazardous or harmful use on the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) (score 7/8-19) and 51 (3.6%) had an AUDIT score of 20 or more. Among the 282 (72%) hospital outpatients who also attended the 12-month follow-up session, the time effects on the AUDIT scores were significant [F (1,195 = 7.72), P < 0.01] but the intervention effect on the AUDIT score was statistically not significant [F (1,194 = 0.06), P < 0.804].
Given the lack of difference in outcome between control and intervention group, alcohol screening and the provision of an alcohol health education leaflet may in itself cause reduction in drinking.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3849548  PMID: 23844552
23.  Brief Motivational Interviewing Intervention for Peer Violence and Alcohol Use in Teens: One-Year Follow-up 
Pediatrics  2012;129(6):1083-1090.
Emergency department (ED) visits present an opportunity to deliver brief interventions (BIs) to reduce violence and alcohol misuse among urban adolescents at risk for future injury. Previous analyses demonstrated that a BI resulted in reductions in violence and alcohol consequences up to 6 months. This article describes findings examining the efficacy of BIs on peer violence and alcohol misuse at 12 months.
Patients (14–18 years of age) at an ED reporting past year alcohol use and aggression were enrolled in the randomized control trial, which included computerized assessment, random assignment to control group or BI delivered by a computer or therapist assisted by a computer. The main outcome measures (at baseline and 12 months) included violence (peer aggression, peer victimization, violence-related consequences) and alcohol (alcohol misuse, binge drinking, alcohol-related consequences).
A total of 3338 adolescents were screened (88% participation). Of those, 726 screened positive for violence and alcohol use and were randomly selected; 84% completed 12-month follow-up. In comparison with the control group, the therapist assisted by a computer group showed significant reductions in peer aggression (P < .01) and peer victimization (P < .05) at 12 months. BI and control groups did not differ on alcohol-related variables at 12 months.
Evaluation of the SafERteens intervention 1 year after an ED visit provides support for the efficacy of computer-assisted therapist brief intervention for reducing peer violence.
PMCID: PMC4074654  PMID: 22614776
adolescents; youth violence; alcohol; emergency department
24.  The role of alcohol misuse on PTSD outcomes for women in community treatment: A secondary analysis of NIDA’s Women and Trauma study 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2010;111(1-2):114-119.
Individuals with comorbid substance use and posttraumatic stress disorder may differentially benefit from integrated trauma-focused interventions based on specific presenting characteristics such as substance use type and PTSD severity. The current study is a secondary analysis of a NIDA Clinical Trials Network study exploring the effectiveness of two interventions for women with comorbid PTSD and substance use disorders.
Generalized estimating equations were used to examine the effect of baseline alcohol misuse on PTSD outcome measures over time for all randomized participants.
Women entering treatment with baseline alcohol misuse had higher Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale (PSS-SR) total scores (t = 2.43, p < .05), cluster C (avoidance/numbing) scores (t = 2.63, p < .01), and cluster D (hyper-arousal) scores (t = 2.31, p < .05). For women with alcohol misuse, after treatment week one, PSS-SR scores were significantly lower in the Seeking Safety intervention during treatment (χ2(1) = 4.00, p < .05) and follow-up (χ2(1) = 4.87, p < .05) compared to those in the health education intervention. Alcohol misusers in the Seeking Safety group who had higher baseline hyper-arousal severity improved more quickly than those with lower baseline hyper-arousal severity during treatment (χ2(1) = 4.06, p < .05).
These findings suggest that the type of substance abuse at treatment entry may inform treatment selection, predict treatment response among those with co-occurring PTSD and substance use disorders, and indicate a more severe clinical picture.
PMCID: PMC2981092  PMID: 20537811
Posttraumatic Stress; Substance Abuse; Alcohol Misuse; Co-morbidity; Cognitive-behavioral Therapy
25.  Screening and brief interventions for hazardous and harmful alcohol use among patients with active tuberculosis attending primary care clinics in South Africa: a cluster randomized controlled trial protocol 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:394.
In 2008 the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that South Africa had the highest tuberculosis (TB) incidence in the world. This high incidence rate is linked to a number of factors, including HIV co-infection and alcohol use disorders. The diagnosis and treatment package for TB and HIV co-infection is relatively well established in South Africa. However, because alcohol use disorders may present more insidiously, making it difficult to diagnose, those patients with active TB and misusing alcohol are not easily cured from TB. With this in mind, the primary purpose of this cluster randomized controlled trial is to provide screening for alcohol misuse and to test the efficacy of brief interventions in reducing alcohol intake in those patients with active TB found to be misusing alcohol in primary health care clinics in three provinces in South Africa.
Within each of the three selected health districts with the highest TB burden in South Africa, 14 primary health care clinics with the highest TB caseloads will be selected. Those agreeing to participate will be stratified according to TB treatment caseload and the type of facility (clinic or community health centre). Within strata from 14 primary care facilities, 7 will be randomly selected into intervention and 7 to control study clinics (42 clinics, 21 intervention clinics and 21 control clinics). At the clinic level systematic sampling will be used to recruit newly diagnosed TB patients. Those consenting will be screened for alcohol misuse using the AUDIT. Patients who screen positive for alcohol misuse over a 6-month period will be given either a brief intervention based on the Information-Motivation-Behavioural Skills (IMB) Model or an alcohol use health education leaflet.
A total sample size of 520 is expected.
The trial will evaluate the impact of alcohol screening and brief interventions for patients with active TB in primary care settings in South Africa. The findings will impact public health and will enable the health ministry to formulate policy related to comprehensive treatment for TB and alcohol misuse, which will result in reduction in alcohol use and ultimately improve the TB cure rates.
Trial registration number
PACTR: PACTR201105000297151
PMCID: PMC3120685  PMID: 21615934

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