Among patients receiving methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) for opioid dependence, receipt of unobserved dosing privileges (take homes) and adequate doses (i.e. ≥ 80mg) are each associated with improved addiction treatment outcomes, but the association with acute care hospitalization is unknown. We studied whether take-home dosing and adequate doses (i.e. ≥ 80 mg) were associated with decreased hospital admission among patients in a MMT program.
We reviewed daily electronic medical records of patients enrolled in one MMT program to determine receipt of take home doses, methadone dose ≥ 80mg and hospital admission date. Non-linear mixed effects logistic regression models were used to evaluate whether take home doses or dose ≥ 80mg on a given day were associated with hospital admission on the subsequent day. Covariates in adjusted models included age, gender, race/ethnicity, HIV status, medical illness, mental illness, and polysubstance use at program admission.
Subjects (n=138) had the following characteristics: mean age 43 years; 52% female; 17% HIV-infected; 32% medical illness; 40% mental illness; and 52% polysubstance use. During a mean follow-up of 20 months, 42 patients (30%) accounted for 80 hospitalizations. Receipt of take homes was associated with significantly lower odds of a hospital admission (AOR 0.26; 95%CI: 0.11-0.62), whereas methadone dose ≥ 80mg was not (AOR 1.01; 95% CI: 0.56-1.83).
Among MMT patients, receipt of take homes, but not dose of methadone, was associated with decreased hospital admission. Take home status may reflect not only patients’ improved addiction outcomes, but also reduced healthcare utilization.
Methadone maintenance treatment; dose; take home status; hospital admission
This paper assesses the associations between intimate partner violence (IPV) and STIs and sexual risks among HIV-positive female drinkers in St. Petersburg, Russia. Survey and STI data were analyzed from 285 women in HERMITAGE, a secondary prevention study with HIV-positive heavy drinkers. Logistic and Poisson regression analyses assessed associations of IPV with STI and risky sex. Most women (78%) experienced IPV and 19% were STI-positive; 15% sold sex. IPV was not significantly associated with STI, but was with selling sex (AOR=3.56, 95% CI=1.02–12.43). In conclusion, IPV is common and associated with sex trade involvement among Russian HIV-positive female drinkers.
Russia; sex work; substance use; HIV-positive; sexually transmitted infections (STI); intimate partner violence (IPV)
The study aim was to assess whether HCV was associated with painful symptoms among patients with HIV. Using data from a prospective cohort of HIV-infected adults with alcohol problems we assessed the effects of HCV on pain that interfered with daily living and painful symptoms (muscle/joint pain, headache and peripheral neuropathy). Exploratory analyses assessed whether depressive symptoms and inflammatory cytokines mediated the relationship between HCV and pain. HCV-infected participants (n=200) had higher odds of pain that interfered with daily living over time (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.43; 95% CI 1.02 to 2.01; p=0.04) compared to those not infected with HCV. HIV/HCV co-infected participants had higher odds of muscle or joint pain (AOR 1.45; 95% CI 1.06 to 1.97; p=0.02) and headache (AOR 1.57; 95% CI: 1.18 to 2.07; p<0.01). The association between HCV and peripheral neuropathy did not reach statistical significance (AOR 1.33; 0.96 to 1.85; p=0.09). Depressive symptoms and inflammatory cytokines did not appear to mediate the relationship between HCV and pain. Adults with HIV who are also co-infected with HCV are more likely to experience pain that interfered with daily living, muscle or joint pain, and headaches compared to those not co-infected. Research is needed to explore the association between HCV infection and pain, and to determine whether HCV treatment is an effective intervention.
Pain; hepatitis C; cytokines; symptoms; peripheral neuropathy
A prospective cohort study to identify factors associated with receipt of substance abuse treatment (SAT) among adults with alcohol problems and HIV/AIDS. Data from the Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Longitudinal Interrelationships of Viruses and Ethanol (HIV-LIVE) study were analyzed. Generalized estimating equation logistic regression models were fit to identify factors associated with any service utilization. An alcohol dependence diagnosis had a negative association with SAT (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.36; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 0.19, 0.67), as did identifying as a sexual orientation other than heterosexual (AOR = 0.46; CI = 0.29, 0.72), and having social supports that use alcohol/drugs (AOR = 0.62; CI = 0.45, 0.83). Positive associations with SAT include: presence of hepatitis C antibody (AOR = 3.37; CI = 2.24, 5.06), physical or sexual abuse (AOR = 2.12; CI = 1.22, 3.69), social supports that help with sobriety (AOR = 1.92; CI = 1.28, 2.87), homelessness (AOR = 2.40; CI = 1.60, 3.62) drug dependence diagnosis (AOR = 2.64; CI = 1.88, 3.70), and clinically important depressive symptoms (AOR = 1.52, CI = 1.08, 2.15). While reassuring that factors indicating need for SAT among people with HIV and alcohol problems (e.g. drug dependence) are associated with receipt, non-need factors (e.g. sexual orientation, age) that should not decrease likelihood of receipt of treatment were identified.
Substance abuse; treatment; addiction; HIV/AIDS; alcohol
In primary care (PC), patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are often undiagnosed. To determine variables associated with treatment, this cross-sectional study assessed 592 adult patients for PTSD. Electronic medical record (EMR) review of the prior 12 months assessed mental health (MH) diagnoses and MH treatments (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and/or ≥1 visit with a MH professional). Of 133 adults with PTSD, half (49%; 66/133) received an SSRI (18%), a visit with a MH professional (14%), or both (17%). Of those treated, 88% (58/66) had an EMR MH diagnosis, the majority (71%; 47/66) depression and (18%; 12/66) PTSD. The odds of receiving MH treatment were increased 8.2 times (95% CI 3.1 – 21.5) for patients with an EMR MH diagnosis. Nearly 50% of patients with PTSD received MH treatment, yet few had this diagnosis documented. Treatment was likely due to overlap in the management of PTSD and other mental illnesses.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder; Primary Care; Mental Health Diagnosis; Mental Health Treatment
Despite the value of 12-step meetings, few studies have examined factors associated with attendance among those living with HIV/AIDS, such as the impact of HIV disease severity and demographics.
This study examines predisposing characteristics, enabling resources and need on attendance at Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings among those living with HIV/AIDS and alcohol problems.
Secondary analysis of prospective data from the HIV-Longitudinal Interrelationships of Viruses and Ethanol study, a cohort of 400 adults living with HIV/AIDS and alcohol problems. Factors associated with AA/NA attendance were identified using the Anderson model for vulnerable populations. Generalized estimating equation logistic regression models were fit to identify factors associated with self-reported AA/NA attendance.
At study entry, subjects were 75% male, 12% met diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence, 43% had drug dependence and 56% reported attending one or more AA/NA meetings (past six months). In the adjusted model, female gender negatively associated with attendance, as were social support systems that use alcohol and/or drugs, while presence of HCV antibody, drug dependence diagnosis, and homelessness associated with higher odds of attendance.
Non-substance abuse related barriers to AA/NA group attendance exist for those living with HIV/AIDS, including females and social support systems that use alcohol and/or drugs. Positive associations of homelessness, HCV infection and current drug dependence were identified. These findings provide implications for policy makers and treatment professionals who wish to encourage attendance at 12-step meetings for those living with HIV/AIDS and alcohol or other substance use problems.
HIV-infection; alcohol addiction disorder; substance-related disorders; 12 step groups; HIV/AIDS
Despite the vast literature examining disparities in medical care, little is known about racial/ethnic and mental health disparities in sexual health care. The objective of this study was to assess disparities in safe sex counseling and resultant behavior among a patient population at risk of negative sexual health outcomes.
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis among a sample of substance dependent men and women in a metropolitan area in the United States. Multiple logistic regression models were used to explore the relationship between race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic black; Hispanic; non-Hispanic white) and three indicators of mental illness (moderately severe to severe depression; any manic episodes; ≥3 psychotic symptoms) with two self-reported outcomes: receipt of safe sex counseling from a primary care physician and having practiced safer sex because of counseling.
Among 275 substance-dependent adults, approximately 71% (195/275) reported ever being counseled by their regular doctor about safe sex. Among these 195 subjects, 76% (149/195) reported practicing safer sex because of this advice. Blacks (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 2.71; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.36,5.42) and those reporting manic episodes (AOR: 2.41; 95% CI: 1.26,4.60) had higher odds of safe sex counseling. Neither race/ethnicity nor any indicator of mental illness was significantly associated with practicing safer sex because of counseling.
Those with past manic episodes reported more safe sex counseling, which is appropriate given that hypersexuality is a known symptom of mania. Black patients reported more safe sex counseling than white patients, despite controlling for sexual risk. One potential explanation is that counseling was conducted based on assumptions about sexual risk behaviors and patient race. There were no significant disparities in self-reported safer sex practices because of counseling, suggesting that increased counseling did not differentially affect safe sex behavior for black patients and those with manic episodes. Exploring the basis of how patient characteristics can influence counseling and resultant behavior merits further exploration to help reduce disparities in safe sex counseling and outcomes.
Counseling; Disparities; Sexual behavior; Stereotyping
Female sex workers (FSWs) are the group at greatest risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in India. Women and girls trafficked (ie, forced or coerced) into sex work are thought to be at even greater risk because of high exposure to violence and unprotected sex, particularly during the early months of sex work, that is, at initiation. Surveys were completed with HIV-infected FSWs (n = 211) recruited from an HIV-related service organization in Mumbai, India. Approximately 2 in 5 participants (41.7%) reported being forced or coerced into sex work. During the first month in sex work, such FSWs had higher odds of sexual violence (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 3.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6–6.1), ≥7 clients per day (AOR, 3.3; 1.8–6.1), no use of condoms (AOR, 3.8, 2.1–7.1), and frequent alcohol use (AOR, 1.9; 1.0–3.4) than HIV-infected FSWs not entering involuntarily. Those trafficked into sex work were also at higher odds for alcohol use at first sex work episode (AOR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.2–4.0). These results suggest that having been trafficked into sex work is prevalent among this population and that such FSWs may face high levels of sexual violence, alcohol use, and exposure to HIV infection in the first month of sex work. Findings call into question harm reduction approaches to HIV prevention that rely primarily on FSW autonomy.
Unhealthy alcohol use (the spectrum of risky use through dependence) is common in HIV-infected persons, yet it can interfere with HIV medication adherence, may lower CD4 cell count, and can cause hepatic injury. Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT), often measured as %CDT, can detect heavy drinking but whether it does in people with HIV is not well established.
We evaluated the operating characteristics of %CDT in HIV-infected adults using cross-sectional data from 300 HIV-infected adults with current or past alcohol problems. Past 30-day alcohol consumption was determined using the Timeline Followback, a validated structured recall questionnaire, as the reference standard. Sensitivity and specificity of %CDT (at manufacturer's cutoff point of 2.6%) for detecting both “at-risk” (≥four drinks per occasion or >seven drinks per week for women, ≥five drinks per occasion or >14 per week for men) and “heavy” drinking (≥ four drinks per day for women, ≥ five drinks per day for men on at least seven days) were calculated. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were estimated to summarize the diagnostic ability of %CDT for distinguishing “at risk” and “heavy” levels of drinking. Exploratory analyses that stratified by gender and viral hepatitis infection were performed.
Of 300 subjects, 103 reported current consumption at “at-risk” amounts, and 47 reported “heavy” amounts. For “at-risk” drinking, sensitivity of %CDT was 28% (95% confidence interval (CI) 19%, 37%), specificity 90% (95% CI 86%, 94%); area under the ROC curve (AUC) was 0.59. For “heavy” drinking, sensitivity was 36% (95% CI 22%, 50%), specificity 88% (95% CI 84%, 92%); AUC was 0.60.
Sensitivity appeared lower among women and those with viral hepatitis; specificity was similar across subgroups. Among HIV-infected adults, %CDT testing yielded good specificity, but poor sensitivity for detecting “at-risk” and “heavy” alcohol consumption, limiting its clinical utility for detecting unhealthy alcohol use in this population.
carbohydrate-deficient transferrin; CDT; alcohol; HIV
Little is known about how different types of substances affect oral health. Our objective was to examine the respective effects of alcohol, stimulants, opioids, and marijuana on oral health in substance-dependent persons. Using self-reported data from 563 substance-dependent individuals, we found that most reported unsatisfactory oral health, with their most recent dental visit more than 1 year ago. In multivariable logistic regressions, none of the substance types were significantly associated with oral health status. However, opioid use was significantly related to a worse overall oral health rating compared to 1 year ago. These findings highlight the poor oral health of individuals with substance dependence and the need to address declining oral health among opioid users. General health and specialty addiction care providers should be aware of oral health problems among these patients. In addition, engagement into addiction and medical care may be facilitated by addressing oral health concerns.
Oral health; Substance dependence; Dental care
The association between smoking and HIV disease progression has been examined in several studies; however, findings have been inconsistent. We examined the effect of recent cigarette smoking on CD4+ T cell count/µL (CD4 count) and HIV RNA concentration (HIV viral load [VL]) among two HIV-infected cohorts with alcohol problems in Massachusetts in the periods 1997–2001 and 2001–2006 using a prospective cohort design and linear mixed models. Smoking groups were defined as: minimal or non-smokers, light smokers, moderate smokers and heavy smokers. Age, alcohol use, injection drug use, depressive symptoms, gender, annual income, and antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence were considered as potential confounders. Among 462 subjects, no significant differences in CD4 count or viral load were found between smoking groups. Using minimal or non-smokers as the reference group, the adjusted mean differences in CD4 count were: 8.2 (95% confidence interval (CI): −17.4, 33.8) for heavy smokers; −0.1 (95% CI: −25.4, 5.1) for moderate smokers; and −2.6 (95% CI: −28.3, 3.0) for light smokers. For log10 VL, the adjusted differences were: 0.03 (95% CI: −0.12, 0.17) for heavy smokers; −0.06 (95% CI: −0.20, 0.08) for moderate smokers; and 0.14 (95% CI −0.01, 0.28) for light smokers. This study did not find an association between smoking cigarettes and HIV disease progression as measured by CD4 cell count and VL.
Cigarette Smoking; CD4+ T cells; Viral Load; HIV
Whether hepatitis C (HCV) confers additional coronary heart disease (CHD) risk among Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infected individuals is unclear. Without appropriate adjustment for antiretroviral therapy, CD4 count, and HIV-1 RNA, and substantially different mortality rates among those with and without HIV and HCV infection, the association between HIV, HCV, and CHD may be obscured.
Methods and Results
We analyzed data on 8579 participants (28% HIV+, 9% HIV+HCV+) from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study Virtual Cohort who participated in the 1999 Large Health Study of Veteran Enrollees. We analyzed data collected on HIV and HCV status, risk factors for and the incidence of CHD, and mortality from 1/2000–7/2007. We compared models to assess CHD risk when death was treated as a censoring event and as a competing risk. During the median 7.3 years of follow-up, there were 194 CHD events and 1186 deaths. Compared with HIV−HCV− Veterans, HIV+ HCV+ Veterans had a significantly higher risk of CHD regardless of whether death was adjusted for as a censoring event (adjusted hazard ratio (HR)=2.03, 95% CI=1.28–3.21) or a competing risk (adjusted HR=2.45, 95% CI=1.83–3.27 respectively). Compared with HIV+HCV− Veterans, HIV+ HCV+ Veterans also had a significantly higher adjusted risk of CHD regardless of whether death was treated as a censored event (adjusted HR=1.93, 95% CI=1.02–3.62) or a competing risk (adjusted HR =1.46, 95% CI=1.03–2.07).
HIV+HCV+ Veterans have an increased risk of CHD compared to HIV+HCV−, and HIV−HCV− Veterans.
viruses; coronary disease; mortality; multi morbidity
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening is cost-effective and recommended in populations with low disease prevalence. However, because screening is not cost-saving, its financial feasibility must be understood.
We forecast the costs of two Emergency Department-based HIV testing programs in the Veterans Administration: 1) implementing a non-targeted screening program and providing treatment for all patients thusly identified (Rapid Testing); and 2) treating patients identified due to late-stage symptoms (Usual Care); to determine which program was the most financially feasible.
Using a dynamic decision-analysis model, we estimated the financial impact of each program over a 7-year period. Costs were driven by patient disease-severity at diagnosis, measured by CD4+ category, and the proportion of patients in each disease-severity category. Cost per CD4+ category was modeled from chart review and database analysis of treatment-naïve HIV-positive patients. Distributions of CD4+ counts differed in patients across the Rapid Testing and Usual Care arms.
A non-targeted Rapid Testing program was not significantly more costly than Usual Care. Although Rapid Testing had substantial screening costs, they were offset by lower inpatient expenses associated with earlier identification of disease. Assuming an HIV prevalence of 1% and 80% test acceptance, the cost of Rapid Testing was $1,418,088, vs. $1,320,338 for Usual Care (p = 0.5854). Results support implementation of non-targeted rapid HIV screening in integrated systems. Conclusions: This analysis adds a new component of support for HIV screening by demonstrating that rapid, non-targeted testing does not cost significantly more than a diagnostic testing approach.
HIV; screening; budget impact; Rapid Testing; Emergency Department
Attitudinal barriers towards analgesic use among primary care patients with chronic pain and substance use disorders (SUDs) are not well understood. We evaluated the prevalence of moderate to significant attitudinal barriers to analgesic use among 597 primary care patients with chronic pain and current analgesic use with 3 subscales from the Barriers Questionaire II: concern about side effects, fear of addiction, and worry about reporting pain to physicians. Concern about side effects was a greater barrier for those with opioid use disorders (OUDs) and non-opioid SUDs than for those with no SUD (OR (95% CI): 2.30 (1.44–3.68), P < 0.001 and 1.64 (1.02–2.65), P = 0.041, resp.). Fear of addiction was a greater barrier for those with OUDs as compared to those with non-opioid SUDs (OR (95% CI): 2.12 (1.04–4.30), P = 0.038) and no SUD (OR (95% CI): 2.69 (1.44–5.03), P = 0.002). Conversely, participants with non-opioid SUDs reported lower levels of worry about reporting pain to physicians than those with no SUD (OR (95% CI): 0.43 (0.24–0.76), P = 0.004). Participants with OUDs reported higher levels of worry about reporting pain than those with non-opioid SUDs (OR (95% CI): 1.91 (1.01–3.60), P = 0.045). Concerns about side effects and fear of addiction can be barriers to analgesic use, moreso for people with SUDs and OUDs.
Opioid addiction is a chronic disease treatable in primary care settings with buprenorphine, but this treatment remains underutilized. We describe a collaborative care model for managing opioid addiction with buprenorphine.
This is a cohort study of patients treated for opioid addiction utilizing collaborative care between nurse care managers and generalist physicians in an urban academic primary care practice over 5 years. We examine patient characteristics, 12-month treatment success (i.e., retention or taper after 6 months), and predictors of successful outcomes.
From 2003 to 2008, 408 patients with opioid addiction were treated with buprenorphine. Twenty-six patients were excluded from analysis as they left treatment due to preexisting legal or medical conditions or a need for transfer to another buprenorphine program. At 12 months 51% of patients (196/382) underwent successful treatment. Of patients remaining in treatment at 3-, 6-, 9- and 12 months, 93% were no longer using illicit opioids or cocaine based on urine drug tests. On admission, patients who were older, employed, and used illicit buprenorphine had significantly higher odds of treatment success; those of African American or Hispanic race had significantly lower odds of treatment success. These outcomes were achieved with a model that facilitated physician involvement.
Collaborative care with nurse care managers in an urban primary care practice is an alternative and successful method of service delivery for the majority of patients with opioid addiction while effectively utilizing the time of physicians prescribing buprenorphine.
opioid dependence; buprenorphine; addiction; primary care; collaborative care
The Current Opioid Misuse Measure (COMM), a self-report assessment of past-month aberrant medication-related behaviors, has been validated in specialty pain management patients. The performance characteristics of the COMM were evaluated in primary care (PC) patients with chronic pain. It was hypothesized that the COMM can identify patients with prescription drug use disorder (PDD). English-speaking adults awaiting PC visits at an urban, safety-net hospital, who had chronic pain and had received any opioid analgesic prescription in the past year were administered the COMM. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview served as the “gold-standard”, using DSM-IV criteria for PDD and other substance use disorders (SUDs). A receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve demonstrated the COMM’s diagnostic test characteristics. Of the 238 participants, 27 (11%) met DSM-IV PDD criteria, while 17 (7%) had other SUDs, and 194 (82%) had no disorder. The mean COMM score was higher in those with PDD than among all others (i.e., those with other SUDs or no disorder, mean 20.4 [SD 10.8] vs. 8.4 [SD 7.5], p<0.0001). A COMM score of ≥13 had a sensitivity of 77% and a specificity of 77% for identifying patients with PDD. The area under the ROC curve was 0.84. For chronic pain patients prescribed opioids, the development of PDD is an undesirable complication. Among PC patients with chronic pain prescribed prescription opioids, the COMM is a promising tool for identifying those with PDD.
This study examined characteristics associated with prescription drug use disorder (PDUD) in primary care patients with chronic pain from a cross-sectional survey conducted at an urban academically-affiliated safety-net hospital. Participants were 18–60 years old, had pain for ≥ 3 months, took prescription or non-prescription analgesics, and spoke English. Measurements included the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (PDUD, other substance use disorders (SUD), Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)); Graded Chronic Pain Scale, smoking status; family history of SUD; and time spent in jail. Of 597 patients (41% male, 61% black, mean age 46 years), 110 (18.4%) had PDUD of whom 99 (90%) had another SUD. In adjusted analyses, those with PDUD were more likely than those without any current or past SUD to report jail time (OR 5.1, 95% CI 2.8–9.3), family history of SUD (OR 3.4, 1.9–6.0), greater pain-related limitations (OR 3.8,1.2–11.7), cigarette smoking (OR 3.6, 2.0–6.2), or to be white (OR 3.2, 1.7–6.0), male (OR 1.9, 1.1–3.5) or have PTSD (OR 1.9, 1.1–3.4). PDUD appears increased among those with easily identifiable characteristics. The challenge is to determine who among those with risk factors can avoid, with proper management, developing the increasingly common diagnosis of PDUD.
Primary care; substance abuse; pain
To understand patterns of alcohol consumption and baseline factors associated with favorable drinking patterns among HIV-infected patients.
We studied drinking patterns among HIV-infected patients with current or past alcohol problems. We assessed drinking status in 6 month intervals. Based on National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism guidelines a favorable drinking pattern was defined as not drinking risky amounts at each assessment or decreased drinking over time. All other patterns were defined as unfavorable. Logistic regression models were used to identify baseline factors associated with a favorable pattern.
Among 358 subjects, 54% had a favorable drinking pattern with 44% not drinking risky amounts at every assessment, and 11% decreasing consumption over time. Of the 46% with an unfavorable pattern, 4% drank risky amounts each time, 5% increased, and 37% both decreased and increased consumption over time. Current alcohol dependence and recent marijuana use were negatively associated with a favorable pattern, while older age and female gender, and having a primary HIV risk factor of injection drug use were positively associated with a favorable pattern.
Many HIV-infected adults with alcohol problems have favorable drinking patterns over time, and alcohol consumption patterns are not necessarily constant. Identifying HIV-infected adults with a pattern of risky drinking may require repeated assessments of alcohol consumption.
Alcohol; HIV; drinking patterns
Chronic medical diseases require regular and longitudinal care and self-management for effective treatment. When chronic diseases include substance use disorders, care and treatment of both the medical and addiction disorders may affect access to care and the ability to focus on both conditions. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the association between the presence of chronic medical disease and recent addiction treatment utilization among adults with substance dependence.
Cross-sectional secondary data analysis of self-reported baseline data from alcohol and/or drug-dependent adults enrolled in a randomized clinical trial of a disease management program for substance dependence in primary care. The main independent variable was chronic medical disease status, categorized using the Katz Comorbidity Score as none, single condition of lower severity, or higher severity (multiple conditions or single higher severity condition), based on comorbidity scores determined from self-report. Asthma was also examined in secondary analyses. The primary outcome was any self-reported addiction treatment utilization (excluding detoxification) in the 3 months prior to study entry, including receipt of any addiction-focused counseling or addiction medication from any healthcare provider. Logistic regression models were adjusted for sociodemographics, type of substance dependence, recruitment site, current smoking, and recent anxiety severity.
Of 563 subjects, 184 (33%) reported any chronic disease (20% low severity; 13% higher severity) and 111 (20%) reported asthma; 157 (28%) reported any addiction treatment utilization in the past 3 months. In multivariate regression analyses, no significant effect was detected for chronic disease on addiction treatment utilization (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.88 lower severity vs. none, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.60, 1.28; AOR 1.29 higher severity vs. none, 95% CI: 0.89, 1.88) nor for asthma.
In this cohort of alcohol and drug dependent persons, there was no significant effect of chronic medical disease on recent addiction treatment utilization. Chronic disease may not hinder or facilitate connection to addiction treatment.
addiction; substance abuse; substance abuse; treatment; medical care; chronic disease
The efficacy of screening and brief intervention (SBI) for drug use in primary care patients is largely unknown. Because of this lack of evidence, US professional organizations do not recommend it. Yet, a strong theoretical case can be made for drug SBI. Drug use is common and associated with numerous health consequences, patients usually do not seek help for drug abuse and dependence, and SBI has proven efficacy for unhealthy alcohol use. On the other hand, the diversity of drugs of abuse and the high prevalence of abuse and dependence among those who use them raise concerns that drug SBI may have limited or no efficacy. Federal efforts to disseminate SBI for drug use are underway, and reimbursement codes to compensate clinicians for these activities have been developed. However, the discrepancies between science and policy developments underscore the need for evidence-based research regarding the efficacy of SBI for drug use. This article discusses the rationale for drug SBI and existing research on its potential to improve drug-use outcomes and makes the argument that randomized controlled trials to determine its efficacy are urgently needed to bridge the gap between research, policy, and clinical practice.
addiction; drug use; primary care; drug screening; brief intervention