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Journal of technology in behavioral science ; : 1-10, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2057899


Behavior therapy implementation relies in part on training to foster counselor skills in preparation for delivery with fidelity. Amidst Covid-19, the professional education arena witnessed a rapid shift from in-person to virtual training, yet these modalities’ relative utility and expense is unknown. In the context of a cluster-randomized hybrid type 3 trial of contingency management (CM) implementation in opioid treatment programs (OTPs), a multi-cohort design presented rare opportunity to compare cost-effectiveness of virtual vs. in-person training. An initial counselor cohort (n = 26) from eight OTPs attended in-person training, and a subsequent cohort (n = 31) from ten OTPs attended virtual training. Common training elements were the facilitator, learning objectives, and educational strategies/activities. All clinicians submitted a post-training role-play, independently scored with a validated fidelity instrument for which performances were compared against benchmarks representing initial readiness and advanced proficiency. To examine the utility and expense of in-person and virtual trainings, cohort-specific rates for benchmark attainment were computed, and per-clinician expenses were estimated. Adjusted between-cohort differences were estimated via ordinary least squares, and an incremental cost effectiveness ratio (ICER) was calculated. Readiness and proficiency benchmarks were attained at rates 12–14% higher among clinicians attending virtual training, for which aggregated costs indicated a $399 per-clinician savings relative to in-person training. Accordingly, the ICER identified virtual training as the dominant strategy, reflecting greater cost-effectiveness across willingness-to-pay values. Study findings document greater utility, lesser expense, and cost-effectiveness of virtual training, which may inform post-pandemic dissemination of CM and other therapies.

Health Econ ; 30(10): 2595-2605, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305123


The opioid epidemic in the United States has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 2021, roughly a third of Americans now live in a state with a recreational cannabis law (RCL). Recent evidence indicates RCLs could be a harm reduction tool to address the opioid epidemic. Individuals may use cannabis to manage pain, as well as to relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms, though it does not directly treat opioid use disorder. It is thus unclear whether RCLs are an effective policy tool to reduce adverse opioid-related health outcomes. In this study, we examine the impact of RCLs on a key opioid-related adverse health outcome: opioid-related emergency department (ED) visit rates. We estimate event study models using nearly comprehensive ED data from 29 states from 2011 to 2017. We find that RCLs reduce opioid-related ED visit rates by roughly 7.6% for two quarters after implementation. These effects are driven by men and adults aged 25-44. These effects dissipate after 6 months. Our estimates indicate RCLs did not increase opioid-related ED visits. We conclude that, while cannabis liberalization may offer some help in curbing the opioid epidemic, it is likely not a panacea.

COVID-19 , Cannabis , Adult , Analgesics, Opioid/adverse effects , Emergency Service, Hospital , Humans , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology