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1.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(12): e30753, 2021 12 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1593102

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Expanding access to and use of medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) is a key component of overdose prevention. An important barrier to the uptake of MOUD is exposure to inaccurate and potentially harmful health misinformation on social media or web-based forums where individuals commonly seek information. There is a significant need to devise computational techniques to describe the prevalence of web-based health misinformation related to MOUD to facilitate mitigation efforts. OBJECTIVE: By adopting a multidisciplinary, mixed methods strategy, this paper aims to present machine learning and natural language analysis approaches to identify the characteristics and prevalence of web-based misinformation related to MOUD to inform future prevention, treatment, and response efforts. METHODS: The team harnessed public social media posts and comments in the English language from Twitter (6,365,245 posts), YouTube (99,386 posts), Reddit (13,483,419 posts), and Drugs-Forum (5549 posts). Leveraging public health expert annotations on a sample of 2400 of these social media posts that were found to be semantically most similar to a variety of prevailing opioid use disorder-related myths based on representational learning, the team developed a supervised machine learning classifier. This classifier identified whether a post's language promoted one of the leading myths challenging addiction treatment: that the use of agonist therapy for MOUD is simply replacing one drug with another. Platform-level prevalence was calculated thereafter by machine labeling all unannotated posts with the classifier and noting the proportion of myth-indicative posts over all posts. RESULTS: Our results demonstrate promise in identifying social media postings that center on treatment myths about opioid use disorder with an accuracy of 91% and an area under the curve of 0.9, including how these discussions vary across platforms in terms of prevalence and linguistic characteristics, with the lowest prevalence on web-based health communities such as Reddit and Drugs-Forum and the highest on Twitter. Specifically, the prevalence of the stated MOUD myth ranged from 0.4% on web-based health communities to 0.9% on Twitter. CONCLUSIONS: This work provides one of the first large-scale assessments of a key MOUD-related myth across multiple social media platforms and highlights the feasibility and importance of ongoing assessment of health misinformation related to addiction treatment.


Subject(s)
Opioid-Related Disorders , Social Media , Communication , Humans , Machine Learning , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Prevalence
5.
Harm Reduct J ; 18(1): 119, 2021 11 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1538076

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The majority of individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) face access barriers to evidence-based treatment, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the United States (US) opioid overdose crisis. However, the pandemic has also ushered in rapid transitions to telehealth in the USA, including for substance use disorder treatment with buprenorphine. These changes have the potential to mitigate barriers to care or to exacerbate pre-existing treatment inequities. The objective of this study was to qualitatively explore Philadelphia-based low-barrier, harm-reduction oriented, opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment provider perspectives about and experiences with telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to assess their desire to offer telehealth to patients at their programs in the future. METHODS: We interviewed 22 OUD treatment prescribers and staff working outpatient programs offering OUD treatment with buprenorphine in Philadelphia during July and August 2020. All participants worked at low-barrier treatment programs that provide buprenorphine using a harm reduction-oriented approach and without mandating counseling or other requirements as a condition of treatment. We analyzed the data using thematic content analysis. RESULTS: Our analysis yielded three themes: 1/ Easier access for some: telehealth facilitates care for many patients who have difficulty attending in-person appointments due to logistical and psychological barriers; 2/ A layered digital divide: engagement with telehealth can be seriously limited by patients' access to and comfort with technology; and 3/ Clinician control: despite some clinic staff beliefs that patients should have the freedom to choose their treatment modality, patients' access to treatment via telehealth may hinge on clinician perceptions of patient "stability" rather than patient preferences. CONCLUSIONS: Telehealth may address many access issues, however, barriers to implementation remain, including patient ability and desire to attend healthcare appointments virtually. In addition, the potential for telehealth models to extend OUD care to patients currently underserved by in-person models may partially depend on clinician comfort treating patients deemed "unstable" via this modality. The ability of telehealth to expand access to OUD care for individuals who have previously struggled to engage with in-person care will likely be limited if these patients are not given the opportunity to receive treatment via telehealth.


Subject(s)
Buprenorphine , COVID-19 , Opioid-Related Disorders , Telemedicine , Buprenorphine/therapeutic use , Humans , Opiate Substitution Treatment , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States
6.
Addict Sci Clin Pract ; 16(1): 68, 2021 11 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1515451

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has exerted a significant toll on the lives of people who use opioids (PWUOs). At the same time, more flexible regulations around provision of opioid use disorder (OUD) services have led to new opportunities for facilitating access to services for PWUOs. In the current scoping review, we describe new services and service modifications implemented by treatment and harm reduction programs serving PWUO, and discuss implications for policy and practice. METHODS: Literature searches were conducted within PubMed, LitCovid, Embase, and PsycInfo for English-language studies published in 2020 that describe a particular program, service, or intervention aimed at facilitating access to OUD treatment and/or harm reduction services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Abstracts were independently screened by two reviewers. Relevant studies were reviewed in full and those that met inclusion criteria underwent final data extraction and synthesis (n = 25). We used a narrative synthesis approach to identify major themes around key service modifications and innovations implemented across programs serving PWUO. RESULTS: Reviewed OUD treatment and harm reduction services spanned five continents and a range of settings from substance use treatment to street outreach programs. Innovative service modifications to adapt to COVID-19 circumstances primarily involved expanded use of telehealth services (e.g., telemedicine visits for buprenorphine, virtual individual or group therapy sessions, provision of donated or publicly available phones), increased take-home medication allowances for methadone and buprenorphine, expanded uptake of long-acting opioid medications (e.g. extended-release buprenorphine and naltrexone), home delivery of services (e.g. MOUD, naloxone and urine drug screening), outreach and makeshift services for delivering MOUD and naloxone, and provision of a safe supply of opioids. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic has posed multiple challenges for PWUOs, while simultaneously accelerating innovations in policies, care models, and technologies to lower thresholds for life-saving treatment and harm reduction services. Such innovations highlight novel patient-centered and feasible approaches to mitigating OUD related harms. Further studies are needed to assess the long-term impact of these approaches and inform policies that improve access to care for PWUOs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Opioid-Related Disorders , Harm Reduction , Humans , Opiate Substitution Treatment , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Rural Remote Health ; 21(4): 6770, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1513371

ABSTRACT

CONTEXT: The COVID-19 pandemic led to several changes to methadone treatment protocols at federal opioid treatment programs in the USA. ISSUE: Protocol changes were designed to reduce transmission of COVID-19 while allowing for continuity of care, but those changes also demonstrated that many policies surrounding opioid use disorder care in the USA cause unnecessary burdens to patients. In this commentary, we describe how current policies create and maintain fatal barriers to methadone treatment for people in rural communities who have opioid use disorder, and highlight how COVID-19 adaptations and more flexible methadone models in other countries can better allow for effective and accessible care. Reasons and ways to address these issues to create lasting solutions for rural communities are discussed. LESSONS LEARNED: We focus on three lessons: (1) methadone dispensing and take-home schedules during COVID-19, (2) telehealth services during COVID-19, and (3) international models in use prior to COVID-19. We then outline recommendations for each lesson to improve access to methadone treatment long term for rural communities in the USA. There is an urgent need to implement recommendations that maintain flexible approaches and address methadone treatment barriers in the rural USA. To achieve lasting health policy change and combat stigma about addiction and methadone treatment, there is a need for advocacy efforts that give voice to rural residents impacted by inequitable access to methadone treatment and rural-tailored educational initiatives that promote the evidence base for methadone. We hope opioid treatment program directors, regulatory authorities, and health policymakers consider our recommendations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Delivery of Health Care/organization & administration , Health Services Accessibility , Methadone/therapeutic use , Opiate Substitution Treatment/statistics & numerical data , Opioid-Related Disorders/rehabilitation , Rural Population , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Opiate Substitution Treatment/methods , Opioid-Related Disorders/psychology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States
8.
Clin Microbiol Rev ; 34(3)2021 06 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1501522

ABSTRACT

Public health laboratories (PHLs) continue to face internal and external challenges to their abilities to provide successful, timely responses to public health crises and emerging threats. These laboratories are mandated to maintain the health of their communities by identifying, diagnosing, and warning constituents of potential and real health emergencies. Due to the changing characteristics of public health threats and their cross-jurisdictional nature, laboratories are facing increased pressure to ensure that they respond in a consistent and coordinated manner. Here, the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) Emerging Leader Program Cohort 11 members have compiled stories from subject matter experts (SMEs) at PHLs with direct involvement in crises to determine the characteristics of a successful response. Experts examined a diverse selection of emerging threats from across PHLs, including infectious diseases, opioids, natural disasters, and government shutdowns. While no public health crisis will be identical to another, overarching themes were consistent across subjects. Experiences from SMEs that could improve future responses to emerging threats are highlighted.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/diagnosis , Measles/diagnosis , Opioid-Related Disorders/diagnosis , Public Health/methods , COVID-19/epidemiology , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/epidemiology , Humans , Laboratories , Measles/epidemiology , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology
9.
Public Health Rep ; 136(1_suppl): 72S-79S, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1495836

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Traditional public health surveillance of nonfatal opioid overdose relies on emergency department (ED) billing data, which can be delayed substantially. We compared the timeliness of 2 new data sources for rapid drug overdose surveillance-emergency medical services (EMS) and syndromic surveillance-with ED billing data. METHODS: We used data on nonfatal opioid overdoses in Kentucky captured in EMS, syndromic surveillance, and ED billing systems during 2018-2019. We evaluated the time-series relationships between EMS and ED billing data and syndromic surveillance and ED billing data by calculating cross-correlation functions, controlling for influences of autocorrelations. A case example demonstrates the usefulness of EMS and syndromic surveillance data to monitor rapid changes in opioid overdose encounters in Kentucky during the COVID-19 epidemic. RESULTS: EMS and syndromic surveillance data showed moderate-to-strong correlation with ED billing data on a lag of 0 (r = 0.694; 95% CI, 0.579-0.782; t = 9.73; df = 101; P < .001; and r = 0.656; 95% CI, 0.530-0.754; t = 8.73; df = 101; P < .001; respectively) at the week-aggregated level. After the COVID-19 emergency declaration, EMS and syndromic surveillance time series had steep increases in April and May 2020, followed by declines from June through September 2020. The ED billing data were available for analysis 3 months after the end of a calendar quarter but closely followed the trends identified by the EMS and syndromic surveillance data. CONCLUSION: Data from EMS and syndromic surveillance systems can be reliably used to monitor nonfatal opioid overdose trends in Kentucky in near-real time to inform timely public health response.


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid/poisoning , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Emergency Medical Services/statistics & numerical data , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Population Surveillance/methods , Public Health Surveillance/methods , Sentinel Surveillance , Analgesics, Opioid/administration & dosage , COVID-19/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Emergencies/epidemiology , Emergency Medical Services/trends , Humans , Kentucky/epidemiology , Pandemics , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2
10.
J Subst Abuse Treat ; 132: 108648, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1487873

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic collided with the opioid epidemic and longstanding health inequities to exacerbate the disproportionate harms experienced by persons with opioid use disorder (OUD) who self-identify as from racial and ethnic minority groups. Disrupted access to harm reduction services (e.g., naloxone, sterile syringes, recovery support) is one pathway whereby COVID-19 might exacerbate health disparities. We tested the hypothesis that persons receiving medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) who self-identify as from racial/ethnic minority groups would experience more disruptions in access to harm reduction services than persons identifying as non-Hispanic White, even when controlling for severity of opioid use and sociodemographics (e.g., education, income, biological sex, age). METHODS: Analyses used data from a cluster randomized trial that had enrolled 188 patients, all of whom had provided baseline data on sociodemographics and severity of opioid use, across eight opioid treatment programs. Data collectors re-contacted participants between May and June 2020 and 133 (71% response rate) agreed to complete a survey about access to harm reduction services. RESULTS: Twenty-six respondents (20%) identified as from racial/ethnic minority groups (predominantly Black, Hispanic, and/or biracial). Between 7% and 27% of respondents reported disrupted access to harm reduction services. Logistic regressions indicated that persons identifying as from racial/ethnic minority groups were 8-10 times more likely than persons identifying as non-Hispanic White to report reduced access to naloxone and sterile syringes (p < .01), even when accounting for potential confounding variables. CONCLUSIONS: This report concludes with a discussion of potential outreach strategies and policies to advance more equitable access to essential harm reduction services.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Opioid-Related Disorders , Harm Reduction , Humans , Minority Groups , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States
11.
Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy ; 16(1): 78, 2021 10 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477437

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Expanding access to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), such as buprenorphine and extended release (XR) naltrexone, is critical to addressing the US opioid epidemic, but little is known about prescriber satisfaction with delivering these two types of MOUD. The current study describes the satisfaction of prescribers delivering buprenorphine and XR-naltrexone while examining whether satisfaction is associated with current patient census and organizational environment. METHODS: As part of a cluster randomized clinical trial (RCT) focused on expanding access to medication for opioid use disorder, 41 MOUD prescribers in Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin completed a web-based survey. The survey included measures of prescriber satisfaction with delivering buprenorphine treatment and XR-naltrexone. In addition, the survey measured several prescriber characteristics and their perceptions of the organizational environment. RESULTS: Prescribers were generally satisfied with their work in delivering these two types of MOUD. Prescribers reporting a greater number of patients (r = .46, p = .006), those who would recommend the center to others (r = .56, p < .001), and those reporting positive relationships with staff (r = .56, p < .001) reported significantly greater overall satisfaction with delivering buprenorphine treatment. Prescribers who more strongly endorsed feeling overburdened reported lower overall buprenorphine satisfaction (r = -.37, p = .02). None of the prescriber characteristics or perceptions of the organizational environment were significantly associated with overall satisfaction with delivering XR-naltrexone treatment. CONCLUSIONS: The generally high levels of satisfaction with both types of MOUD is notable given that prescriber dissatisfaction can lead to turnover and impact intentions to leave the profession. Future research should continue to explore the prescriber characteristics and organizational factors associated with satisfaction in providing different types of MOUD. REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov. NCT02926482. Date of registration: September 9, 2016. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02926482 .


Subject(s)
Buprenorphine , Opioid-Related Disorders , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , Buprenorphine/therapeutic use , Humans , Naltrexone/therapeutic use , Narcotic Antagonists/therapeutic use , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Personal Satisfaction
12.
Reg Anesth Pain Med ; 46(10): 840-859, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1476775

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The past two decades have witnessed an epidemic of opioid use disorder (OUD) in the USA, resulting in catastrophic loss of life secondary to opioid overdoses. Medication treatment of opioid use disorder (MOUD) is effective, yet barriers to care continue to result in a large proportion of untreated individuals. Optimal analgesia can be obtained in patients with MOUD within the perioperative period. Anesthesiologists and pain physicians can recommend and consider initiating MOUD in patients with suspected OUD at the point of care; this can serve as a bridge to comprehensive treatment and ultimately save lives. METHODS: The Board of Directors of the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, American Society of Anesthesiologists, American Academy of Pain Medicine, American Society of Addiction Medicine and American Society of Health System Pharmacists approved the creation of a Multisociety Working Group on Opioid Use Disorder, representing the fields of pain medicine, addiction, and pharmacy health sciences. An extensive literature search was performed by members of the working group. Multiple study types were included and reviewed for quality. A modified Delphi process was used to assess the literature and expert opinion for each topic, with 100% consensus being achieved on the statements and each recommendation. The consensus statements were then graded by the committee members using the United States Preventive Services Task Force grading of evidence guidelines. In addition to the consensus recommendations, a narrative overview of buprenorphine, including pharmacology and legal statutes, was performed. RESULTS: Two core topics were identified for the development of recommendations with >75% consensus as the goal for consensus; however, the working group achieved 100% consensus on both topics. Specific topics included (1) providing recommendations to aid physicians in the management of patients receiving buprenorphine for MOUD in the perioperative setting and (2) providing recommendations to aid physicians in the initiation of buprenorphine in patients with suspected OUD in the perioperative setting. CONCLUSIONS: To decrease the risk of OUD recurrence, buprenorphine should not be routinely discontinued in the perioperative setting. Buprenorphine can be initiated in untreated patients with OUD and acute pain in the perioperative setting to decrease the risk of opioid recurrence and death from overdose.


Subject(s)
Acute Pain , Buprenorphine , Opioid-Related Disorders , Acute Pain/drug therapy , Analgesics, Opioid/adverse effects , Buprenorphine/adverse effects , Humans , Opioid-Related Disorders/diagnosis , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Opioid-Related Disorders/prevention & control , Pain Management , United States
13.
Nursing ; 51(9): 44-47, 2021 Sep 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462510

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT: Substance use treatment inequities among rural populations are well documented and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these inequalities, forcing healthcare providers to be creative in the delivery of treatment. Systematic reviews on the use of telehealth to treat patients with substance use disorder indicate that it is a promising alternative to in-person services. This article examines the evidence supporting the use of telehealth in treating patients with opioid use disorder and explores other promising options that can help overcome pandemic-related barriers to treatment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Services Accessibility/organization & administration , Opioid-Related Disorders/nursing , Rural Health Services/organization & administration , Telemedicine/organization & administration , Humans , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Systematic Reviews as Topic , United States/epidemiology
14.
Syst Rev ; 9(1): 200, 2020 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1456001

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The burden of opioid use disorder (OUD) has been increasing in North America. Administration of medication-assisted treatments (MATs) for OUD on an individual-dose basis has been shown to affect patient responses to treatment, proving to be, on occasion, dangerous. A genetic basis has been identified for some MAT responses in a candidate gene context, but consensus has not been reached for any genome-wide significant associations. This systematic review aims to identify and assess any genetic variants associated with MAT patient outcomes at genome-wide significance. METHODS: The databases searched by the authors will be: MEDLINE, Web of Science, EMBASE, CINAHL and Pre-CINAHL, GWAS Catalog, GWAS Central, and NIH Database of Genotypes and Phenotypes. A title and abstract screening, full-text screening, data extraction, and quality assessment will be completed in duplicate for each study via Covidence. Treatment outcomes of interest include continued opioid use or abstinence during treatment or at follow-up, time to relapse, treatment retention rates, opioid overdose, other substance use, comorbid psychiatric disorders, risk taking behaviors, MAT plasma concentrations, and mortality rates. Analysis methods applied, if appropriate, will include random effects meta-analysis with pooled odds ratios for all outcomes. Subgroup analyses will also be implemented, when possible. DISCUSSION: This systematic review can hopefully inform the direction of future research, aiding in the development of a safer and more patient-centered treatment. It will be able to highlight genome-wide significant variants that are replicable and associated with MAT patient outcomes. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: This systematic review protocol has been registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) (registration ID CRD42020169121).


Subject(s)
Analgesics, Opioid , Genome-Wide Association Study , Opioid-Related Disorders , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , Humans , Meta-Analysis as Topic , North America , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Opioid-Related Disorders/genetics , Systematic Reviews as Topic , Treatment Outcome
15.
BMJ Open ; 11(9): e053207, 2021 09 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440826

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Buprenorphine-naloxone is recommended as a first-line agent for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Although initiation of buprenorphine in the emergency department (ED) is evidence based, barriers to implementation persist. A comprehensive review and critical analysis of both facilitators of and barriers to buprenorphine initiation in ED has yet to be published. Our objectives are (1) to map the implementation of buprenorphine induction pathway literature and synthesise what we know about buprenorphine pathways in EDs and (2) to identify gaps in this literature with respect to barriers and facilitators of implementation. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will conduct a scoping review to comprehensively search the literature, map the evidence and identify gaps in knowledge. The review will adhere to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses Protocols Extension for Scoping Reviews and guidance from the Joanna Briggs Institution for conduct of scoping reviews. We will search Medline, APA, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Embase and IBSS from 1995 to present and the search will be restricted to English and French language publications. Citations will be screened in Covidence by two trained reviewers. Discrepancies will be mediated by consensus. Data will be synthesised using a hybrid, inductive-deductive approach, informed by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research as well as critical theory to guide further interpretation. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This review does not require ethics approval. A group of primary knowledge users, including clinicians and people with lived experience, will be involved in the dissemination of findings including publication in peer-reviewed journals. Results will inform future research, current quality improvement efforts in affiliated hospitals, and aide the creation of a more robust ED response to the escalating overdose crisis.


Subject(s)
Buprenorphine , Opioid-Related Disorders , Buprenorphine/therapeutic use , Delivery of Health Care , Diagnostic Tests, Routine , Emergency Service, Hospital , Humans , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Research Design , Systematic Reviews as Topic
18.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 228: 109100, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433145

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The loosening of U.S. methadone regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic expanded calls for methadone reform. This study examines professional perceptions of methadone take-home dose regulation before and during the COVID-19 pandemic to understand responses to varied methadone distribution policies. METHODS: Fifty-nine substance use disorder treatment professionals were interviewed between 2017 and 2020 in-person or over video call. An inductive iterative coding process was used to analyze the data. Constructivist grounded theory guided the collection and analysis of in-depth interviews. RESULTS: Treatment professionals expressed mixed views toward methadone take-home regulations. Participants justified regulation using several arguments: 1) patient care benefitting from supervision, 2) attributing improved patient safety to take-home regulation, 3) fearing liability for methadone-related harms, and 4) relying on buprenorphine as an "escape hatch" for patients who cannot manage MMT policies. Other professionals suggested partial deregulation, while others strongly opposed pre-pandemic take-home regulation, explaining such regulations impede medication access and hinder patient-centered care. Some professionals supported the COVID-19 policy changes and saw these as a test run for broader deregulation, while others framed the changes as temporary and cautiously applied deregulation to their services, at times revoking looser rules for patients they perceived as nonadherent. CONCLUSION: Treatment professionals working in a range of modalities, including opioid treatment programs, expressed hesitation toward expanded take-home methadone access. While some participants also supported forms of deregulation, post-pandemic efforts to extend looser methadone distribution policies will have to address apprehensive professionals if such policy changes are to be meaningfully adopted in community services.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Opioid-Related Disorders , Humans , Methadone/therapeutic use , Opiate Substitution Treatment , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Pandemics , Perception , SARS-CoV-2
19.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 228: 109049, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433143

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic had the potential to severely disrupt the delivery of methadone and buprenorphine, as social distancing and other public health regulations made in-person services difficult to maintain. Federal and state regulators changed requirements regarding the dispensing of medication and in-person counseling at opioid treatment programs. Understanding staff and patient reactions to these changes can help determine whether they should be maintained. METHODS: We interviewed 25 directors of OTP programs located throughout the United States. Note takers wrote summaries of each interview which were coded for topics and themes covered in the interview guide, including changes to clinic practices, take-home medications, telehealth, patient and staff reactions to new COVID-related protocols, and financial concerns for programs. RESULTS: Most programs rapidly incorporated new regulatory requirements, and directors were generally positive about the impact of increased take-home doses of medication and increased reliance on telehealth. Some directors voiced concerns about these changes, and some reported that patients missed the daily clinical contact with staff. Directors also suggested that more time was needed to assess the full impact of these changes. Financial impacts varied, although many directors were quick to point out that the ongoing opioid epidemic has delivered a steady stream of new patients, thus offsetting potential financial losses. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, this study demonstrated the generally positive view of OTP directors to the regulatory changes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. More time is needed to fully evaluate the impact of these changes on clinical outcomes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Opioid-Related Disorders , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , Humans , Opiate Substitution Treatment , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Opioid-Related Disorders/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
20.
Addict Sci Clin Pract ; 16(1): 55, 2021 09 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430481

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Improving access to medication treatment of opioid use disorder (MOUD) is a national priority, yet common modifiable barriers (e.g., limited provider knowledge, negative beliefs about MOUD) often challenge implementation of MOUD delivery. To address these barriers, the VA launched a multifaceted implementation intervention focused on planning and educational strategies to increase MOUD delivery in 18 medical facilities. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if a multifaceted intervention approach to increase MOUD delivery changed providers' perceptions about MOUD over the first year of implementation. METHODS: Cross-disciplinary teams of clinic providers and leadership from primary care, pain, and mental health clinics at 18 VA medical facilities received invitations to complete an anonymous, electronic survey prior to intervention launch (baseline) and at 12- month follow-up. Responses were summarized using descriptive statistics, and changes over time were compared using regression models adjusted for gender and prescriber status, and clustered on facility. Responses to open-ended questions were thematically analyzed using a template analysis approach. RESULTS: Survey response rates at baseline and follow-up were 57.1% (56/98) and 50.4% (61/121), respectively. At both time points, most respondents agreed that MOUD delivery is important (94.7 vs. 86.9%), lifesaving (92.8 vs. 88.5%) and evidence-based (85.2 vs. 89.5%). Over one-third (37.5%) viewed MOUD delivery as time-consuming, and only 53.7% affirmed that clinic providers wanted to prescribe MOUD at baseline; similar responses were seen at follow-up (34.5 and 52.4%, respectively). Respondents rated their knowledge about OUD, comfort discussing opioid use with patients, job satisfaction, ability to help patients with OUD, and support from colleagues favorably at both time points. Respondents' ratings of MOUD delivery filling a gap in care were high but declined significantly from baseline to follow-up (85.7 vs. 73.7%, p < 0.04). Open-ended responses identified implementation barriers including lack of support to diagnose and treat OUD and lack of time. CONCLUSIONS: Although perceptions about MOUD generally were positive, targeted education and planning strategies did not improve providers' and clinical leaders' perceptions of MOUD over time. Strategies that improve leaders' prioritization and support of MOUD and address time constraints related to delivering MOUD may increase access to MOUD in non-substance use treatment clinics.


Subject(s)
Buprenorphine , Opioid-Related Disorders , Veterans , Humans , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Primary Health Care
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