Opioid overdose deaths have become a major public health crisis. While efforts have focused mostly on helping opioid-addicted individuals directly, family members suffer also from the grave and enduring unpredictability associated with opioid addiction and often play a vital role in helping addicted loved ones access care. Little is known, however, about resources to help affected family members. Here we describe results from the first quantitative and qualitative investigation of a free and growing support organization for family members of addicted individuals ("Learn to Cope" [LTC]; www.learn2cope.org), organized around three key questions: 1. Who participates, how often, and in what ways? 2. What are the demographic and clinical histories of their addicted loved-ones? 3. How do participants benefit?
Survey with LTC members at meetings and online (N=509; 95% participation rate).
1. Participants were primarily middle-aged mothers (77%) of opioid-addicted adult male children, attending LTC meetings several times per month, using LTC online resources several times a week, and meeting with LTC members between meetings. 2. Their addicted loved-ones were mostly male (73%), addicted to opioids (88%), with a criminal history (70%), with just under half (41%) having suffered at least one prior overdose. Almost three-quarters (71%), however, reported their loved one was "in recovery", with 30% having a year or more. 3. Benefits since beginning participation included gains in understanding and coping with addiction, feeling better able to help and communicate with their loved-one, and reductions in self-blame and stress. Of members trained in Narcan administration (66%), 86% had received training at LTC meetings; LTC members reported having deployed Narcan for over 44 overdose reversals.
The growing availability of LTC may provide a needed source of support and information for family members of opioid-addicted loved-ones and may help reduce overdose deaths through Narcan training and distribution.
It has been long established that achieving recovery from an alcohol or other drug use disorder is associated with increased biobehavioral stress. To enhance the chances of recovery, a variety of psychological, physical, social, and environmental resources, known as "recovery capital", are deemed important as they can help mitigate this high stress burden. A 50-item measure of recovery capital was developed (Assessment of Recovery Capital [ARC]), with 10 subscales; however, a briefer version could enhance further deployment in research and busy clinical/recovery support service settings. To help increase utility of the measure, the goal of the current study was to create a shorter version using Item Response Theory models.
Items were pooled from the original treatment samples from Scotland and Australia (N=450) for scale reduction. A reduced version was tested in an independent sample (N=123), and a Receiver Operating Characteristic Curve was constructed to determine optimal cut-off for sustained remission (>12months abstinence).
An abbreviated 10-item measure of recovery capital captured item representation from all 10 original subscales, was invariant across participant's locality and gender, had high internal consistency (α=.90), concurrent validity with the original measure (rpb=.90), and predictive validity with sustained remission using a cut-off score of 47.
The brief assessment of recovery capital 10-item version (BARC-10) concisely measures a single unified dimension of recovery capital that may have utility for researchers, clinicians, and recovery support services.
Research shows that digital social network sites (SNSs) may be valuable platforms to effect health behavior change. Little is known specifically about their ability to help address alcohol and other drug problems. This gap is noteworthy, given that individuals are already participating in existing, recovery-specific SNSs (hereafter referred to as recovery SNSs): online communities with the functionality of conventional SNSs (e.g., Facebook) that focus on substance use disorder (SUD) recovery. For example, InTheRooms.com (ITR) is a large, well-known recovery SNS that is available for free 24 hr/day via website and mobile smartphone applications. It offers recovery tools within a digital social milieu for over 430,000 registered users. To augment the knowledge base on recovery SNS platforms, we conducted an online survey of 123 ITR participants (M = 50.8 years old; 56.9% female; 93.5% White; M = 7.3 years of abstinence, range of 0-30 years; 65% cited alcohol as their primary substance). Respondents engaged with ITR, on average, for about 30 min/day several times each week. Daily meditation prompts and live online video meetings were the most commonly utilized resources. Participants generally endorsed ITR as a helpful platform, particularly with respect to increased abstinence/recovery motivation and self-efficacy. Compared to individuals abstinent for 1 or more years, those abstinent less than 1 year (including nonabstinent individuals) showed similar rates of engagement with ITR activities and similar levels of perceived benefit. Our findings suggest that longitudinal studies are warranted to examine the clinical utility of ITR and other recovery SNSs as SUD treatment adjuncts and/or recovery self-management tools.
Alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems confer a global, prodigious burden of disease, disability, and premature mortality. Even so, little is known regarding how, and by what means, individuals successfully resolve AOD problems. Greater knowledge would inform policy and guide service provision.
Probability-based survey of US adult population estimating: 1) AOD problem resolution prevalence; 2) lifetime use of "assisted" (i.e., treatment/medication, recovery services/mutual help) vs. "unassisted" resolution pathways; 3) correlates of assisted pathway use. Participants (response=63.4% of 39,809) responding "yes" to, "Did you use to have a problem with alcohol or drugs but no longer do?" assessed on substance use, clinical histories, problem resolution.
Weighted prevalence of problem resolution was 9.1%, with 46% self-identifying as "in recovery"; 53.9% reported "assisted" pathway use. Most utilized support was mutual-help (45.1%,SE=1.6), followed by treatment (27.6%,SE=1.4), and emerging recovery support services (21.8%,SE=1.4), including recovery community centers (6.2%,SE=0.9). Strongest correlates of "assisted" pathway use were lifetime AOD diagnosis (AOR=10.8[7.42-15.74], model R2=0.13), drug court involvement (AOR=8.1[5.2-12.6], model R2=0.10), and, inversely, absence of lifetime psychiatric diagnosis (AOR=0.3[0.2-0.3], model R2=0.10). Compared to those with primary alcohol problems, those with primary cannabis problems were less likely (AOR=0.7[0.5-0.9]) and those with opioid problems were more likely (AOR=2.2[1.4-3.4]) to use assisted pathways. Indices related to severity were related to assisted pathways (R2<0.03).
Tens of millions of Americans have successfully resolved an AOD problem using a variety of traditional and non-traditional means. Findings suggest a need for a broadening of the menu of self-change and community-based options that can facilitate and support long-term AOD problem resolution.
Compared with older adults, emerging adults (18-29 years old) entering treatment typically have less severe alcohol use consequences. Also, their unique clinical presentations (e.g., modest initial abstinence motivation) and developmental contexts (e.g., drinking-rich social networks) may make a straightforward implementation of treatments developed for adults less effective. Yet, this has seldom been examined empirically. This study was a secondary analysis of Project MATCH (Matching Alcoholism Treatments to Client Heterogeneity) data examining (a) overall differences between emerging adults and older adults (≥30 years old) on outcomes during treatment and at 1-year follow-up, and (b) whether emerging adults had poorer outcomes on any of the three Project MATCH treatments in particular.
Participants were 267 emerging adults and 1,459 older adults randomly assigned to individually delivered cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement therapy (MET), or 12-step facilitation (TSF). Multilevel growth curve models tested differences on percentage of days abstinent (PDA) and drinks per drinking day (DDD) by age group and treatment assignment.
During treatment, compared with older adults, emerging adults reported more DDD but similar PDA. Further, emerging adults assigned to TSF had less PDA and more DDD than emerging adults and older adults assigned to CBT or MET during treatment (i.e., emerging adults in TSF has poorer outcomes initially), but this matching effect was not evident at 1-year follow-up.
This study is among the first to test age group differences across three psychosocial interventions shown to be efficacious treatments for alcohol use disorder. Although emerging adults generally did as well as their older counterparts, they may require a more developmentally sensitive approach to bolster TSF effects during treatment.
Introduction: Smartphone apps are emerging as a promising tool to support recovery from and prevention of problematic alcohol use, yet it is unclear what type of apps are currently available in the public domain, and to what degree these apps use interactive tailoring or other dynamic features to meet users' specific needs.
Methods: We conducted a content analysis of Android apps for managing drinking available on Google Play (n=266), downloaded between November 21, 2014 and June 25, 2015. We recorded app popularity (>10,000 downloads) and user-rated quality (number of stars) from Google Play, and coded the apps on three domains (basic descriptors, functionality, use of dynamic features).
Results: In total, the reviewed 266 apps were downloaded at least 2,793,567 times altogether. The most common types of app were BAC calculators (37%), information provision apps (37%), tracking calendars (24%), and motivational tools (21%). Most apps were free (65%) or low in cost (mean=$3.76; SD=$5.80). Many apps provided at least some level of tailored feedback (60%), but the extent of tailoring was limited. Use of other dynamic features (i.e., push notifications, passive data collection) was largely absent. Univariate models predicting app popularity (i.e., >10,000 downloads vs. not) and user-rated quality (i.e., star rating) indicated that tailoring was positively related to popularity (OR=2.41 [1.30-4.46]), and the existence of time-based tailoring (e.g., tracking) was related to quality (b=0.48 [0.19-0.77]).
Conclusions: These apps have a wide public health reach with >2.7 million total combined downloads to date. A wide variety of apps exist, allowing persons interested in using apps to help them manage their drinking to choose from numerous types of supports. Tailoring, while related favorably to an app's popularity and user-rated quality, is limited in publicly available apps.