Background: Technology-based computational strategies that leverage social network site (SNS) data to detect substance use are promising screening tools but rely on the presence of sufficient data to detect risk if it is present. A better understanding of the association between substance use and SNS participation may inform the utility of these technology-based screening tools.
Objective: This paper aims to examine associations between substance use and Instagram posts and to test whether such associations differ as a function of age, gender, and race/ethnicity.
Methods: Participants with an Instagram account were recruited primarily via Clickworker (N=3117). With participant permission and Instagram’s approval, participants’ Instagram photo posts were downloaded with an application program interface. Participants’ past-year substance use was measured with an adapted version of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Quick Screen. At-risk drinking was defined as at least one past-year instance having “had more than a few alcoholic drinks a day,” drug use was defined as any use of nonprescription drugs, and prescription drug use was defined as any nonmedical use of prescription medications. We used logistic regression to examine the associations between substance use and any Instagram posts and negative binomial regression to examine the associations between substance use and number of Instagram posts. We examined whether age (18-25, 26-38, 39+ years), gender, and race/ethnicity moderated associations in both logistic and negative binomial models. All differences noted were significant at the .05 level.
Results: Compared with no at-risk drinking, any at-risk drinking was associated with both a higher likelihood of any Instagram posts and a higher number of posts, except among Hispanic/Latino individuals, in whom at-risk drinking was associated with a similar number of posts. Compared with no drug use, any drug use was associated with a higher likelihood of any posts but was associated with a similar number of posts. Compared with no prescription drug use, any prescription drug use was associated with a similar likelihood of any posts and was associated with a lower number of posts only among those aged 39 years and older. Of note, main effects showed that being female compared with being male and being Hispanic/Latino compared with being White were significantly associated with both a greater likelihood of any posts and a greater number of posts.
Conclusions: Researchers developing computational substance use risk detection models using Instagram or other SNS data may wish to consider our findings showing that at-risk drinking and drug use were positively associated with Instagram participation, while prescription drug use was negatively associated with Instagram participation for middle- and older-aged adults. As more is learned about SNS behaviors among those who use substances, researchers may be better positioned to successfully design and interpret innovative risk detection approaches.
Substance use, misuse, and disorders (SUDs) are estimated to cost the United States over $500 billion annually. While there are effective SUD behavioral interventions and treatments, there is mounting evidence that technology‐based, digital recovery support services (D‐RSS) have the potential to prevent SUD, complement formal treatment, and improve individual recovery‐related outcomes. This preregistered systematic review focuses on D‐RSS that provide SUD recovery support through websites, smartphone applications, recovery social network sites, or any combination thereof. Data sources included studies found in searching CINAHL Plus (EBSCO), EMBASE, MEDLINE (EBSCO), Index Medicus/MEDLINE (NLM), Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection (EBSCO), PsycINFO (ProQuest), ProQuest Psychology Journals (ProQuest), and retrieved references. Observational, mixed‐methods, qualitative, or experimental studies, published in English, between January 1985 and January 2019, that characterized users and recovery‐related outcomes of any D‐RSS were included. The initial search yielded 5,278 abstracts. After removing duplicates, as well as reviewing titles and abstracts and removing studies not indicating an examination of recovery (i.e., treatment or prevention focused) and digital supports, 78 abstracts remained. Final included studies (n = 22) characterized international users of multiple D‐RSS types, including websites, digital recovery forums, recovery social networking sites, smartphone applications, and short messaging service texting programs. Experimental evidence was lacking as most studies were observational or qualitative in nature (n = 18). The review suggests that the evidence base for most D‐RSS is still lacking in terms of demonstrating benefit for recovery‐related outcomes. Descriptively, D‐RSS have high usage rates among engaged participants, across a range of SUD and recovery typologies and phenotypes, with 11% of U.S. adults who have resolved a SUD reporting lifetime engaging with at least one D‐RSS. D‐RSS deployment can help ameliorate barriers related to accessibility and availability of more traditional recovery supports, and may well be a valuable tool in addressing SUD and supporting recovery as uptake increases across the United States.
The attitudes of individuals who receive, provide, or influence opioid use disorder (OUD) medication services, also called stakeholders, may enhance or hinder their dissemination and adoption. Individuals who have resolved a significant alcohol or other drug (AOD) problem are a group of key stakeholders whose OUD medication attitudes are not well understood empirically. This group subsumes, but is not limited to, individuals who identify as being "in recovery." Analyses leveraged the National Recovery Study, a geo-demographically representative survey of U.S. adults who resolved a significant AOD problem (N = 1,946). We examined the prevalence of positive, neutral, and negative attitudes toward agonists, such as buprenorphine/naloxone and methadone, and antagonists, such as oral and extended-release depot injection naltrexone. Single-predictor logistic regression models tested for demographic, clinical, and recovery-related correlates of these attitudes and, for those significant at the .1 level, multivariable-predictor logistic regression models tested unique associations between these correlates and attitudes. Results showed that participants were equally likely to hold positive (21.4 [18.9-24.0]%) and negative agonist (23.8 [21.2-26.7]%) attitudes but significantly more likely to hold negative (30.3 [27.4-33.3]%) than positive antagonist attitudes (18.0 [15.9-20.4]%). Neutral attitudes were most commonly endorsed for both agonists (54.8 [51.6-57.9]%) and antagonists (51.7 [48.5-54.8]%). For agonists, more recent AOD problem resolution was a unique predictor of positive attitude, whereas Black and Hispanic races/ethnicities, compared with White, were unique predictors of negative attitude. For antagonists, older age group (45-59 and 60 + vs. 18-29 years), lifetime opioid antagonist medication prescription, and past 90-day non-12-step mutual-help attendance were unique predictors of positive attitude, whereas greater spirituality was a unique predictor of negative attitude. This population-level study of U.S. adults who resolved an AOD problem showed that agonist attitudes may be more positive than anecdotal evidence suggests. Certain characteristics and experiences, however, highlight a greater likelihood of negative attitudes, suggesting these factors may be potential barriers to OUD medication adoption.
Alcohol and other drug (AOD) use disorders exact a prodigious annual economic toll in the United States (U.S.), driven largely by lost productivity due to illness-related absenteeism, underemployment, and unemployment. While recovery from AOD disorders is associated with improved health and functioning, little is known specifically about increases in productivity due to new or resumed employment and who may continue to struggle. Also, because employment can buffer relapse risk by providing structure, meaning, purpose, and income, greater knowledge in this regard would inform relapse prevention efforts as well as employment-related policy. We conducted a cross-sectional, nationally representative survey of the U.S. adult population assessing persons who reported having resolved an AOD problem (n = 2002). Weighted employment, unemployment, retirement, and disability statistics were compared to the general U.S. population. Logistic and linear regression models tested for differences in employment and unemployment among demographic categories and measures of well-being. Compared to the general U.S. population, individuals who had resolved an AOD problem were less likely to be employed or retired, and more likely to be unemployed and disabled. Certain recovering subgroups, including those identifying as black and those with histories of multiple arrests, were further disadvantaged. Conversely, certain factors, such as a higher level of education and less prior criminal justice involvement were associated with lower unemployment risk. Despite being in recovery from an AOD problem, individuals continue to struggle with obtaining employment, particularly black Americans and those with prior criminal histories. Given the importance of employment in addiction recovery and relapse prevention, more research is needed to identify employment barriers so that they can be effectively addressed.
Parents of youth with substance use disorders (SUDs) often play a vital role in successful treatment, yet little is known about interventions designed to help them cope with the stress of this role, especially as delivered in real-world settings. Evaluations of such interventions could potentially inform adaptations to enhance their clinical utility. Parents of youth with SUDs attending a clinician-led group based on the CRAFT model completed measures at intake, 4- and 8-weeks. Parents (n=545) attended an average of 3.7 sessions; 12% completed all 8 weeks. Analysis of demographic predictors of retention indicated that older parents attended more sessions on average. Overall stress did not change across time points (p>0.05). However, parents reported improvement in parent empowerment as measured by the Parent Empowerment Scale, a novel measure of parent empowerment in coping with their child's SUD (p<0.001). Clinician led evidence-informed group services may improve parents' perceived ability to help their child with their SUD. Low retention rates highlight the need to better understand the factors contributing to retention, and the potential value of adaptations to shorten the intervention. Programs serving youth with SUDs may wish to consider integrating such group services to support parents.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic and related social distancing public health recommendations will have indirect consequences for individuals with current and remitted substance use disorder (SUD). Not only will stressors increase risk for symptom exacerbation and/or relapse, but individuals will also have limited service access during this critical time. Individuals with SUD are using free, online digital recovery support services (D-RSS) that leverage peer-to-peer connection (i.e., social-online D-RSS) which simultaneously help these individuals to access support and adhere to public health guidelines. Barriers to SUD treatment and recovery support service access, however, are not unique to the COVID-19 epoch. The pandemic creates an opportunity to highlight problems that will persist beyond its immediate effects, and to offer potential solutions that might help address these long-standing, systemic issues. To help providers and other key stakeholders effectively support those interested in, or who might benefit from, participation in free, social-online D-RSS, this review outlines the following: 1) theories of expected therapeutic benefits from, and potential drawbacks of social-online D-RSS participation; 2) a typology that can be used to describe and classify D-RSS; 3) a D-RSS "case study" to illustrate how to apply the theory and typology; 4) what is known empirically about social-online D-RSS; and 5) whether and how to engage individuals with these online resources.
Method: Narrative review combining research and theory on both in-person recovery supports and social-online D-RSS.
Results: Studies examining in-person recovery support services, such as AA and other mutual-help organizations, combined with theory about how social-online D-RSS might confer benefit, suggest these digital supports may engage individuals with SUD and mobilize salutary change in similar ways. While people may use in-person and digital supports simultaneously, when comparing the two modalities, communication science and telemedicine group therapy data suggest that D-RSS may not provide the same magnitude of benefit as in-person services. D-RSS can be classified based on the a) type of service, b) type of platform, c) points of access, and d) organizations responsible for their delivery. Research has not yet rigorously tested the effectiveness of social-online D-RSS specifically, though existing data suggest that those who use these services generally find their participation to be helpful. Content analyses suggest that these services are likely to facilitate social support and unlikely to expose individuals to harmful situations.
Conclusions: When in-person treatment and recovery support services are limited, as is the case during the COVID-19 pandemic, expected therapeutic benefits and emerging data, taken together, suggest providers, mentors, and other community leaders may wish to refer individuals with current and remitted SUD to free, social-online D-RSS. Given the array of available services in the absence of best practice guidelines, we recommend that when making D-RSS referrals, stakeholders familiarize themselves with theorized benefits and drawbacks of participation, use a typology to describe and classify services, and integrate current empirical knowledge, while relying on trusted federal, academic, and national practice organization resource lists.
Background: Nicotine addiction through cigarette use is highly prevalent among individuals suffering from alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems and remains a prominent risk factor for morbidity, mortality, and healthcare utilization. Whereas most people agree that providing smoking cessation services (SCS) to this vulnerable population is vitally important, the timing of such service provision has been hotly debated, including whether such services should be excluded, available (but not offered), offered, or fully integrated into AOD treatment settings. Important stakeholders in this debate are those in recovery from AOD problems who, in addition to having often been AOD treatment patients themselves, frequently hold influential clinical, research or policy positions and thus can influence the likelihood of SCS provision. This study sought to understand the attitudes of this important stakeholder group in providing SCS in AOD treatment settings.
Method: We assessed a national cross-sectional sample of individuals in recovery from an AOD problem (n = 1973) on whether SCS should be: a. excluded; b. available; c. offered; or d. integrated into AOD services. We estimated associations between participants' demographic, clinical, and recovery support service use history, and SCS attitude variables, using multinomial logistic regression.
Results: Roughly equal proportions endorsed each attitudinal position (23.5% excluded, 25% available, 24.6% offered; 26.9% integrated). Correlates of holding more positive SCS implementation attitudes were Black race; primary substance other than alcohol, greater intensity of former or recent smoking, and less mutual-help organization participation; older individuals achieving recovery between 30 and 40 years ago also had more positive attitudes toward integrating SCS.
Conclusions: About half of those sampled were either against SCS inclusion in AOD settings or were in favor of making it "available" only, but not in offering it or integrating it. This oppositional pattern was accentuated particularly among those with primary alcohol problem histories and those participating in mutual-help organizations. Given the universally well-known negative health effects of smoking, understanding more about the exact reasons why certain groups of recovering persons may endorse such positions is an area worthy of further investigation, as it may uncover potential barriers to SCS implementation in AOD treatment settings.