Peer recovery support services (PRSS) are increasingly being employed in a range of clinical settings to assist individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) and co-occurring psychological disorders. PRSS are peer-driven mentoring, education, and support ministrations delivered by individuals who, because of their own experience with SUD and SUD recovery, are experientially qualified to support peers currently experiencing SUD and associated problems. This systematic review characterizes the existing experimental, quasi-experimental, single- and multi-group prospective and retrospective, and cross-sectional research on PRSS. Findings to date tentatively speak to the potential of peer supports across a number of SUD treatment settings, as evidenced by positive findings on measures including reduced substance use and SUD relapse rates, improved relationships with treatment providers and social supports, increased treatment retention, and greater treatment satisfaction. These findings, however, should be viewed in light of many null findings to date, as well as significant methodological limitations of the existing literature, including inability to distinguish the effects of peer recovery support from other recovery support activities, heterogeneous populations, inconsistency in the definitions of peer workers and recovery coaches, and lack of any, or appropriate comparison groups. Further, role definitions for PRSS and the complexity of clinical boundaries for peers working in the field represent important implementation challenges presented by this novel class of approaches for SUD management. There remains a need for further rigorous investigation to establish the efficacy, effectiveness, and cost-benefits of PRSS. Ultimately, such research may also help solidify PRSS role definitions, identify optimal training guidelines for peers, and establish for whom and under what conditions PRSS are most effective.
To identify substance and psychiatric predictors of overdose (OD) in young people with substance use disorders (SUDs) who received treatment.
We conducted a retrospective review of consecutive medical records of young people who were evaluated in a SUD program between 2012 and 2013 and received treatment. An independent group of patients from the same program who received treatment and had a fatal OD were also included in the sample. OD was defined as substance use associated with a significant impairment in level of consciousness without intention of self-harm, or an ingestion of a substance that was reported as a suicide attempt. t Tests, Pearson's χ2 , and Fisher's exact tests were performed to identify predictors of OD after receiving treatment.
After initial evaluation, 127 out of 200 patients followed up for treatment and were included in the sample. Ten (8%) of these patients had a nonfatal OD. Nine patients who received treatment and had a fatal OD were also identified. The sample's mean age was 20.2 ± 2.8 years. Compared with those without OD, those with OD were more likely to have a history of intravenous drug use (odds ratio [OR]: 36.5, P < .001) and mood disorder not otherwise specified (OR: 4.51, P = .01).
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:
Intravenous drug use and mood dysregulation increased risk for OD in young people who received SUD treatment.
It is important to identify clinically relevant risk factors for OD specific to young people in SUD treatment due to the risk for death associated with OD. (Am J Addict 2019;28:382-389).
The concept of recovery has become an organizing paradigm in the addiction field globally. Although a convenient label to describe the broad phenomena of change when individuals resolve significant alcohol or other drug (AOD) problems, little is known regarding the prevalence and correlates of adopting such an identity. Greater knowledge would inform clinical, public health, and policy communication efforts. We conducted a cross-sectional nationally representative survey (N = 39,809) of individuals resolving a significant AOD problem (n = 1,995). Weighted analyses estimated prevalence and tested correlates of label adoption. Qualitative analyses summarized reasons for prior recovery identity adoption/nonadoption. The proportion of individuals currently identifying as being in recovery was 45.1%, never in recovery 39.5%, and no longer in recovery 15.4%. Predictors of identifying as being in recovery included formal treatment and mutual-help participation, and history of being diagnosed with AOD or other psychiatric disorders. Qualitative analyses regarding reasons for no/prior recovery identity found themes related to low AOD problem severity, viewing the problem as resolved, or having little difficulty of stopping. Despite increasing use of the recovery label and concept, many resolving AOD problems do not identify in this manner. These appear to be individuals who have not engaged with the formal or informal treatment systems. To attract, engage, and accommodate this large number of individuals who add considerably to the AOD-related global burden of disease, AOD public health communication efforts may need to consider additional concepts and terminology beyond recovery (e.g., "problem resolution") to meet a broader range of preferences, perspectives and experiences.
Alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment and recovery research typically have focused narrowly on changes in alcohol/drug use (e.g., "percent days abstinent") with little attention on changes in functioning or well-being. Furthermore, little is known about whether and when such changes may occur, and for whom, as people progress in recovery. Greater knowledge would improve understanding of recovery milestones and points of vulnerability and growth.
National, probability-based, cross-sectional sample of U.S. adults who screened positive to the question, "Did you used to have a problem with alcohol or drugs but no longer do?" (Response = 63.4% from 39,809; final weighted sample n = 2,002). Linear, spline, and quadratic regressions tested relationships between time in recovery and 5 measures of well-being: quality of life, happiness, self-esteem, recovery capital, and psychological distress, over 2 temporal horizons: the first 40 years and the first 5 years, after resolving an AOD problem and tested moderators (sex, race, primary substance) of effects. Locally Weighted Scatterplot Smoothing regression was used to explore turning points.
In general, in the 40-year horizon there were initially steep increases in indices of well-being (and steep drops in distress), during the first 6 years, followed by shallower increases. In the 5-year horizon, significant drops in self-esteem and happiness were observed initially during the first year followed by increases. Moderator analyses examining primary substance found that compared to alcohol and cannabis, those with opioid or other drugs (e.g., stimulants) had substantially lower recovery capital in the early years; mixed race/native Americans tended to exhibit poorer well-being compared to White people; and women consistently reported lower indices of well-being over time than men.
Recovery from AOD problems is associated with dynamic monotonic improvements in indices of well-being with the exception of the first year where self-esteem and happiness initially decrease, before improving. In early recovery, women, certain racial/ethnic groups, and those suffering from opioid and stimulant-related problems appear to face ongoing challenges that suggest a need for greater assistance.
Online technologies are well integrated into the day-to-day lives of individuals with alcohol and other drug (i.e., substance use) problems. Interventions that leverage online technologies have been shown to enhance outcomes for these individuals. To date, however, little is known about how those with substance use problems naturally engage with such platforms. In addition, the scientific literatures on health behavior change facilitated by technology and harms driven by technology engagement have developed largely independent of one another. In this secondary analysis of the National Recovery Study (NRS), which provides a geo-demographically representative sample of US adults who resolved a substance use problem, we examined a) the weighted prevalence estimate of individuals who engaged with online technologies to "cut down on substance use, abstain from substances, or strengthen one's recovery" (i.e., recovery-related use of online technology, or ROOT), b) clinical/recovery correlates of ROOT, controlling for demographic covariates, and c) the unique association between ROOT and self-reported history of internet addiction. Results showed one in ten (11%) NRS participants reported ROOT. Significant correlates included greater current psychological distress, younger age of first substance use, as well as history of anti-craving/anti-relapse medication, recovery support services, and drug court participation. Odds of lifetime internet addiction were 4 times greater for those with ROOT (vs. no ROOT). These data build on studies of technology-based interventions, highlighting the reach of ROOT, and therefore, the potential for a large, positive impact on substance-related harms in the US.
Emerging adults (ages 18-29) have the highest rates of both harmful drinking and participation on social network sites (SNSs) compared to adolescents and older adults. In fact, greater SNS participation has been shown to predict greater alcohol use. Little is known, however, about noncollege samples, substances apart from alcohol, and SNSs other than Facebook. Furthermore, few studies have examined what might moderate any observed influence of SNS participation on substance use. In this study, we used hierarchical linear and negative binomial regression analyses to examine the unique associations between Instagram participation and alcohol as well as marijuana use, controlling statistically for demographic characteristics, peer norms, and social status, in a community sample of emerging adults (N = 194). We also tested whether peer belonging or motives for Instagram participation moderated these relationships. Results showed that Instagram participation was positively related to alcohol use only for those with high levels of peer belonging. The initial negative association between Instagram participation and marijuana use disappeared once peer norms and social status were included. Peer norms were positively related to both alcohol and marijuana use, while peer belonging was positively related to marijuana use. Peer belonging appears to be an important variable in the study of SNSs and substance use among emerging adults. Future work might test the somewhat counterintuitive hypotheses raised by these findings that peer belonging sensitizes individuals to SNS influences on drinking and could be a marker of greater marijuana use.
Empirical evidence indicates that, in general, treatments which systematically engage adults with freely available twelve-step mutual-help organizations (TSMHOs), such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) often enhance treatment outcomes while reducing health care costs. Also evident is that TSMHOs facilitate recovery through mechanisms similar to those mobilized by professional interventions, such as increased abstinence self-efficacy and motivation, as well changing social networks. Much less is known, however, regarding the utility of these resources specifically for young adults and whether the TSMHO mechanisms are similar or different for young adults. This article provides a narrative review of the clinical and public health utility of TSMHOs for young adults, and summarizes theory and empirical research regarding how young adults benefit from TSMHOs.
Results indicate that, compared to older adults, young adults are less likely to attend TSMHOs and attend less frequently, but derive similar benefit. The mechanisms, however, by which TSMHOs help, differ in nature and magnitude. Also, young adults appear to derive greater benefit initially from meetings attended by similar aged peers, but this benefit diminishes over time.
Findings offer developmentally specific insights into TSMHO dynamics for young adults and inform knowledge of broader recovery needs and challenges.
The policy landscape regarding the legal status of cannabis (CAN) in the US and globally is changing rapidly. Research on CAN has lagged behind in many areas, none more so than in understanding how individuals suffering from the broad range of cannabis-related problems resolve those problems, and how their characteristics and problem resolution pathways are similar to or different from alcohol [ALC] or other drugs [OTH]. Greater knowledge could inform national policy debates as well as the nature and scope of any additional needed services as CAN population exposure increases.
National, probability-based, cross-sectional sample of the US non-institutionalized adult population was conducted July-August 2016. Sample consisted of those who responded "yes" to the screening question, "Did you used to have a problem with alcohol or drugs but no longer do?" (63.4% response rate from 39,809 screened adults). Final weighted sample (N = 2002) was mostly male (60.0% [1.53%]), aged 25-49 (45.2% [1.63%]), non-Hispanic White (61.4% [1.64%]), employed (47.7% [1.61%]). Analyses compared CAN to ALC and OTH on demographic, clinical, treatment and recovery support services utilization, and quality of life (QOL) indices.
9.1% of the US adult population reported resolving a significant substance problem, and of these, 10.97% were CAN. Compared to ALC (M = 49.79) or OTH (M = 43.80), CAN were significantly younger (M = 39.41, p < 0.01), had the earliest onset of regular use (CAN M = 16.89, ALC M = 19.02, OTH M = 23.29, p < 0.01), and resolved their problem significantly earlier (CAN M = 28.87, ALC M = 37.86, OTH M = 33.06, p < 0.01). Compared to both ALC and OTH, CAN were significantly less likely to report use of inpatient treatment and used substantially less outpatient treatment, overall (p < 0.01), although CAN resolving problems more recently were more likely to have used outpatient treatment (p < 0.01). Lifetime attendance at mutual-help meetings (e.g., AA) was similar, but CAN (M = 1.67) had substantially lower recent attendance compared to ALC (M = 7.70) and OTH (M = 7.65). QOL indices were similar across groups.
Approximately 2.4 million Americans have resolved a significant cannabis problem. Compared to ALC and OTH, the pattern of findings for CAN suggest similarities but also some notable differences in characteristics and problem resolution pathways particularly regarding earlier problem offset and less use of formal and informal services. Within a shifting policy landscape, research is needed to understand how increases in population exposure and potency may affect the nature and magnitude of differences observed in this preliminary study.
Overdoses (ODs) are among the leading causes of death in youth with substance use disorders (SUDs). Our aim was to identify the prevalence of OD and characteristics associated with a history of OD in youth presenting for SUD outpatient care.
A systematic retrospective medical record review was conducted of consecutive psychiatric and SUD evaluations for patients aged 16 to 26 years with DSM-IV-TR criteria SUD at entry into an outpatient SUD treatment program for youth between January 2012 and June 2013. Unintentional OD was defined as substance use without intention of self-harm that was associated with a significant impairment in level of consciousness. Intentional OD was defined as ingestion of a substance that was reported as a suicide attempt. T tests, Pearson χ² tests, and Fisher exact tests were performed to evaluate characteristics associated with a history of OD.
We examined the medical records of 200 patients (157 males and 43 females) with a mean ± SD age of 20.2 ± 2.8 years. At intake, 58 patients (29%) had a history of OD, and 62% of those patients had a history of unintentional OD only (n = 36). Youth with ≥ 2 SUDs were 3 times more likely to have a history of OD compared to youth with 1 SUD (all P < .05). Compared to those without a history of OD, those with an OD were more likely to be female and have lifetime histories of alcohol, cocaine, amphetamine, anxiety, depressive, and/or eating disorders (all P < .05).
High rates of OD exist in treatment-seeking youth with SUD. OD was associated with more SUDs and psychiatric comorbidity.
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.