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E-cigarette use and beliefs among adult smokers with substance use disorders

El-Shahawy, Omar; Schatz, Daniel; Sherman, Scott; Shelley, Donna; Lee, Joshua D; Tofighi, Babak
Background/UNASSIGNED:We explored characteristics and beliefs associated with e-cigarette use patterns among cigarette smokers requiring inpatient detoxification for opioid and/or alcohol use disorder(s). Methods/UNASSIGNED:-test statistics, and logistic regression models were used. Results/UNASSIGNED: Conclusions/UNASSIGNED:E-cigarette use seems to be appealing to a small proportion of cigarette smokers with SUD. Although, dual smokers seem to use e-cigarettes for its cessation premise, they don't appear to be actively seeking to quit. E-cigarettes may offer a more effective method for harm reduction, further evaluation of incorporating it within smoking cessation protocols among patients in addiction treatment is needed.
PMCID:7772361
PMID: 33385062
ISSN: 2352-8532
CID: 4731972

Association between methadone or buprenorphine use during medically supervised opioid withdrawal and extended-release injectable naltrexone induction failure

Shulman, Matisyahu; Choo, Tse-Hwei; Scodes, Jennifer; Pavlicova, Martina; Wai, Jonathan; Haenlein, Patrick; Tofighi, Babak; Campbell, Aimee N C; Lee, Joshua D; Rotrosen, John; Nunes, Edward V
BACKGROUND:Extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX) is an effective maintenance treatment for opioid use disorder, but induction from active opioid use is a challenge as individuals must complete detoxification before induction. We aimed to determine whether use of methadone or buprenorphine, long acting agonist opioids commonly used for detoxification, were associated with decreased likelihood of induction onto XR-NTX. METHODS:We performed a secondary analysis of a large open-label randomized trial of buprenorphine versus XR-NTX for treatment of individuals with opioid use disorder recruited from eight short term residential (detoxification) units. This analysis only included individuals randomized to the XR-NTX arm of the trial (N = 283). The method of detoxification varied according to usual practices at each inpatient program. Logistic regression models estimating the log-odds of induction onto XR-NTX were fit, with detoxification regimen received as the predictor. RESULTS:In the unadjusted logistic regression model, detoxification drug received (either methadone or buprenorphine) was significantly associated with decreased likelihood of induction onto XR-NTX compared to receiving non-opioid detoxification (Overall: P < 0.001); buprenorphine vs non-opioid detoxification: OR (95% CI) = 0.32 (0.15-0.67); methadone vs non-opioid detoxification: OR (95% CI) = 0.23 (0.11-0.46). After controlling for site as a random effect, the association of detoxification drug with induction success lost statistical significance. CONCLUSIONS:Use of agonist medication during detoxification was associated with XR-NTX induction failure. Medication choice was determined by each site's clinical practice and therefore this association could not be separated from other site level variables. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION/BACKGROUND:NCT02032433.
PMCID:8004552
PMID: 33771287
ISSN: 1873-6483
CID: 4830232

Rural and small metro area naloxone-dispensing pharmacists' attitudes, experiences, and support for a frontline public health pharmacy role to increase naloxone uptake in New York State, 2019

Tofighi, Babak; Lekas, Helen-Maria; Williams, Sharifa Z; Martino, Daniele; Blau, Chloe; Lewis, Crystal F
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:The purpose of this study is to assess community pharmacists' attitudes and experiences related to naloxone dispensation and counseling in non-urban areas in New York State to better understand individual and structural factors that influence pharmacy provision of naloxone. MATERIALS AND METHODS/METHODS:The study conducted interviewer-administered semistructured surveys among community pharmacists in retail, independent, and supermarket pharmacies between October 2019 and December 2019. The 29-item survey ascertained pharmacists' demographic and practice characteristics; experiences and beliefs related to naloxone dispensation; and attitudes toward expansion of pharmacy services to include on-site public health services for persons who use opioids. The study used Chi square tests to determine associations between each characteristic and self-reported naloxone dispensation (any vs. none). RESULTS:A total of 60 of the 80 community pharmacists that the study team had approached agreed to participate. A majority were supportive of expanding pharmacy-based access to vaccinations (93.3%), on-site HIV testing, or referrals (75% and 96.7%, respectively), providing information on safe syringe use (93.3%) and disposal (98.3%), and referrals to medical/social services (88.3%), specifically substance use treatment (90%). A majority of pharmacist respondents denied negative impacts on business with over half reporting active naloxone dispensation (58.3%). Pharmacists dispensing naloxone were more likely to be multilingual (p < 0.03), and to specifically support on-site HIV testing (p < 0.02) than those who were not dispensing naloxone. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS:Community pharmacists were highly favorable of naloxone dispensation in rural and small metro area pharmacies in NY, and those fluent in additional language(s) and supportive of on-site HIV testing were associated with active naloxone dispensation. While active naloxone dispensation was low, pharmacists appear supportive of a "frontline public health provider" model, which could facilitate naloxone uptake and warrants large-scale investigation. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Rural and small metro area pharmacists are generally favorable of naloxone dispensation.
PMID: 34080543
ISSN: 1873-6483
CID: 4891742

Barriers to HIV and Hepatitis C care for people who inject drugs in Colombia

Borda, Juan P; Friedman, Hannah L; Castaño, Guillermo A; Rodríguez, Henry A; Muñoz, Carlos F; Tofighi, Babak
People who inject drugs (PWIDs) are a key population targeted in global efforts to increase HIV and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) diagnosis, linkage to care, and treatment retention. Colombia has experienced a significant increase in the incidence of HIV and HCV attributed to the alarming rise in injection drug use. The primary aim of this study was to identify factors influencing access to HIV and HCV care among PWIDs. Survey domains consisted of (1) sociodemographic characteristics; (2) history of HIV-HCV testing and infection status; (3) the 13-item questionnaire developed by Awad and colleagues to explore barriers to HIV and HCV testing, (4) the Barriers to Medical Care questionnaire; and (5) the Risk Assessment Battery. A total of 171 subjects completed the survey. A high proportion of participants reported past year testing for HIV (87%) and HCV (72.8%). However, most respondents elicited numerous barriers to obtaining information, referrals, and insurance coverage for accessing HIV and/or HCV care. Further studies are needed to identify scalable public health measures to overcome these barriers.
PMID: 33615915
ISSN: 1360-0451
CID: 4794202

A Telemedicine Buprenorphine Clinic to Serve New York City: Initial Evaluation of the NYC Public Hospital System's Initiative to Expand Treatment Access during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tofighi, Babak; McNeely, Jennifer; Walzer, Dalia; Fansiwala, Kush; Demner, Adam; Chaudhury, Chloe S; Subudhi, Ipsita; Schatz, Daniel; Reed, Timothy; Krawczyk, Noa
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility and clinical impact of telemedicine-based opioid treatment with buprenorphine-naloxone following the Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. METHODS:Participants included in this retrospective analysis consisted of adult New York City residents with opioid use disorder eligible for enrollment in the NYC Health+Hospitals Virtual Buprenorphine Clinic between March and May 2020 (n = 78). Follow-up data were comprised of rates of retention in treatment at 2 months, referrals to community treatment, and induction-related events. RESULTS:During the initial 9 weeks of clinic operations, the clinic inducted 78 patients on to buprenorphine-naloxone and completed 252 visits. Patient referrals included non-NYC Health + Hospitals (n = 22, 28.2%) and NYC Health + Hospitals healthcare providers (n = 17, 21.8%), homeless shelter staff (n = 13, 16.7%), and the NYC Health + Hospitals jail reentry program in Rikers Island (n = 11, 14.1%). At 8 weeks, 42 patients remained in care (53.8%), 21 were referred to a community treatment program (26.9%), and 15 were lost to follow-up (19.2%). No patients were terminated from care due to disruptive behavior or suspicions of diversion or misuse of Buprenorphine. Adverse clinical outcomes were uncommon and included persistent withdrawal symptoms (n = 8, 4.3%) and one nonfatal opioid overdose (0.5%). CONCLUSIONS:Telemedicine-based opioid treatment and unobserved home induction on buprenorphine-naloxone offers a safe and feasible approach to expand the reach of opioid use disorder treatment, primary care, and behavioral health for a highly vulnerable urban population during an unprecedented natural disaster.
PMID: 33560696
ISSN: 1935-3227
CID: 4779622

Barriers to treatment for opioid use disorder in Colombia

Borda, Juan P.; Friedman, Hannah; Buitrago, Jhon; Isaza, Maritza; Herrera, Paula; Krawczyk, Noa; Tofighi, Babak
ISI:000608550400001
ISSN: 1465-9891
CID: 4774042

Harmful smartphone applications promoting alcohol and illicit substance use: a review and content analysis in the United States

Ghassemlou, Shouron; Marini, Christina; Chemi, Chemi; Ranjit, Yerina S; Tofighi, Babak
Few studies have conducted analysis of commercially available smartphone applications designed to promote alcohol and illicit substance use. The aim of this review is to determine harmful themes of content in applications promoting alcohol and illicit substance use found using recovery app search terms. A systematic search, via Apple iTunes and Google Play stores, was conducted of applications targeting abstinence or reduced substance use in online app stores (n = 1,074 apps) in March 2018. We conducted a secondary analysis of apps encouraging alcohol and illicit substance use in July 2018. Our initial search yielded 904 apps pertaining to alcohol and illicit substance use. Four reviewers conducted a content analysis of 102 apps meeting inclusion criteria and assessed app design, delivery features, text, and multimedia content pertaining to substance use. The initial coding scheme was refined using a data-driven, iterative method grouping in thematic categories. The number of apps coded to a specific substance include: alcohol (n = 74), methamphetamine (n =13), cocaine (n = 15), heroin (n = 12), and marijuana (n = 15), with nine apps overlapping more than one substance. Key themes identified among apps included: (i) tangibility (alcohol home delivery services); (ii) social networks (builtin social media platforms promoting substance use); (iii) software design (gamification or simulation of substance use); and (iv) aesthetics (sexual or violent imagery). Despite claims of restricting apps promoting substance use, further efforts are needed by online app stores to reduce the availability of harmful content.
PMID: 33044528
ISSN: 1613-9860
CID: 4632462

Assessing perceptions about medications for opioid use disorder and Naloxone on Twitter

Tofighi, Babak; El Shahawy, Omar; Segoshi, Andrew; Moreno, Katerine P; Badiei, Beita; Sarker, Abeed; Krawczyk, Noa
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:Qualitative analysis of Twitter posts reveals key insights about user norms, informedness, perceptions, and experiences related to opioid use disorder (OUD). This paper characterizes Twitter message content pertaining to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) and Naloxone. METHODS:In-depth thematic analysis was conducted of 1,010 Twitter messages collected in June 2019. Our primary aim was to identify user perceptions and experiences related to harm reduction (e.g., Naloxone) and MOUD (e.g., sublingual and Extended-release buprenorphine, Extended-release naltrexone, Methadone). RESULTS:Tweets relating to OUD were most commonly authored by general Twitter users (43.8%), private residential or detoxification programs (24.6%), healthcare providers (e.g., physicians, first responders; 4.3%), PWUOs (4.7%) and their caregivers (2.9%). Naloxone was mentioned in 23.8% of posts and authored most commonly by general users (52.9%), public health experts (7.4%), and nonprofit/advocacy organizations (6.6%). Sentiment was mostly positive about Naloxone (73.6%). Commonly mentioned MOUDs in our search consisted of Buprenorphine-naloxone (13.8%), Methadone (5.7%), Extended-release naltrexone (4.1%), and Extended-release buprenorphine (0.01%). Tweets authored by PWUOs (4.7%) most commonly related to factors influencing access to MOUD or adverse events related to MOUD (70.8%), negative or positive experiences with illicit substance use (25%), policies related to expanding access to treatments for OUD (8.3%), and stigma experienced by healthcare providers (8.3%). CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Twitter is utilized by a diverse array of individuals, including PWUOs, and offers an innovative approach to evaluate experiences and themes related to illicit opioid use, MOUD, and harm reduction.
PMID: 32835641
ISSN: 1545-0848
CID: 4575212

Detecting illicit opioid content on Twitter

Tofighi, Babak; Aphinyanaphongs, Yindalon; Marini, Christina; Ghassemlou, Shouron; Nayebvali, Peyman; Metzger, Isabel; Raghunath, Ananditha; Thomas, Shailin
INTRODUCTION AND AIMS/OBJECTIVE:This article examines the feasibility of leveraging Twitter to detect posts authored by people who use opioids (PWUO) or content related to opioid use disorder (OUD), and manually develop a multidimensional taxonomy of relevant tweets. DESIGN AND METHODS/METHODS:Twitter messages were collected between June and October 2017 (n = 23 827) and evaluated using an inductive coding approach. Content was then manually classified into two axes (n = 17 420): (i) user experience regarding accessing, using, or recovery from illicit opioids; and (ii) content categories (e.g. policies, medical information, jokes/sarcasm). RESULTS:The most prevalent categories consisted of jokes or sarcastic comments pertaining to OUD, PWUOs or hypothetically using illicit opioids (63%), informational content about treatments for OUD, overdose prevention or accessing self-help groups (20%), and commentary about government opioid policy or news related to opioids (17%). Posts by PWUOs centered on identifying illicit sources for procuring opioids (i.e. online, drug dealers; 49%), symptoms and/or strategies to quell opioid withdrawal symptoms (21%), and combining illicit opioid use with other substances, such as cocaine or benzodiazepines (17%). State and public health experts infrequently posted content pertaining to OUD (1%). DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS/CONCLUSIONS:Twitter offers a feasible approach to identify PWUO. Further research is needed to evaluate the efficacy of Twitter to disseminate evidence-based content and facilitate linkage to treatment and harm reduction services.
PMID: 32202005
ISSN: 1465-3362
CID: 4357472

Engagement in the Hepatitis C care continuum among people who use drugs

Tofighi, Babak; Lee, Joshua D; Sindhu, Selena S; Chemi, Chemi; Leonard, Noelle R
Despite high rates of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among people who use drugs (PWUDs), access to the HCV care continuum combined with the receipt of medications for addiction treatment in primary care settings remains suboptimal. A qualitative study was conducted among adults admitted for inpatient detoxification for opioid use disorder (OUD) in New York City (n=23) to assess barriers and facilitators with HCV prevention, screening, treatment, interactions with primary care providers, and experiences with integrated care approaches. Study findings yielded six major themes related to HCV care. Major gaps persist in knowledge regarding HCV harm reduction strategies, voluntary HCV testing services, and eligibility for HCV treatment. Treatment coordination challenges reinforce the importance of enhancing linkages to HCV care in key access-points utilized by PWUDs (e.g., emergency rooms, specialty addiction treatment settings). Peer networks combined with frequent patient-physician communication were elicited as important factors in facilitating linkage to HCV care. Additional care coordination needs in primary care settings included access to integrated treatment of HCV and OUD, and administrative support for enrollment in Medicaid, subsidized housing, and access to transportation vouchers.
PMCID:7540221
PMID: 33041652
ISSN: 1465-9891
CID: 4632382