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Tag: recovery support

The adoption and sustainability of digital therapeutics in justice systems: A pilot feasibility study.

Wilde JA, Zawislak K, Sawyer-Morris G, Hulsey J, Molfenter T, Taxman FS. The adoption and sustainability of digital therapeutics in justice systems: A pilot feasibility study. Int J Drug Policy. 2023;116:104024. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2023.104024

This article reports the adoption and sustainability of the Connections App (CHESS Health, 2018) in self-referred and justice-referred participants. The Connections App is an evidence-based smartphone app that uses community engagement and cognitive behavioral therapy programming to support patients in recovery from substance use disorder (SUD). Participants were either given access to the Connections App through justice-related programs or by voluntary enrollment in the study. Participation was completely voluntary in both groups and included free access to the Connections app including in-app tools such as Computer-Based Treatment for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT4CBT) and access to external access to recovery support services. Of the 1973 participants offered use of the Connections app only 796 individuals (40.3%) downloaded the app (declined: justice-referred n = 994, self-referred n = 183). Of those that downloaded the app, less than half (n = 350) engaged with the app. Most of the self-referred participants (77.9%) engaged with the app, whereas less than half (36.2%) of the justice-referred participants used the app once downloaded. When comparing the groups across engagement type, the number of participants who used the app alone was the same between referral types. In contrast to this a greater proportion of the justice-referred subjects used the additional external recovery support services compared to self-referred participants (p < 0.001). Referral type did not impact the number of activities completed or days of maintained app usage. While brief addiction monitor (BAM) scores were reported, a third of participants (engaged users, n = 350) only completed the assessment one of the possible 43 times (n = 111). Approximately 35% completed the BAM more than once (n = 121), with only 3.4% completing it more than 20 times (n = 12). Both groups showed the benefits of continued use of the Connections app, as demonstrated by BAM score improvement over time using the app. Future research is needed to address the implementation issues revealed during site debriefing that hindered downloads in justice-referred populations.


Despite Room for Improvement, Telehealth Assists Incarcerated Patients

Article Excerpt: A report from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) described the various state-level efforts to expand access to telehealth that benefited justice-involved and incarcerated patients with substance use disorders (SUDs) throughout the pandemic, along with the lessons to guide future use. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people with SUDs experienced many adverse outcomes, including healthcare access barriers along with buying drugs off the street and using them alone… To address these issues, federal and state governments took action to remove telehealth access barriers and support those with SUDs.

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Article Source: mHealth Intelligence


AI Plus Mobile App May Help With Smoking Cessation

Article Excerpt: A new artificial intelligence (AI)-powered mobile app can help individuals quit smoking, according to the results of a recent study published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research. The app uses machine learning to collect information on the location, timing, and triggers of past smoking events to curate messages that assist smokers in managing their urges. Prior to this app, there had been no other ways to provide support to help smokers manage social situations and urges after quitting, Felix Naughton, PhD, MSc, a primary researcher and professor of health psychology at the University of East Anglia School of Health Sciences in England, said in a statement.

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Article Source: Pharmacy Times


Expanding Telemedicine For Opioid Use Disorder

Article Excerpt: Under the medical supervision of University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) Professor Eric Weintraub, MD, the mobile treatment team sees about 150 clients a month in Caroline County. With the addition of a second mobile unit, services will be extended to patients in neighboring Talbot County, and in the Chestertown area of Kent County… Weintraub, who is an associate professor of psychiatry at UMSOM, has helped develop innovative programs in providing medication assisted treatment to underserved rural areas via telemedicine across Maryland.

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Article Source: University of Maryland News


There’s Medicine to Quiet His Opioid Cravings. Getting It Can Be Hard

Article Excerpt: Hargrove’s story illustrates the challenges often faced by those struggling with opioid addiction — especially people of color — in receiving buprenorphine, a medication that public health experts believe should play a critical role in curbing an addiction-and-overdose crisis fueled by fentanyl. His overdose happened this month as a newly published national study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health showed that White patients are up to 80 percent more likely to receive buprenorphine than Black patients, and that Black patients receive a more limited supply.

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Article Source: The Washington Post


Supporting people affected by problematic alcohol, substance use and other behaviours under pandemic conditions: A pragmatic evaluation of how SMART recovery Australia responded to COVID-19

Beck AK, Larance B, Baker AL, Deane FP, Manning V, Hides L, & Kelly PJ. (2023). Supporting people affected by problematic alcohol, substance use and other behaviours under pandemic conditions: A pragmatic evaluation of how SMART recovery Australia responded to COVID-19. Addictive Behaviors, 139, 107577–107577.

Researchers conducted a pragmatic evaluation of the scaling up of online, group-based addiction services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The RE-AIM framework (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, Maintenance) was applied to analyze the SMART Recovery Australia (SRAU) online program for 12 months and at 2-month follow-up. SRAU is a mutual-help program based on a four-point curriculum (building motivation, coping with urges, problem solving, and lifestyle balance) and led by a trained facilitator via Zoom. Before the pandemic, there were only 6 online groups and SRAU aimed to expand this service during the pandemic by developing 100 groups. Data was collected by online self-report participant surveys, Zoom data analytics on meetings and attendees, and administrative logs of third-party providers. During the 12-month evaluation period, the number of online groups increased from 6 to 132. A total of 2786 meetings were delivered with 41,752 attendees. Participant survey results (N=1052) showed that 91% of participants were highly engaged and 92% had positive experiences with the online group meetings. Further, 91% of participants who had experienced the in-person format rated their online experience as equivalent or better. However, 21% reported technical difficulties. The average number of meetings delivered and number of attendees per month were sustained at the two-month follow-up. Overall, SRAU achieved the goal of establishing at least 100 online mutual-help groups in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Results support the acceptability and sustainability of delivering groups online for substance use behaviors.


‘Simple but Effective’: Colombia Turns to Algorithms to Bolster Mental Health Services

Article Excerpt: At the age of 70, Carmen Suárez* is finally coming to terms with an event that happened five decades ago. It was a trauma that changed the course of her life and left her with depression. “I used to cry uncontrollably,” she says. “I was told to seek help, but I had neither the time nor the money. I realise now that I was stuck reliving the incident.” Over the course of a year, the Diada project (detection and integrated care for depression and alcohol use), an innovative project aimed at identifying people with or at risk of developing a mental health or alcohol use disorder, helped her recover.

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Article Source: The Guardian


Virtual Reality Could Completely Transform Mental Health—if We’re Ready

Article Excerpt: Virtual reality has quickly moved past its reputation as a niche video game console that nauseated its users (literally). Today’s VR is sleek, with capabilities once considered inconceivable—fully realized avatars that emote and cry; naturalistic scenery; and the ability to interact exclusively with one’s bare hands, no controllers involved. Proponents see a household use for VR, whether in the form of the so-called (and still ill-defined) “metaverse,” or simply as a way to connect with family and work on yourself. Some researchers have found the technology to be especially potent at solving mental health issues like anxiety, addiction, and social isolation. Today’s virtual reality startups are in the game of creating and perfecting illusions to help users cope with reality, not disconnect from it.

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Article Source: The Daily Best


Telehealth by Phone, Video Proves Lifeline for Veterans with Opioid Addiction

Article Excerpt: For people with opioid addiction, many hurdles stand in the way of getting effective treatment – and COVID-19 could have made it harder. But with widespread implementation of telehealth, a new study shows, more people are receiving treatment, even amid the pandemic. The national study looked at the care received by veterans who received buprenorphine to treat their opioid use disorder both before and after the pandemic shifted care to telehealth visits in early 2020. It shows that virtual visits with addiction care providers allowed many patients to stay on their medication to support their recovery throughout the first year of the pandemic.

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Article Source: Michigan Medicine