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Tag: substance use

Technology Fueled America’s Youth Mental Health Crisis, But It Can Help End It

Article Excerpt: Sian Leah Beilock is a cognitive scientist who is the new president of Dartmouth College, the first woman to hold that position since the school was founded in 1769. An expert in, among other things, the effect of stress on academic performance, she is starting her tenure by putting health and wellness at the center of her leadership agenda with a focus on the country’s youth mental health crisis…Substance abuse, which is both helping drive the mental health crisis and is drastically undertreated with nearly 90 percent of sufferers going without treatment, offers an example of the power of technology to provide clinical care in underserved areas or in cases in which stigmatization prevents people from seeking the help they need. Lisa Marsch and her team at the Dartmouth Center for Technology and Behavioral Health (CBTH) created and validated the first Food and Drug Administration-cleared digital therapeutic for the treatment of opioid addiction, which provides cognitive behavioral therapy interventions though the user’s digital device and has since helped roughly double rates of abstinence by lowering the threshold for access to treatment.

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Article Source: The Washington Post


Recreational Cannabis Has Arrived in Minnesota. What Are Its Health Benefits, Risks?

Article Excerpt: Despite its use in medicine, cannabis is a cause for concern for some clinicians, especially when they consider the developing brains of children and young adults. It is also an understudied substance, due in part to its federal classification as a Schedule 1 drug, limiting what we know, scientifically, about its potential benefits and harms on the human body. “Cannabis is not one drug,” said Jacob Borodovsky, a senior research scientist at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. “The cannabis plant itself, we’ve identified over 150 cannabinoid compounds that are present in the cannabis plant. THC and CBD are just two of those 150 or more identified compounds.” So, what do we know about cannabis and its health impacts?

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Article Source: Post Bulletin


A Mobile App to Promote Alcohol and Drug SBIRT Skill Translation Among Multi-Disciplinary Health Care Trainees: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial

Curtis AC, Satre DD, Sarovar V, Wamsley M, Ly K & Satterfield J. (2022). A mobile app to promote alcohol and drug SBIRT skill translation among multi-disciplinary health care trainees: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Substance Abuse, 43(1), 13–22.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an alcohol and drug screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) mobile app to support healthcare trainees working in various clinical settings. A randomized controlled trial of a new mobile app was conducted among 131 participants who were health profession trainees, had completed SBIRT training in the past year, and had a personal mobile device. The app had three main functions: 1) review of SBIRT skills and substance use disorders, 2) application of SBIRT (including screeners, intervention strategies and tools), and 3) data collection on SBIRT delivery via brief surveys. Participants were randomized to either the SBIRT app or the control condition (no access to the app). Participants completed weekly self-report assessments on SBIRT delivery over the 10-week study duration. Seventy-eight percent of participants assigned to the SBIRT app downloaded it and logged in. There were no statistically significant differences between the groups in the percentage of patients screened, brief interventions delivered, or referrals made to treatment. Additionally, there were no differences between the two arms at baseline nor at the end of the study for attitudes, beliefs, confidence in ability to deliver SBIRT, or behavioral intent to deliver SBIRT. In the group that received the SBIRT app, the average system usability score was 62.00 (SD=12.01), which is considered below average. Participants spent an average of 8.81 minutes in the app. Based on these findings, despite good uptake of the SBIRT app, adherence was low. Authors noted that the effect of the classroom training prior to app access is unknown; it is possible that this training reduced the need for the SBIRT app, leading to non-significant differences between the two arms. The potential for use of digital apps to support the translation of best practices from classroom to clinic is promising; however, additional research is needed to improve engagement and adherence.


Health Inequities Impact on Digital Therapeutics

Article Excerpt: When we look at health inequities, we’ve been using different applications to bridge some of those inequities, primarily around language. We still have a long way to go with some of the cultural barriers, but we can slowly break down some of them and instill a greater understanding with different populations by putting information in front of them in a way that engages them.

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Article Source: Managed Healthcare Executive


Digital Health Tech: A Solution to Substance Use Disorders?

Article Excerpt: Healthcare is turning towards tech to develop effective therapies for substance use disorders
While there are several well-established pharmaceutical treatment options available for smoking cessation, and for opioid and alcohol use disorders, there is still a high demand for more effective therapies. According to GlobalData’s Medical Device Pipeline Analytics, there are 61 products in development for treating substance abuse disorders classed as healthcare IT.

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Article Source: Medical Device Network


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


MHT Delivers New Technology for Measuring and Improving Mental Wellness

Article Excerpt: Mental Health Technologies (MHT) offers a rapidly growing cloud-based platform primary care physicians and mental health professionals use to screen and test for mental health disorders, including depression and substance abuse. MHT helps providers identify areas where their patients are struggling and refers them to the proper behavioral healthcare professional…SmarTest is a tool that uses intelligence and historical data to define when-and how-a patient should be tested for various mental health conditions. It can base its decisions on patient information, such as age, gender, or other demographics.

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Article Source: Accesswire


Dementia, Substance Misuse, and Social Determinants of Health: American Indian and Alaska Native Peoples’ Prevention, Service, and Care

Crouch MC, Cheromiah Salazar MBR, Harris SJ, Rosich RM. Dementia, Substance Misuse, and Social Determinants of Health: American Indian and Alaska Native Peoples’ Prevention, Service, and Care. Chronic Stress (Thousand Oaks). 2023 Jan 18;7:24705470221149479. doi: 10.1177/24705470221149479. PMID: 36699807; PMCID: PMC9869198.

A qualitative study was conducted to understand the cultural practices and beliefs among American Indian and Alaskan Native (AI/AN) Elders about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia (ADRD). Interviews investigated the etiology, course, treatment, and cultural meanings of ADRD as well as the social determinants of health related to ADRD and role of substance use disorder. AI/AN tribal Elders are identified as individuals who are designated culture bearers, wisdom holders, and role models in their respective communities. Twelve AI/AN Elders (mean age=73) who speak English participated in semi-structured interviews. The sample was predominantly female (66.7%), Athabascan Tribal heritage (58.3%) and retired (66.7%). All participants had a family member with ADRD but did not themselves have an ADRD diagnosis. Qualitative analyses identified 6 themes of etiology, barriers to treatment, and social determinants: (1) postcolonial distress; (2) substance misuse; (3) distrust of Western medicine; (4) structural inequities; (5) walking in two worlds; and, (6) decolonizing and indigenizing medicine. Findings highlight potential causal factors in disease development and manifestation as viewed by AI/AN Elders. This study exemplified historical and ongoing discrimination and stress in Western medicine and the importance of adopting a holistic view to address cultural health disparities.