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Brief Intervention for Patients with Problematic Drug Use Presenting in Emergency Departments: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA Internal Medicine 2014;174(11):1736-1745. [doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.4052]

Michael P. Bogenschutz, MD (University of New Mexico, SW Node), Dennis M. Donovan, PhD (University of Washington, PN Node), Raul N. Mandler, MD (Center for the Clinical Trials Network, NIDA), Harold I. Perl, PhD (National Institute on Drug Abuse), Alyssa A. Forcehimes, PhD (University of New Mexico, SW Node), Cameron Crandall, MD (University of New Mexico, SW Node), Robert Lindblad, MD (EMMES Corporation), Neal L. Oden, PhD (EMMES Corporation), Gaurav Sharma, PhD (EMMES Corporation), Lisa R. Metsch, PhD (Columbia University, FNA Node), Michael S. Lyons, MD (University of Cincinnati, OV node), Ryan McCormack, MD (Bellevue Hospital, GNY Node), Wendy M. Konstantopoulos, MD MPH (Harvard Medical School, NEC Node), Antoine B. Douaihy, MD (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, ATS Node).

This is the Primary Outcomes Article for CTN-0047. Medical treatment settings such as emergency departments (EDs) present important opportunities to address problematic substance use. Currently, EDs do not typically intervene beyond acute medical stabilization. This study aimed to contrast the effects of a brief intervention with telephone boosters (BI-B) with those of screening, assessment, and referral to treatment (SAR) and minimal screening only (MSO) among drug-using ED patients. Between October 2010 and February 2012, 1285 adult ED patients from 6 US academic hospitals, who scored 3 or greater on the 10-item Drug Abuse Screening Test (indicating moderate to severe problems related to drug use) and who were currently using drugs, were randomized to MSO (n=431), SAR (n=427), or BI-B (n=427). Follow-up assessment were conducted at 3, 6, and 12 months by blinded interviewers. Following screening, MSO participants received only an informational pamphlet; SAR participants received assessment plus referral to addiction treatment if indicated, and BI-B participants received assessment and referral as in SAR, plus a manual-guided counseling session based on motivational interviewing principles and up to 2 "booster" sessions by telephone during the month following the ED visit. Outcomes evaluated at follow-up visits included self-reported days using the patient-defined primary problem drug, days using any drug, days of heavy drinking, and drug use based on analysis of hair samples. The primary outcome was self-reported days of use of the patient-defined primary problem drug during the 30-day period preceding the 3-month follow-up.

Follow-up rates were 89%, 86%, and 81% at 3, 6, and 12 months, respectively. There were no significant differences between groups in self-reported days using the primary drug, days using any drug, or heavy drinking days at 3, 6, or 12 months. At the 3-month follow-up, participants in the SAR group had a higher rate of hair samples positive for their primary drug of abuse (265 of 280, 95%) than did participants in the MSO group (253 or 287, 88%) or the BI-B group (244 of 275, 89%). Hair analysis differences between groups at other time points were not significant.

Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that even a relatively robust brief intervention such as the one implemented in this trial is unlikely to be useful as a general strategy for the population recruited for this trial (ED patients with relatively severe drug problems and other life challenges). Further research will be needed to explore more intensive interventions targeting the most severely affected patients with substance use disorder visiting the ED and to ascertain whether screening and brief interventions play a useful roll in the treatment of ED patients less severely affected by drug use disorders. (Article (Peer-Reviewed), PDF, English, 2014)

Keywords: Behavior therapy | Brief intervention | CTN primary outcomes | Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST) | Emergency departments | Motivational interviewing (MI) | Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) | JAMA Internal Medicine (journal)

Document No: 1098, PMID: 25179753, PMCID: PMC4238921.

Submitted by CTN Dissemination Librarians, 9/8/2014.


Bogenschutz, Michael P. mail
Crandall, Cameron mail
Donovan, Dennis M. mail
Douaihy, Antoine B. mail
Forcehimes, Alyssa A. mail
Konstantopoulos, Wendy M. search
Lindblad, Robert mail
Lyons, Michael S.
Mandler, Raul N. search mail
McCormack, Ryan mail
Metsch, Lisa R. mail
Oden, Neal L. mail
Perl, Harold I.
Sharma, Guarav mail
NIDA-CTN-0047 www
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