Background: The Houston Emergency Opioid Engagement System was established to create an access pathway into long-term recovery for individuals with opioid use disorder. The program determines effectiveness across multiple dimensions, one of which is by measuring the participant’s reported quality of life (QoL) at the beginning of the program and at successive intervals. Methods: A visual analog scale was used to measure the change in QoL among participants after joining the program. We then identified sociodemographic and clinical characteristics associated with changes in QoL. Results: 71% of the participants (n = 494) experienced an increase in their QoL scores, with an average improvement of 15.8 ± 29 points out of a hundred. We identified 10 factors associated with a significant change in QoL. Participants who relapsed during treatment experienced minor increases in QoL, and participants who attended professional counseling experienced the largest increases in QoL compared with those who did not. Conclusions: Insight into significant factors associated with increases in QoL may inform programs on areas of focus. The inclusion of counseling and other services that address factors such as psychological distress were found to increase participants’ QoL and success in recovery.
The opioid epidemic is a rapidly growing public health concern in the USA, as the number of overdose deaths continues to increase each year. One strategy for combating the rising number of overdoses is through opioid overdose prevention programs (OOPPs).
To evaluate the effectiveness of an innovative OOPP, with changes in knowledge and attitudes serving as the primary outcome measures.
The OOPP was developed by a group of medical students under guidance from faculty advisors. Training sessions focused on understanding stigmatizing factors of opioid use disorder (OUD), as well as protocols for opioid overdose reversal through naloxone administration. Pre- and post-surveys were partially adapted from the opioid overdose attitudes and knowledge scales and administered to all participants. Paired t-tests were conducted to assess differences between pre- and post-surveys.
A total of 440 individuals participated in the training; 381 completed all or the majority of the survey. Participants came from a diverse set of backgrounds, ages, and experiences. All three knowledge questions showed significant improvements. For attitude questions, significant improvements were found in all three questions evaluating confidence, two of three questions assessing attitudes towards overdose reversal, and four of five questions evaluating stigma and attitudes towards individuals with OUD.
Our innovative OOPP was effective not only in increasing knowledge but also in improving attitudes towards overdose reversal and reducing stigma towards individuals with OUD. Given the strong improvements in attitudes towards those with OUD, efforts should be made to incorporate the unique focus on biopsychosocial and sociohistorical components into future OOPPs.
In 2015, Oregon’s Medicaid program implemented a performance improvement project to reduce high-dose opioid prescribing across its 16 coordinated care organizations (CCOs). The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of that program on prescription opioid use and outcomes.
Using Medicaid claims data from 2014 to 2017, we conducted interrupted time-series analyses to examine changes in the prescription opioid use and overdose rates before (July 2014 to June 2015) and after (January 2016 to December 2017) implementation of Oregon’s high-dose policy initiative (July 2015 to December 2015). Prescribing outcomes were: 1) total opioid prescriptions 2) high-dose [> 90 morphine milligram equivalents per day] opioid prescriptions, and 3) proportion of opioid prescriptions that were high-dose. Opioid overdose outcomes included emergency department visits or hospitalizations that involved an opioid-related poisoning (total, heroin-involved, non-heroin involved). Analyses were performed at the state and CCO level.
There was an immediate reduction in high dose opioid prescriptions after the program was implemented (− 1.55 prescription per 1000 enrollee; 95% CI − 2.26 to − 0.84; p < 0.01). Program implementation was also associated with an immediate drop (− 1.29 percentage points; 95% CI − 1.94 to − 0.64 percentage points; p < 0.01) and trend reduction (− 0.23 percentage point per month; 95% CI − 0.33 to − 0.14 percentage points; p < 0.01) in the monthly proportion of high-dose opioid prescriptions. The trend in total, heroin-involved, and non-heroin overdose rates increased significantly following implementation of the program.
Although Oregon’s high-dose opioid performance improvement project was associated with declines in high-dose opioid prescriptions, rates of opioid overdose did not decrease. Policy efforts to reduce opioid prescribing risks may not be sufficient to address the growing opioid crisis.