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The impact of military sexual trauma and gender on receipt of evidence-based medication treatment among veterans with opioid use disorder.

Beckman KL, Williams EC, Hebert P, Hawkins EJ, Littman AJ, Lehavot K. The impact of military sexual trauma and gender on receipt of evidence-based medication treatment among veterans with opioid use disorder. Journal of substance abuse treatment. 2022 Aug 1; 139:108775.

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INTRODUCTION: Opioid use disorder (OUD), a chronic illness associated with substantial morbidity and mortality, is common in veterans. Despite several national Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) initiatives over the last 15 years to increase access to medications to treat OUD (MOUD), MOUD remain underutilized. Women and veterans with mental health comorbidities are less likely to receive MOUD. The current study evaluated associations between military sexual trauma (MST), one common comorbidity among veterans, and receipt of MOUD among VA outpatients. We also evaluated whether gender moderated the MST-MOUD association and whether mental health conditions were associated with lower rates of MOUD across MST status. METHODS: In a cross-sectional study using a national sample of 80,845 veterans with OUD who sought care at VA facilities from 2009 to 2017, we fit mixed-effects logistic regression models to assess the association between MST and MOUD, adjusting for demographic and clinical characteristics, and with facility modeled as a random effect. Secondary analyses added interaction terms of MST x gender and MST x mental health diagnoses and compared average predicted probabilities to evaluate whether the MST and MOUD association varied by gender or mental health diagnoses. The study used a p-value threshold of .001 to determine significance due to multiple comparisons and large sample size. RESULTS: Overall, 35% of veterans with OUD received MOUD. MST (8.1% overall; 5.2% of men, 48.8% of women) was not significantly associated with receipt of MOUD in a fully adjusted model (OR  =  1.08; 99% CI 1.00, 1.17). No significant MST x gender interaction (p  =  .377) and no significant MST x mental health interaction (p  =  .722) occurred. CONCLUSIONS: Both men and women veterans with and without a history of MST received MOUD treatment at similar rates. Room for improvement exists in MOUD receipt and future research should continue to assess barriers to MOUD receipt.

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