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Patterns of opioid use behaviors among patients seen in the emergency department: Latent class analysis of baseline data from the POINT pragmatic trial.

Bray BC, Watson DP, Salisbury-Afshar E, Taylor L, McGuire A. Patterns of opioid use behaviors among patients seen in the emergency department: Latent class analysis of baseline data from the POINT pragmatic trial. Journal of substance use and addiction treatment. 2023 Mar 1; 146:208979.

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INTRODUCTION: The nation's overdose epidemic has been characterized by increasingly potent opioids resulting in more emergency department (ED) encounters over time. ED-based opioid use interventions are growing in popularity; however, they tend to treat people who use opioids as a homogenous population. The current study sought to understand heterogeneity among people who use opioids who encounter the ED by identifying qualitatively different subgroups among participants in an opioid use intervention clinical trial at baseline and examining associations between subgroup membership and multiple correlates. METHODS: Participants were from a larger pragmatic clinical trial of the Planned Outreach, Intervention, Naloxone, and Treatment (POINT) intervention (n  =  212; 59.2 % male, 85.3 % Non-Hispanic White, mean age  =  36.6 years). The study employed latent class analysis (LCA) using five indicators of opioid use behavior: preference for opioids, preference for stimulants, usually use drugs alone, injection drug use, and opioid-related problem at ED encounter. Correlates of interest included participants' demographics, prescription histories, health care contact histories, and recovery capital (e.g., social support, naloxone knowledge). RESULTS: The study identified three classes: (1) noninjecting opioid preferers, (2) injecting opioid and stimulant preferers, and (3) social nonopioid preferers. We identified limited significant differences in correlates across the classes: differences existed for select demographics, prescription histories, and recovery capital but not for health care contact histories. For example, members of Class 1 were the most likely to be a race/ethnicity other than non-Hispanic White, oldest on average, and most likely to have received a benzodiazepine prescription, whereas members of Class 2 had the highest average barriers to treatment and members of Class 3 were the least likely to have been diagnosed with a major mental health illness and had the lowest average barriers to treatment. CONCLUSIONS: LCA identified distinct subgroups among POINT trial participants. Knowledge of such subgroups assists with the development of better-targeted interventions and can help staff to identify the most appropriate treatment and recovery pathways for patients.

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