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In Addiction (Abingdon, England)

BACKGROUND AND AIMS : Recovery management checkups (RMC) have established efficacy for linking patients to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. This study tested whether using RMC in combination with screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT), versus SBIRT alone, can improve linkage of primary care patients referred to SUD treatment.

DESIGN : A randomized controlled trial of SBIRT as usual (n=132) versus SBIRT plus recovery management check-ups for primary care (RMC-PC) (n=134) with follow-up assessments at 3 months post-baseline.

SETTING : Four Federally Qualified Health Centers in the United States serving low-income populations.

PARTICIPANTS : Primary care patients (n=266, 64% male, 80% Black, mean age 48.3 (range 19-53) who were referred to SUD treatment after SBIRT.

INTERVENTIONS : SBIRT alone (control condition) compared with SBIRT+RMC-PC (experimental condition).

MEASUREMENT : The primary outcome was any days of SUD treatment. Key secondary outcomes were days of SUD treatment overall and by level of care, days of alcohol and other drug (AOD) abstinence, and days of using specific substances, all based on self-report.

FINDINGS : At 3-month follow-up, those assigned to SBIRT+RMC-PC (n=134) had higher odds of receiving any SUD treatment (46% vs. 20%; adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 4.50 [2.49, 8.48]) compared with SBIRT only, including higher rates of entering residential and intensive outpatient treatment. They also reported more days of treatment (14.45, vs. 7.13; d=+0.26), more days abstinent (41.3 vs. 31.9; d=+0.22), and fewer days of using alcohol (27.14, vs. 36.31; d=-0.25) and cannabis (19.49, vs. 28.6; d = -0.20).

CONCLUSION : Recovery management checkups in combination with screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment are an effective strategy for improving linkage of primary care patients in need to substance use disorder treatment over 3 months.

Scott Christy K, Dennis Michael L, Grella Christine E, Watson Dennis P, Davis Jordan P, Hart M Kate


federally qualified health centers (FQHC), primary care, recovery management checkups (RMC), screening brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT), substance use disorders