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A randomized controlled trial of brief interventions to reduce drug use among adults in a low-income urban emergency department: the HealthiER You study.

Blow FC, Walton MA, Bohnert ASB, Ignacio RV, Chermack S, Cunningham RM, Booth BM, Ilgen M, Barry KL. A randomized controlled trial of brief interventions to reduce drug use among adults in a low-income urban emergency department: the HealthiER You study. Addiction (Abingdon, England). 2017 Aug 1; 112(8):1395-1405.

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AIMS: To examine efficacy of drug brief interventions (BIs) among adults presenting to a low-income urban emergency department (ED). DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial on drug use outcomes at 3, 6 and 12 months. Participants were assigned to (1) computer-delivered BI (Computer BI), (2) therapist-delivered, computer-guided BI (Therapist BI) or (3) enhanced usual care (EUC-ED) for drug-using adults. Participants were re-randomized after the 3-month assessment to either adapted motivational enhancement therapy (AMET) booster or enhanced usual care booster (EUC-B). SETTING: Patients recruited from low-income urban emergency departments (ED) in Flint, Michigan, USA. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 780 ED patients reporting recent drug use, 44% males, mean age  =  31 years. INTERVENTIONS: Computer BI consisted of an interactive program guided by a virtual health counselor. Therapist BI included computer guidance. The EUC-ED conditions included review of community health and HIV prevention resources. The BIs and boosters were based on motivational interviewing, focusing on reduction of drug use and HIV risk behaviors. MEASUREMENTS: Primary outcome was past 90 days using drugs at 6 and 12 months and secondary outcomes were weighted drug-days and days of marijuana use. FINDINGS: Percentage changes in mean days used any drug from baseline to 12 months were: Computer BI + EUC-B: -10.9%, P  =  0.0844; Therapist BI + EUC-B: -26.7%, P  =  0.0041, for EUC-ED + EUC-B: -20.9, P  =  0.0011. In adjusted analyses, there was no significant interaction between ED intervention and booster AMET for primary and secondary outcomes. Compared with EUC-ED, Therapist BI reduced number of days using any drug [95% confidence interval (CI)  =  -0.41, -0.07, P  =  0.0422] and weighted drug-days (95% CI  =  -0.41, -0.08, P  =  0.0283). Both Therapist and Computer BI had significantly fewer number of days using marijuana compared to EUC-ED (Therapist BI: 95% CI  =  -0.42, -0.06, P  =  0.0104, Computer BI: 95% CI  =  -0.34, -0.01, P  =  0.0406). Booster effects were not significant. CONCLUSIONS: An emergency department-based motivational brief intervention, delivered by a therapist and guided by computer, appears to reduce drug use among adults seeking emergency department care compared with enhanced usual care.

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