Study uses ecological momentary assessment methods to capture substance use and surrounding circumstances through smartphone-like devices
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC — RTI International recently won a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for a study on polysubstance use to inform opioid overdose prevention efforts. The three-year, mixed-methods study, led by Jennifer Lorvick, DrPH, will help researchers and policymakers better understand the motivations, contexts, and timing of polysubstance use (including alcohol use) among people who use opioids, which will help refine overdose prevention efforts during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After decreasing slightly in 2018, fatal drug overdoses are once again rising in the U.S., with polysubstance use being a major contributor,” said Dr. Lorvick. “The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be worsening this problem, due to social isolation and and irregularities in the drug supply. This research is timely – it will help us understand substance use in the current context and hopefully inform overdose prevention efforts.”
Leveraging RTI’s expertise in developing mobile applications via its Personal Health Intervention/Informatics Toolkit (PHIT), the study will implement ecological momentary assessment (EMA) methods through smartphone-like devices. Participants will use these devices to report instances of substance use and surrounding circumstances. This will provide a much closer look at polysubstance use patterns and timing than previous research in this area.
RTI scientists, including Dr. Lorvick, have deep expertise in substance use issues and have been tracking the current opioid epidemic since its inception, particularly in the areas of overdose and overdose prevention.
Learn more about our work in understanding, preventing, and treating opioid use disorders.