Combatting the opioid crisis requires innovative solutions to enact prevention, intervention, and treatment efforts. A multi-disciplinary approach is necessary to develop a dynamic response, and the virtual 2021 Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, April 5-8, will ignite discussions among more than 3,500 experts all working towards ending the overdose crisis. RTI experts will be presenting their insights throughout the event and discussing dynamic solutions. Join us at our virtual booth to connect and discuss opportunities for innovation in prevention and treatment.
RTI Vision Session
Telehealth Unlocked: Can it improve SUD treatment?
Tuesday, April 6, 2021, 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM ET
Tami Mark, PhD, and Saira Haque, PhD, MHSA, FAMIA, will present a Vision Session during the event. The Covid-19 Pandemic precipitated unprecedented regulatory flexibilities to promote uptake of telehealth for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. Now that the genie is out of the bottle, policymakers, payers, providers need to decide how to use telehealth after the pandemic. This session will provide information to help inform those decisions. First, we will describe the research evidence for the effectiveness of telehealth for specific SUD services (e.g., individual counseling, group counseling, medication management). Second, we will present evidence from surveys, interviews, and focus groups with providers on their experiences using telehealth. Third, we will describe barriers and facilitators to telehealth uptake and identify implementation pathways to address them and maximize the benefits of telehealth.
Polydrug Use Trends and Responses in the United States and North Carolina
Thursday, April 8, 2021, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM ET
Georgiy Bobashev, PhD, who has been principal investigator on numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Lauren Warren, MS, will present research from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data on patterns and trends of polysubstance use. Polysubstance involvement is increasing among opioid users and contributes to unintentional fatal drug overdoses. Large increases are occurring among overdoses involving opioids and stimulants. Learn more about the presentation.
RTI Study Poster
Changes in Outpatient Buprenorphine Dispensing in Texas During the COVID-19 Pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic, federal regulations for prescribing opioid use disorder medications were relaxed to ensure continued access to these treatments. RTI expert Jessica Cance, PhD, conducted a study alongside Erin Doyle of the Texas State Board of Pharmacy to see if this shift in federal restrictions was associated with changes in buprenorphine dispensing in Texas. The study found that the temporary relaxation of these restrictions was associated with limited positive changes in buprenorphine dispensing. A poster presentation containing results, data, and insights from the study will be available during Rx Summit.
Meet Some of Our Opioid Experts
Jessica Cance, PhD, MPH, is a Research Public Health Analyst in RTI’s Substance Use, Prevention, Evaluation and Research Program with over 20 years of research and practice experience in adolescent and young adult health. While her work focuses on substance use and misuse, she also has experience in suicidality, sexual health, and violence prevention. Dr. Cance has contributed to a wide range of projects, including national epidemiologic research and cross-site evaluations, as well as work to prevent substance use and sexual risk taking among vulnerable adolescents. During her doctoral studies, she focused on obtaining training in advanced quantitative methods and intervention development and evaluation. As an assistant professor in Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin for six years, Dr. Cance led and collaborated on epidemiological and etiological research with existing datasets and national evaluation research, funded through local, federal, and foundation grants.
Georgiy Bobashev, PhD, is an RTI Fellow in the Center for Data Science at RTI International where he has been conducting health and substance use research since 1998. He has been a PI and a Co-I on numerous NIDA- and NIAAA-funded grants. His methodological research is focused on predictive modeling that often combines machine learning techniques with mechanistic modeling (e.g. system dynamics and agent-based modeling). He is leading the development of opioid policy simulation models in collaboration with North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services. In addition to his primary duties at RTI, Dr. Bobashev is an adjunct faculty at the Department of Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, in the Department of Statistics, North Carolina State University and in the Department of Global Public Health, New York University.
Lauren Klein Warren is a research statistician/data scientist who joined RTI International in January 2008. In addition to statistical data processing, data analysis including analytical modeling, and survey sampling activities, Ms. Warren has helped to build RTI’s Center for Data Science and enjoys discovering ways to join survey statistics with modern data science techniques. She is a certified advanced SAS programmer, with a solid foundation in statistical analysis, and has proficiency in other software packages including SUDAAN, SPSS, Stata, and R. To supplement her educational background in applied mathematics and statistics, she completed her master’s degree in Advanced Analytics from North Carolina State University. Ms. Warren has experience in team leadership and task management from her projects at RTI and during her practicum experience in her master’s program.
Dr. Saira Haque oversees RTI’s work in telehealth. Her background includes a variety of consulting, research and operations positions for provider organizations and health plans. She has led many complex projects including telehealth tool development, mixed-methods evaluations, policy analysis, case study development, and workflow analysis. Her areas of interest include telehealth, use of technology to address substance use disorders, health information exchange, public and population health, and the intersection of technology and organizations.
Tami L. Mark, PhD, is an internationally known health economist and expert on behavioral health care financing and delivery. Dr. Mark collaborates with Federal and state agencies to improve their behavioral health treatment systems through research, data analytics, technical assistance, and policy development. Currently, she is leading an effort with the Shatterproof Foundation to create an addiction program quality measurement system. Dr. Mark has authored more than 100 scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles and numerous government reports on behavioral health financing and delivery. She was a contributing author to the healthcare systems chapter of The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. She serves on the behavioral health advisory committee of the National Quality Forum, and is on the board of Cornerstone Montgomery. She has also served on advisory committees for NIH, SAMHSA and AHRQ.
Learn more about how we’re meeting change with a dynamic response:
Data Analytics for Forecasting and Action - Data helps drive an informed response to the opioid crisis by revealing the latest trends and patterns in substance use.
- Using Real-Time Twitter Data to Track Trends in the Opioid Crisis
- The Latest Evolution of the Opioid Crisis: Changing Patterns in Fentanyl Adulteration of Heroin, Cocaine, and Methamphetamine and Associated Overdose Risk
Communications Campaigns - Communications campaigns are vital for increasing awareness and combatting stigma surrounding opioid use and other health challenges.
- Beyond Labels: Reducing Health-Related Stigma
- RTI to Evaluate Effectiveness of Opioid Public Awareness Campaigns in Colorado
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome - Understanding the effects of the opioid crisis on children, including neonatal abstinence syndrome, is crucial for informing effective prevention and treatment methods.
- RTI to Study Impacts of Opioids on Infants, Bolster Efforts to Prevent Opioid Misuse with New NIH Awards
- Family Matters: Combating the Opioid Crisis Among Pregnant Women by Expanding Access to Family-Centered Care and Medication Assisted Treatment
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) - Adverse childhood experiences can negatively impact a minor’s physical and behavioral health but leveraging a community-based approach is proven to help prevent ACEs.
RTI is uniquely equipped to support the full spectrum of efforts to combat this epidemic—including treatment, prevention, intervention, pain management, and public communication. Our experts are studying prevention and public communication tactics, strategies to reach vulnerable populations and reduce stigma, and innovative treatment options for habitual opioid users as well as those dealing with chronic pain. We believe that ending the opioid epidemic requires data-driven solutions and strong partnerships across industries; we look forward to connecting with you during the conference.