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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

BU: Student Wins Best Research Abstract Award

Mr. Joel Earlywine, a Master of Science student at the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH), has received the Best Research Abstract Award from the Association for Multidisciplinary Education and Research in Substance Use and Addiction (AMERSA). Mr. Earlywine presented his abstract during an oral plenary session at the 43rd annual AMERSA Conference on November 9.

The abstract, titled “Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs and Changes in Adolescent Injection Drug Use: A Difference-in-Differences Analysis,” is based on Mr. Earlywine’s study conducted with Dr. Julia Raifman, assistant professor of health law, policy & management at BUSPH.

Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) assist clinicians in monitoring prescriptions for patients, but “only about 30 to 40 percent of clinicians are using the programs because they are voluntary,” says Mr. Earlywine. However, some states have implemented PDMP mandates, which require clinicians to use the programs when prescribing drugs. “Although these mandates have proven to reduce prescription opioid-related overdose rates,” he says, “research suggests that adults with opioid use disorder may be transitioning to cheaper and more potent opioids, like heroin and fentanyl, which are commonly injected, since prescription opioids are harder to obtain.”

Amidst the current research around PDMPs, Mr. Earlywine says youth, particularly adolescents, have received very little attention. “Our study aims to better understand how these PDMPs are affecting this age group because prescription opioid misuse commonly begins in adolescence,” he says.

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