Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) cause nearly 90,000 deaths a year in the United States, making them the third leading cause of preventable death. Rates of AUD are particularly high among military personnel. According to the 2015 Department of Defense Health Related Behaviors Survey, 35 percent of service personnel met criteria indicative of hazardous drinking or a possible AUD. Because of the acutely high risk among this demographic, the Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) mandates FDA-approved pharmacological and psychosocial treatment to veterans with substance use disorders, including AUD.
Pharmacotherapies for AUD are available in primary care settings at VHA facilities, but are vastly underused, being prescribed for only 3 percent of VHA patients with an AUD. An intervention program, the Alcohol Use Disorder Pharmacotherapy and Treatment in Primary Care (ADaPT-PC), was implemented at three VHA facilities with the goal of increasing pharmacotherapy prescribing rates for patients with a diagnosed AUD. Analysis of the intervention uncovered low rates of medication adoption, leading researchers to seek out a better understanding of patient perspectives towards AUD pharmacotherapy and the treatment cascade, a representational model used to identify gaps in care delivery, to improve future intervention efforts.
Dr. Sean J. Haley, assistant professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, led a mixed methods study that looked at patients’ experiences and attitudes towards AUD treatment and the ADaPT-PC intervention through qualitative interviews and quantitative data from patient records. The study was published in the journal Substance Abuse.Friday Letter Submission