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Medication-assisted treatment and self-help group participation among military veterans with opioid or alcohol use disorder
  1. David L Albright1,
  2. J T McDaniel2,
  3. Z Suntai1,
  4. M K Laha-Walsh1,
  5. K Frick3,
  6. T Weatherly3 and
  7. S McIntosh1
  1. 1School of Social Work, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA
  2. 2School of Human Sciences, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois, USA
  3. 3Southern Illinois University System, Carbondale, Illinois, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr David L Albright, School of Social Work, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA; dlalbright{at}ua.edu

Abstract

Introduction Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a combination of behavioural therapy and medications to assist with recovery and has been administered to individuals with alcohol and opioid withdrawal symptoms. Military veterans seeking MAT could have barriers preventing them from receiving the care they desire. The present study sought to compare outcomes in individuals who received MAT or those who participated in self-help groups for opioid or alcohol use disorder. In addition, the present study sought to compare outcomes between veterans and non-military-connected individuals.

Methods We used the 2015–2017 United States Treatment Episode Data Set Discharges data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The data set included 138 594 unique discharges. A multinomial logistic regression model was used to examine differences in substance use outcomes for veterans/non-veterans in MAT and a self-help group.

Results Fewer veterans (2.58%) than non-veterans (4.28%) reported usage of MAT. Fewer veterans (38.94%) than non-veterans (40.17%) reported signing up for a self-help group. Finally, those who participated in MAT and a self-help group had a better outcome (66.64%)—defined as no substance use at discharge—than those who only received MAT (43.02%) and those who did not participate in MAT or self-help groups (34.84%).

Conclusions Recommendations for future research on MAT and implementation for the veteran population would benefit the literature base.

  • health policy
  • statistics & research methods
  • mental health
  • substance misuse

Data availability statement

Data are available in a public, open access repository. The data used in the submitted research can be found through the Substance Use and Mental Health Data Archive, hosted by the Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration (the 2015 data can be found in https://www.datafiles.samhsa.gov/study/treatment-episode-data-set-discharges-teds-d-2015-nid18450 and the 2017 data can be found in https://www.datafiles.samhsa.gov/study/treatment-episode-data-set-discharges-teds-d-2017-nid18479).

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Data availability statement

Data are available in a public, open access repository. The data used in the submitted research can be found through the Substance Use and Mental Health Data Archive, hosted by the Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration (the 2015 data can be found in https://www.datafiles.samhsa.gov/study/treatment-episode-data-set-discharges-teds-d-2015-nid18450 and the 2017 data can be found in https://www.datafiles.samhsa.gov/study/treatment-episode-data-set-discharges-teds-d-2017-nid18479).

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Footnotes

  • Twitter @DrAlbright, @jtmcdaniel88

  • Contributors DLA conceptualized and edited the literature review and discussion, JTM served as the statistician, ZS helped strengthen the discussion and manuscript, MKL-W helped strengthen the background and literature review, and SM helped with discussion. KF and TW assisted with methods and revisions.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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