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Background: New Mexico (NM) leads the nation in alcohol-related and drug overdose deaths. This project aims to implement and test a model of telehealth-substance use disorder (TH-SUD) treatment to reach underserved rural, Hispanic, and Native American (NA) populations in Sandoval, San Juan, McKinley, Cibola, Valencia, and Santa Fe Counties. The overall goal is to reduce the consequences of substance use in culturally relevant ways. Our population of focus is rural, Hispanic, and NA adult patients with an SUD presenting to the emergency department (ED) or inpatient units of the University of New Mexico Sandoval Regional Medical Center located in Sandoval County.

Methods: The evidence-based, culturally informed, and trauma-focused TH-SUD treatment includes Medication Addiction Treatment (MAT), Seeking Safety (SS), and psychosocial supports. Using motivational interviewing, Peer Support Workers (PSWs) are responsible for in-person patient screening and navigation from the ED or inpatient units to outpatient TH-SUD treatment. PSWs deliver SS and psychosocial supports and MAT is provided by medical professionals.

Results: Data are being collected from participants prior to starting TH-SUD treatment and every 60 days thereafter on outcomes including treatment engagement/retention, types of services received, substance use, substance craving, quality of life, PTSD symptom severity, hospital utilization, motivation to change, self-stigma, and perceptions of recovery. The preliminary costs associated with the intervention and potential cost-savings are also being determined.

Discussion: Data on participant outcomes are currently being collected and it remains to be determined whether implementing a TH-SUD treatment program in a hospital setting is an effective approach to reducing the consequences of SUD. While there have been challenges, there have also been successes. Given the lack of resources in rural communities, more research on providing SUD treatment to these populations is necessary. Our poster will provide an overview of the intervention and summarize preliminary data and challenges/successes.


Funding: Research reported in this presentation was supported by Congressionally Delegated funds administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Award Number 1H79FG000817-01.

Poster presented at the Brain & Behavioral Health Research Day 2023



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