The parent project for this work consisted of an evaluation of the mechanisms of two promising interventions to promote and maintain tobacco abstinence: directly observed therapy and long-term varenicline treatment. The proposed research will guide efforts to optimize medication treatment effects and reduce the burden of tobacco use among opioid treatment program (OTP) patients.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a supplemental study was conducted to qualitatively assess the perspectives of OTP patients about the change in OTP services and methadone pick-up schedules. Patients were recruited from the THRIVE cohort for in-depth interviews based on study eligibility criteria. I was brought onto this project in late 2020 to serve as a Qualitative Data Analyst for data collected from OTP patients surrounding their care experience during COVID-19. Our thematic analysis identified three intertwined yet distinct experiences from OTP patients: loss, liberation and agency (Table 2). These themes are explored in detail within our manuscript published with the Journal of Substance Use and Addiction Treatment.
Additionally, our primary author Dr. Teresa Lopez-Castro was invited to present our preliminary findings as an oral presentation at The Association for Multidisciplinary Education and Research in Substance use and Addiction (AMERSA) 2021.