Clinical Trial

Mobile Intervention for Young Opioid Users

Study Description

Mobile Intervention for Young Opioid Users

Opioid use disorders (OUD) are the second most common type of drug use disorder in the US, with nearly 2 million Americans with prescription opioid- (PO) and ~570,000 with heroin-related OUD. The escalation in OUD during the past two decades has been most pronounced among youth, many of whom demonstrate a rapid transition from nonmedical PO use (16-17 y/o), to heroin (19-20 y/o), with most progressing to injection drug use (IDU), within a year of starting heroin use (20-21 y/o). Progression to IDU is characterized by uniquely high levels of risk for youth, including higher rates of overdose (OD) and HIV and HCV incidence, compared to older peers. Addiction severity, psychosocial functioning, and social networks are robust predictors of transitioning to IDU; however there is virtually no research on how to prevent or halt this transition to IDU. Given the paucity of interventions targeting this large and vulnerable group of youth, we propose to adapt and evaluate an innovative, engaging mHealth intervention to prevent young opioid users (18-29) from transitioning to IDU. Aim 1: During months 1-12, we will adapt our existing mobile intervention for OUD that includes daily text messages plus key components of evidence-based CBT interventions, including Functional Analysis of Drug Use, Self-Management, and Social / Recreational Counseling. New components specific to youth will focus on the role of peers on opioid use and IDU, and OD prevention / response training. Our iterative development process will include focus groups with opioid-using youth (n=24), interviews with important stakeholders (e.g., youth treatment providers; n=6), and feedback and usability data from opioid-using youth (n=30). Aim 2: During months 13-31, we will conduct a small randomized, controlled trial of the tailored mHealth intervention with young opioid users who have not transitioned to regular injection (n=64) and compare (1) assessment plus in-person OD prevention / response training (including naloxone) versus (2) assessment plus in-person OD prevention / response training (including naloxone) plus our mHealth intervention. Feasibility and acceptability will be assessed via participant feedback, retention, and usage data. Diffusion will be defined as the number of participants' peers who download the intervention app for their own use. Preliminary effectiveness will be measured via reductions in opioid use (TLFB, urine / hair toxicology) and self-reported injection status at 4, 8, and 12 weeks, and 3 and 6 month follow-up. Secondary outcomes include HIV/HCV risk behavior, OD, opioid-related problems (e.g., withdrawal episodes), and social network IDU-related norms and behaviors. If results are promising, this novel intervention will be expanded for examination in a large-scale efficacy / effectiveness trial.


Locations Selected Location


No pharmaceutical medication involved No pharmaceutical medication involved
Patients and healthy individuals accepted Patients and healthy individuals accepted

Behavioral - OD prevention/response training

Participants will view a 13-minute OD prevention and response training video (available online free-of-charge). This video covers NY State's recommended curriculum for Overdose Prevention: how to prevent, identify, and respond to an OD, including information on the factors that could heighten risk for overdose (mixing drugs, changes in tolerance and drug purity, and using alone), how to respond to an overdose (rescue breathing, calling 911), and specific instructions on how and when to administe more on

Behavioral - OD prevention/response training + PI mobile application

Participants will receive the same OD intervention as those in the first arm, as well as receiving mobile phones pre-loaded with the PI App. This intervention includes daily prompts plus key components of evidence-based cognitive behavioral interventions, including Functional Analysis of Drug Use, Self-Management, and Social/Recreational Counseling and additional content on Distress Tolerance, the relationship between Peer Networks and Drug Use, and pertinent resources.

Additional Information

Official Study Title

Preventing Injection: An mHealth Intervention That Leverages Social Networks to Prevent Progression to Injection Among Young Opioid Users

Clinical Trial ID


ParticipAid ID