Pilot Studies Examining Feasibility of Substance Use Disorder Screening and Treatment Linkage at Urban Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinics
Sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics provide critical public health services for screening and treatment of sexually transmitted infections throughout the United States. These settings serve high-risk populations, often on a walk-in basis, and may be promising venues for integrating substance use disorder (SUD) services.Methods:
We report findings from 2 pilot studies conducted at Baltimore City Health Department's STD clinics. The screening study characterized rates of SUDs among STD clinic patients. Patients waiting for services completed a diagnostic interview mapping to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition SUD criteria (n = 100). The Treatment Linkage Feasibility study examined the feasibility of linking STD clinic patients with opioid and/or cocaine use disorders to SUD treatment in the community (n = 21), using SUD-focused Patient Navigation services for 1 month after the STD clinic visit. Assessments were conducted at baseline and 1-month follow-up.Results:
In the screening study, the majority of STD clinic patients met diagnostic criteria for alcohol and/or drug SUD (57%). Substance-specific SUD rates among patients were 35% for alcohol, 31% for cannabis, 11% for opioids, and 8% for stimulants (cocaine/amphetamines). In the Treatment Linkage Feasibility study, 57% (12/21) of participants attended at least 1 SUD service, and 38% (8/21) were actively enrolled in SUD treatment by 1-month follow-up. The sample reported significant reductions in past 30-day cocaine use from baseline to follow-up (P = 0.01).Conclusions:
SUD rates are high among STD clinic patients. STD clinics are viable settings for initiating SUD treatment linkage services. Larger-scale research on integrating SUD services in these settings is needed.