Online Program

Successful Recruitment of Drug Users in Research Participation: Do Differences Matter?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Catherine Striley, PhD, MSW, MPE, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health and Health Professions, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Linda Cottler, PhD, MPH, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health and Health Professions, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Aims: Drug use is common, yet drug users are regularly excluded from research through exclusion criteria and lack of knowledge of opportunities to participate. We assessed what specific characteristics differentiate the two groups besides their drug use, and whether this translates into different rates of enrollment in health studies.

Methods: The Transformative Approach to Reduce Research Disparities Towards Drug Users randomized drug users and non-drug users to navigation through a community health worker (CHW) or through an “ambassador” who also provided transportation and other support to give opportunities to participate in research. Enrollment status was taken from study coordinators' records.  We analyzed how drug users differed from non-drug users in lifestyle, life events, and rate of enrollment.

Results: In this sample of 614 18 to 85 year old community recruited adults, 329 endorsed current drug use and 285 endorsed no drug use.  Drug users were more likely to be food insecure (45% vs. 35%), consider themselves homeless (23% vs. 15%), feel unsettled (40% vs. 31%), have unpredictable daily activities (49% vs. 39%), have more days where they felt unable to control important things [8.15 (95% CI 6.92,9.38) vs. 5.88 (4.74,7.03)] and more life chaos [5.00 (95%CI 4.67,5.34) vs. 3.97(95%CI 3.65,4.3)].  Outcomes from this intervention trial showed that drug users versus non-drug users were not significantly different (32% vs. 26%, p = 0.0944).

Conclusion: In this study, drug users did not significantly differ from non-drug users in rates of study enrollment despite the differences in their lives; they can and should be enrolled in research studies.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Ethics, professional and legal requirements

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the likelihood of persons with drug use enrolling in health research, including clinical research, compared to persons who do not use drugs, when navigated by a community health worker

Keyword(s): Underserved Populations, Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the managing co-investigator on this study and have been a PI or Co-I of multiple federally funded grants and foundation funded grants among community recruited people who may or may not use drugs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.