About the Speaker

Prof. Rebecca Allen

Prof. Allen received her PhD from Washington University in St. Louis in 1994. A professor of clinical geropsychology, Her research and clinical interests are interventions to reduce the stress of individuals, family, and professional caregivers for older adults with advanced chronic or terminal illness and in the dynamics of healthcare decision making. She has published on diversity in advance care planning, end-of-life issues, behavioral interventions in long-term care, and mental health among aging prisoners. She is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and the American Psychological Association. She is associate editor of Aging and Mental Health. She teaches Clinical Psychology of Aging-Intervention, Lifespan Development, Geropsychology Practicum, and undergraduate statistics.
Disruption to Substance and Opioid Use Disorder among Midlife and Older Adults: The Deep South Integrated Care Training Program
The primary objective of this talk is to describe our integrated, interprofessional behavioral health training program focused on assessment, treatment, and prevention of substance use disorder (SUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD) among individuals across the adult lifespan, including significant numbers of those over age 50. The peri-urban and rural counties where these training sites are located demonstrate significant SUD/OUD prevalence and insufficient mental health services. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, much of our assessment, treatment, and prevention has occurred via telehealth delivery systems. At the end of this talk, participants will:
  1. Understand what life situations might be involved in using substances such as alcohol, opioid pain medications, or recreational drugs.
  2. Gain knowledge to replicate strategies that effectively assist peri-urban and rural adults across the lifespan deal with SUD/OUD and find means of coping that support relapse prevention and recovery.
At the time of this abstract, 106 patients in our program have completed behavioral health assessments across three sites: a rural primary care clinic (n = 32), an urban federally qualified health center (n = 33), and a state-certified residential rehabilitation facility (n = 41). Patients range from 18 to 65 years of age (M = 38.6, SD = 11.4). Approximately 51% are female and 75% are non-Hispanic White (followed by 22% African American). Over 60% of patients have a US-high school degree or less education and find it at least somewhat difficult to pay for basic needs. Most patients endorsed substantial (44%) or severe (39%) level drug use, with 40% endorsing opioid use. Moderate to severe symptoms of depression (43%) and anxiety (49%) were common. Approximately 70% endorsed adverse childhood experiences, and 44% reported clinically significant post-traumatic stress symptoms. Given the pronounced need for SUD/OUD treatment in underserved populations, this project is poised to make a substantive impact across the adult lifespan.