Subthreshold opioid use disorder prevention (STOP) trial: a cluster randomized clinical trial: study design and methods.



Preventing progression to moderate or severe opioid use disorder (OUD) among people who exhibit risky opioid use behavior that does not meet criteria for treatment with opioid agonists or antagonists (subthreshold OUD) is poorly understood. The Subthreshold Opioid Use Disorder Prevention (STOP) Trial is designed to study the efficacy of a collaborative care intervention to reduce risky opioid use and to prevent progression to moderate or severe OUD in adult primary care patients with subthreshold OUD.


The STOP trial is a cluster randomized controlled trial, randomized at the PCP level, conducted in 5 distinct geographic sites. STOP tests the efficacy of the STOP intervention in comparison to enhanced usual care (EUC) in adult primary care patients with risky opioid use that does not meet criteria for moderate-severe OUD. The STOP intervention consists of (1) a practice-embedded nurse care manager (NCM) who provides patient participant education and supports primary care providers (PCPs) in engaging and monitoring patient-participants; (2) brief advice, delivered to patient participants by their PCP and/or prerecorded video message, about health risks of opioid misuse; and (3) up to 6 sessions of telephone health coaching to motivate and support behavior change. EUC consists of primary care treatment as usual, plus printed overdose prevention educational materials and an educational video on cancer screening. The primary outcome measure is self-reported number of days of risky (illicit or nonmedical) opioid use over 180 days, assessed monthly via text message using items from the Addiction Severity Index and the Current Opioid Misuse Measure. Secondary outcomes assess other substance use, mental health, quality of life, and healthcare utilization as well as PCP prescribing and monitoring behaviors. A mixed effects negative binomial model with a log link will be fit to estimate the difference in means between treatment and control groups using an intent-to-treat population.


Given a growing interest in interventions for the management of patients with risky opioid use, and the need for primary care-based interventions, this study potentially offers a blueprint for a feasible and effective approach to improving outcomes in this population.

Trial registration, identifier NCT04218201, January 6, 2020.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Liebschutz, Jane M, Geetha A Subramaniam, Rebecca Stone, Noa Appleton, Lillian Gelberg, Travis I Lovejoy, Amanda M Bunting, Charles M Cleland, et al. (2023). Subthreshold opioid use disorder prevention (STOP) trial: a cluster randomized clinical trial: study design and methods. Addiction science & clinical practice, 18(1). p. 70. 10.1186/s13722-023-00424-8 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Li-Tzy Wu

Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Education/Training: Pre- and post-doctoral training in mental health service research, psychiatric epidemiology (NIMH T32), and addiction epidemiology (NIDA T32) from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health (Maryland); Fellow of the NIH Summer Institute on the Design and Conduct of Randomized Clinical Trials.

Director: Duke Community Based Substance Use Disorder Research Program.

Research interests: COVID-19, Opioid misuse, Opioid overdose, Opioid use disorder, Opioid addiction prevention and treatment, Pain and addiction, Chronic diseases and substance use disorders, diabetes, pharmacy-based care models and services, medication treatment for opioid use disorder (MOUD), Drug overdose, Polysubstance use and disorders, cannabis, alcohol, tobacco, hallucinogens, stimulants, e-cigarette, SBIRT (substance use Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment), EHR-based research and intervention, data science, psychometric analysis (IRT), epidemiology of addictions and comorbidity, behavioral health care integration, health services research (mental health disorders, substance use disorders, chronic diseases), nosology, research design, HIV risk behavior. 

FUNDED Research projects (Principal Investigator [PI], Site PI, or Sub-award PI): 
R03: Substance use/dependence (PI).
R21: Treatment use for alcohol use disorders (PI).
R21: Inhalant use & disorders (PI).
R01: MDMA/hallucinogen use/disorders (PI).
R01: Prescription pain reliever (opioids) misuse and use disorders (PI).
R01: Substance use disorders in adolescents (PI).
R21: CTN Substance use diagnoses & treatment (PI).
R33: CTN Substance use diagnoses & treatment (PI).
R01: Evolution of Psychopathology in the Population (ECA Duke site PI).
R01: Substance use disorders and treatment use among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (PI).
UG1: SBIRT in Primary Care (NIDA, PI).
UG1: TAPS Tool, Substance use screening tool validation in primary care (NIDA, PI).
UG1: NIDA CTN Mid-Southern Node (Clinical Trials Network, PI).
UG1: EHR Data Element Study (NIDA, PI).
UG1: Buprenorphine Physician-Pharmacist Collaboration in the Management of Patients With Opioid Use Disorder (NIDA, PI).
PCORI: INSPIRE-Integrated Health Services to Reduce Opioid Use While Managing Chronic Pain (Site PI).
CDC R01: Evaluation of state-mandated acute and post-surgical pain-specific CDC opioid prescribing (Site PI).
Pilot: Measuring Opioid Use Disorders in Secondary Electronic Health Records Data (Carolinas Collaborative Grant: Duke PI).
R21: Developing a prevention model of alcohol use disorder for Pacific Islander young adults (Subaward PI, Investigator).
UG1: Subthreshold Opioid Use Disorder Prevention Trial (NIH HEAL Initiative) (NIDA supplement, CTN-0101, Investigator).
NIDA: A Pilot Study to Permit Opioid Treatment Program Physicians to Prescribe Methadone through Community Pharmacies for their Stable Methadone Patients (NIDA/FRI: Study PI).
UG1: Integrating pharmacy-based prevention and treatment of opioid and other substance use disorders: A survey of pharmacists and stakeholder (NIH HEAL Initiative, NIDA, PI).
UG1: NorthStar Node of the Clinical Trials Network (NIDA, Site PI).
R34: Intervention Development and Pilot Study to Reduce Untreated Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Opioid Use Disorders (Subaward PI, Investigator).
UG1: Optimal Policies to Improve Methadone Maintenance Adherence Longterm (OPTIMMAL Study) (NIDA, Site PI).
R01: Increasing access to opioid use disorder treatment by opening pharmacy-based medication units of opioid treatment programs (NIDA, PI)

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