Psychiatric comorbidity and substance use outcomes in an office-based buprenorphine program six months following hurricane sandy

Babak Tofighi, Ellie Grossman, Keith S. Goldfeld, Arthur Robinson Williams, John Rotrosen, Joshua D. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: On October 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck New York City, resulting in unprecedented damages, including the temporary closure of Bellevue Hospital Center and its primary care office-based buprenorphine program. Objectives: At 6 months, we assessed factors associated with higher rates of substance use in buprenorphine program participants that completed a baseline survey one month post-Sandy (i.e. shorter length of time in treatment, exposure to storm losses, a pre-storm history of positive opiate urine drug screens, and post-disaster psychiatric symptoms). Methodology: Risk factors of interest extracted from the electronic medical records included pre-disaster diagnosis of Axis I and/or II disorders and length of treatment up to the disaster. Factors collected from the baseline survey conducted approximately one month post-Sandy included self-reported buprenorphine supply disruption, health insurance status, disaster exposure, and post-Sandy screenings for PTSD and depression. Outcome variables reviewed 6 months post-Sandy included missed appointments, urine drug results for opioids, cocaine, and benzodiazepines. Results: 129 (98%) patients remained in treatment at 6 months, and had no sustained increases in opioid-, cocaine-, and benzodiazepine-positive urine drug tests in any sub-groups with elevated substance use in the baseline survey. Contrary to our initial hypothesis, diagnosis of Axis I and/or II disorders pre-Sandy were associated with significantly less opioid-positive urine drug findings in the 6 months following Sandy compared to the rest of the clinic population. Conclusion: These findings demonstrate the adaptability of a safety net buprenorphine program to ensure positive treatment outcomes despite disaster-related factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1571-1578
Number of pages8
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 15 2015


  • buprenorphine
  • cyclonic storm
  • disaster planning
  • disasters
  • hurricane
  • opioid replacement therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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