Public Health Nursing; Adeline Nyamathi, Kartik Yadav, Sanghyuk Shin, Alicia H. Chang, Donald Morisky, Sarah Akure Wall, Elizabeth Hall, Kathryn White, Nicholas Arce, Therese Parsa, Benissa E. Salem; Published Jan. 10, 2022; DOI: 10.1111/phn.13044


Background: People experiencing homelessness (PEH) are disproportionately diagnosed with active tuberculosis. While promoting latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) treatment has been a call to action, PEH engaging in substance use often experience challenges in completing LTBI treatment.

Methods: In this non-randomized single arm study, we tested an innovative, community-based, nurse-led community health worker (RN-CHW) model, on reducing drug use among 50 PEH, residing in homeless shelters or living on the streets in Los Angeles. Follow-up was at 3- and 6- months.

Results: Findings revealed significant and ongoing decrease in any drug use (odds ratio [OR] = 0.30; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.14-0.68); p = .004), amphetamine use (OR = 0.14; 95% CI = 0.02-0.81; p = .029), cannabis use (OR = 0.26; 95% CI = 0.12-0.57; p = .001) and methamphetamine use (OR = 0.30; 95% CI = 0.10-0.90; p = .031) at 6-month follow-up.

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this pilot study is the first to evaluate the impact a RN-CHW delivered intervention on reduction in drug use among PEH enrolled in a LTBI intervention. LTBI interventions may serve as an entryway into reduction in drug use among this underserved population.