Oregon Providers and Researchers Collaborate on Drug Abuse Treatment

10/01/99    Portland, Ore.

National Grants Awarded to Bridge the Gap Between Research and Treatment.

Oregon Health Sciences University, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research and Oregon Research Institute are joining with community treatment partners to become one of five sites around the country that will participate in an effort to improve drug treatment programs. Through a $55 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), these five regional sites will establish local networks to move promising science-based drug addiction treatments into community settings.

The five regional centers will be known as the National Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network and will provide a research infrastructure to test drug addiction treatments in real-life settings. Each center will be linked with community treatment programs representing a variety of treatment settings and patient populations in that region of the country. The Oregon Regional Node (OR-Node), as the local consortium is called, will receive $11 million over five years to serve the Northwest.

"A lot of very important research has been funded by NIDA, but it has been difficult to get these methods tested and the treatment delivered at the program level," said Merwyn "Mitch" Greenlick, Ph.D., principal investigator for OR-Node and chairman of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at OHSU. "The idea is to involve our clinical partners from the beginning in establishing the research agenda and formulating the questions."

"The exciting thing about this project is that it will bring together the research and treatment communities in a way that will make both groups more effective," said Anthony Biglan, Ph.D., OR-Node co-investigator from Oregon Research Institute.

In all, more than 35 researchers from OHSU, CHR and ORI will help develop proposals for new drugs, recruitment policies or treatment interventions designed to improve overall drug abuse treatment. Those proposals will be reviewed and approved by a national steering committee made up of researchers, treatment providers and NIDA representatives.

Oregon treatment programs participating in this project include ChangePoint, CODA, Oregon Treatment Network, Kaiser Permanente Recovery Resources and OHSU Behavioral Health Clinic. Led by Ann Uhler, executive director of CODA, and Richard Drandoff, administrative director of ChangePoint, OR-Node treatment partners will participate in research development and will ensure that research will be more relevant to community needs and findings more likely to result in improved treatment for residents of Oregon.

Portland State University's Center for the Study of Mental Health Policy and Services will also participate in research and training.

"Nearly 10 million people suffer from drug addiction and dependence, and substance abuse devastates the lives of both adults and adolescents," said Mary L. Durham, Ph.D., OR-Node co-investigator from the Center for Health Research. "Almost 10 percent of our nation's health care expenditures are spent preventing, diagnosing and treating addictive disease. OR-Node will allow us to find effective treatments to ease the tremendous personal and social burden of drug abuse in our communities."

Other sites around the country awarded the NIDA grant were Yale University (New England Node), University of Pennsylvania (Delaware Valley Node), Johns Hopkins University and the Medical College of Virginia (Mid-Atlantic Node) and University of California at Los Angeles (Pacific Node). NIDA plans to award five more regional grants next year, with the eventual goal of establishing 25 to 30 research centers nationwide.