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NARCH Grant from NIH/IHS

"Promoting Cultures of Recovery in Tribal Communities," Co-PIs: Debi LaPlante, PhD, Sarah Nelson, PhD, and Martina Whelshula, PhD

The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations (HL), a youth residential chemical dependency treatment center, serves youth from seven tribal nations (from Idaho: Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Kootenai Tribe and the Nez Perce Tribe; from Washington: The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Kalispel Tribe of Indians, and the Spokane Tribe of Indians; and from Oregon, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation) and beyond. Recognizing the lack of programmatic research regarding best practices for supporting adolescents' recovery within tribal nations, HL has developed a research partnership with the Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital (DOA). This partnership is the Center for Indigenous Research, Collaboration, Learning, and Excellence (CIRCLE). CIRCLE is excited to announce that it received an NIH/IHS Native American Research Center for Health Award (NARCH). This CIRCLE-NARCH program, using a Tribal Participatory Research (TPR) approach, will address gaps in knowledge related to key components of sustainable recovery environments in tribal nations by conducting a multi-site strengths and needs assessment study of the seven nations' tribal recovery environment.

Grant from NCRG

"Risk & Resilience among Native American Youth in the Pacific Northwest," Co-PIs: Debi LaPlante, PhD, and Martina Whelshula, PhD

Risky behaviors, such as alcohol and drug consumption, gambling, and violent or criminal activity, are a public health problem for youth across the United States (Eaton et al., 2010). Native American youth, especially, continue to be at elevated risk for some such harmful behaviors (Friese, Grube, Seninger, Paschall, & Moore, 2011), and little is known about their engagement in other behaviors (e.g., gambling). Consequently, it is important to continue to examine risky behavior among Native American youth. Likewise, it is equally important to pay as much attention to protective factors against risky behavior. Working with Native American tribes to gain information about risky behavior and protective factors will enable the development of programs that address these issues and maximize wellness. To gain information about areas of strength and those that require improvement, the proposed project will partner with The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations (HL), a residential youth chemical dependency center that serves the Inland Tribal Consortium (ITC), to engage tribal youth in a mutually-developed brief risk and resilience assessment during planned community events. We have secured an agreement with HL and representatives from the four ITC tribes (the Colville Confederated Tribes, Umitilla Tribe, Kootenai Tribe, and the Kalispel Tribe) that will host youth community events during 2014. The assessment includes central risk behaviors (e.g., gambling, alcohol use, violence) and resilience factors (e.g., Native American enculturation and family connectedness) that have well-validated reliable brief assessments available.

Grant from The Tung Wah Group of Hospitals

"Clinical Research & Training Collaboration between the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Integrated Center on Addiction Prevention and Treatment and the Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital," PI: Howard Shaffer, PhD, CAS

The purpose of this project is to guide a multi-year evidence-based clinical research and training program located at the Integrated Center on Addiction Prevention and Treatment (ICAPT) in Hong Kong. We intend this program of activities to lead to enhanced treatment outcomes and provide the architecture for establishing ongoing clinical studies, including prospective longitudinal designs and randomized clinical trials. This architecture will provide the setting for future research activities at ICAPT as well as both clinical and research training. To this end, we will establish a training and development program that includes ethics, clinical, and research activities; this program will feature a “train the trainers” approach to multiply training experience effects. In addition to web based clinical and research training, selected Tung Wah staff will participate in the annual Harvard Medical School Continuing Medical Education live course in Addiction Medicine, offered by the Division on Addiction, and partake in the Division’s Continuing Medical Education Distance Learning courses, administered by Harvard Medical School.

Grant from ABMRF: The Foundation for Alcohol Research

"The effect of tailoring a testimonial message on excessive drinking by personal relevance on implicit and explicit narrative persuasion," Co-PIs: Julia Braverman, PhD, and John Kleschinsky, MPH

Research suggests that narrative persuasion (i.e., telling vivid stories to promote attitude change) might be an effective public health promotion technique. However, it is unclear whether making a narrative story more personally relevant increases its persuasiveness. This research program explores this possibility for excessive alcohol consumption. It is well known that alcohol abuse impairs various domains of life, e.g., health, social relationships, and career. The importance of these domains varies from person to person. Hence, some people are typically more concerned about their social relationships, whereas others pay more attention to their career, or health. We examine the effect of matching the message content to what individuals find most personally relevant with two experiments. For the first experiment, we will ask participants randomly assigned to read personally relevant, or not, stories about alcohol. We will determine whether matching personal relevance along three domains (relationships, career, or health) positively affects individuals’ psychological immersion into the story, alcohol related attitudes, and self-reported drinking. For the second experiment, we will use a priming technique to make a specific domain temporarily more salient (i.e., “activated”) to an individual. This will allow us to investigate if induced relevance to self can yield similarly positive alcohol-related health outcomes.

Multi-Year Grant with the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR; Formerly The Century Council) to Reduce Repeat DUI by Developing a Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS)

New research has identified that repeat DUI offenders often suffer from a number of psychiatric disorders (e.g., Shaffer et al., 2007), suggesting that untreated mental health issues contribute to the persisting rate of DUI. To combat this pressing public health problem and to build a foundation for expanded treatment, the Division of Addiction, with support from FAAR, has begun work to develop and test a computerized clinical report generator tool, the Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS), for use in DUI intervention and treatment settings. CARS will package a powerful mental health assessment tool, the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI: Kessler & Ustun, 2004) with a user-friendly interface, increased flexibility, and immediate personalized output, to create a tool that can be used easily by DUI facility staff to screen DUI offenders and target interventions to address comorbid mental health issues. Dr. Ronald Kessler, Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, co-director of the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Surveys, and an original developer of the CIDI, and his team are collaborating with the Division on the development of CARS.

Shaffer, H. J., Nelson, S. E., LaPlante, D. A., LaBrie, R. A., Albanese, M., & Caro, G. (2007). The epidemiology of psychiatric disorders among repeat DUI offenders accepting a treatment sentencing option. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75(5), 795-804.

Kessler, R. C., & Ustun, T. B. (2004). The World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative version of the World Health Organization (WHO) Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 13(2), 93-121.

For the original press release, click here.

New Job Posting: Research Coordinator I


We have a job opening for a Research Coordinator. Visit our Job Opportunities page for more information.



Our Annual Addiction Medicine CME Course is in October!



A Case-based Approach to the Treatment of Addictive Disorders,

with a Special Focus on the Traumatized Brain


The Joseph B. Martin Conference Center

Harvard Medical School

77 Louis Avenue Pasteur, Boston, MA, 02115




Friday, October 2, 2015

7:45 AM

Introduction to the Course

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD

8:00 AM

Keynote Address: Treating Substance Use Disorders Complicated by Brain Trauma and Other Conditions

John C. Bradley, MD
9:00 AM Acute Inpatient Management of a Complex Substance Use Disorder Case Grace Chang, MD, MPH
10:00 AM BREAK
10:15 AM Managing Wounded Warriors: Coordinating Outpatient Care for PTSD, Brain Trauma, and Addiction John A. Renner, Jr., MD, CAS
11:15 AM Medical Management of Acute Withdrawal (Detox) Alan A. Wartenberg, MD
1:15 PM Case Review
1:30 PM Best Practices in Managing Co-occurring ADHD and Addiction

Timothy E. Wilens, MD

2:45 PM Panel Presentation: Patients and their Family Members Describe their Experiences with Brain Trauma and Addiction

Saturday, October 3, 2015

7:45 AM Case Review
8:00 AM Neuroimaging and Gender in Alcohol Use Disorders Gordon Harris, PhD
9:00 AM Neurobiology of Addiction with a Focus on Marijuana Bertha K. Madras, PhD
10:00 AM BREAK
10:15 AM Treating Pain and Addiction Janice F. Kauffman, RN, MPH, LADC1, CAS
11:15 AM Opioid Addiction during Pregnancy: Addressing the Methadone of Buprenorphine Dilemma Marjorie Meyer, MD
1:15 PM Brief Interventions for Substance Use Disorders: The State of the Science John R. Knight, MD
2:15 PM Pharmacotherapy/Outpatient Long-term Treatment of Opioid Dependence John A. Fromson, MD
3:30 PM Psychosocial Treatment of Addiction and its Co-morbidities Deborah Brief, PhD
4:30 PM Resolution of the Case

The Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Harvard Medical School designates this live activity for a maximum of 14.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The Division offers credits for psychologists, social workers, counselors, and addiction specialists as well and verifies that this course meets the requirements of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing (Regulation 244 CMR 5.00) toward relicensing.


Register for the course at: http://bit.ly/AddictionMedicine2015

Hotel reservations at The Inn at Longwood Medical: http://bit.ly/InnAtLongwood_AddictionMedicine2015 or (617) 731-4700 / 1-800-468-2378 (Limited room block until Sept. 1, 2015)



Remembering Dr. Richard LaBrie



The Division is sad to announce that longtime friend and colleague, Dr. Richard LaBrie, died December 31, 2014. We remember Richard fondly for his quick wit, statistical prowess, and keen intelligence. Richard was an essential member of the Division's family, and we will feel his absence for years to come.


The LaBrie family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Richard's name to the Division on Addiction. Donations may be made online by listing Richard's name under the Tribute Information section. Donations may be sent by mail with a check payable to CHA Foundation with Richard's name in the memo and mailed to the Division on Addiction, 101 Station Landing, Suite 2100, Medford, MA 02155.




Recruitment Opportunities for Studies


Click here for more information about a smoking cessation study, as well as studies for veterans.


A prospective study of psychiatric comorbidity and recidivism among repeat DUI offenders


In tandem with nationwide awareness and prevention campaigns, driving under the influence (DUI) behavior and consequences, like motor vehicle fatalities, have decreased significantly during the past several decades. However, alcohol-impaired driving still accounts for more than 30% of motor vehicle fatalities and rates of DUI no longer appear to be decreasing. Repeat DUI offenders, those who are convicted of DUI more than once, account for a disproportionate amount of DUI related harm. These offenders have much higher rates of psychiatric disorders than the general population, and it is possible that these disorders contribute to their DUI behavior and reduce the impact of intervention campaigns. The current article examines whether repeat DUI offenders with certain psychiatric disorders are more likely to reoffend than others. The authors assessed psychiatric disorders among 743 repeat DUI offenders upon admission to a DUI treatment program and then tracked their criminal record for 5 years. Offenders with certain patterns of psychiatric disorders were more likely than other offenders to commit a criminal offense during the 5-year follow-up. In addition, offenders with attention deficit disorder were specifically more likely to commit motor vehicle-related offenses during the 5-year follow-up. These findings suggest that for many repeat offenders, DUI is one outlet in a constellation of criminal behavior, and that psychiatric disorders increase vulnerability for criminal re-offense. Click here to visit the Library & Archives page.

Nelson, S. E., Belkin, K., LaPlante, D. A., Bosworth, L., & Shaffer, H. J. (2015). A prospective study of psychiatric comorbidity and recidivism among repeat DUI offenders. Archives of Scientific Psychology, 3(1), 8-17. doi: 10.1037/arc0000009 (Password Protected)

© Division on Addiction. All Rights Reserved. Last Updated:  June 30, 2015