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FAAR Extends Division Contract to Conduct CARS National Pilot

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR; formerly the Century Council) has extended its contract with the Division on Addiction for two years. During this extension, we will collaborate to pilot the Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS) on a national scale. CARS is a software package that includes a mental health screener that generates immediate, personalized clinical reports to detect mental health problems in individuals who struggle with addiction. During the past two years, we have conducted usability trials of CARS and a randomized controlled trial comparing three versions of CARS against intake as usual at DUI programs in Massachusetts:

  • CARS ScreenerA comprehensive mental health screener specifically constructed and modified during our trials to be able to stand alone as a screener for programs without the time or resources to conduct Full CARS;

  • Self-Administered CARS Screener―Identical content to the CARS Screener, but modified for self-administration by clients;

  • Full CARS―The comprehensive mental health screener, as well as modules devoted to further evaluation of mental health disorders and factors related to DUI recidivism.

The national pilot will begin with five programs from across the U.S. to serve as the initial CARS pilot sites. Site selection will begin during Spring 2016.

NARCH Grant from NIH/IHS

"Promoting Cultures of Recovery in Tribal Communities," 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.

NARCH Working Group meeting 10-23-2015

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 Organizationís 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.

Extending the RENO Model: Clinical and ethical applications


The RENO Model, first published during 2004, described a science-based framework of responsible gambling principles for a range of industry operators, health service providers, community and consumer groups, and governments. These strategic principles serve as a guide for the adoption and implementation of responsible gambling and harm-minimization initiatives. This article extends the RENO Model core principles by describing how to apply these strategies to clinical practice. This discussion examines the central tenets of the model and includes a review of (a) the ethical principles that should guide the development, implementation, and practice of RENO Model responsible gambling activities; (b) a brief consideration of the various perspectives that influence the treatment of gambling-related problems; and (c) a discussion of key applied elements of responsible gambling programs. This article advances the argument that, to maximize positive outcomes and to avoid unintended harms, clinicians should apply science-based principles to rigorously evaluate the efficacy and impact of their clinical practice activities. Click here to visit the Library & Archives page.

Shaffer, H. J., Ladouceur, R., Blaszczynski, A., & Whyte, K. (In Press). Extending the RENO model: Clinical and ethical applications. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Online First. doi: 10/1037/ort0000123 (Password Protected)


Now Hiring!

The Division is seeking individuals for the positions:

QA Tester (Part-time) - The Division is seeking individuals to test its recently developed Computerized Assessment Referral System (CARS).

Research & Evaluation Scientist - The Division is seeking a PhD (or equivalent) individual with a strong interest in addictive behaviors to join our research team.

Research Coordinator I - This position will provide research and administrative support to key members of the research team conducting addiction-related research. 

For more information, visit our Opportunities page.

Thank You! Addiction Medicine 2016

Thank you to all the participants who attended Addiction Medicine!

Please remember to complete the online evaluation. You must complete the evaluation to receive AMA credits. Certificates for AMA credits will be emailed to you in approximately three weeks after you complete the survey.

We appreciate feedback from all participants and encourage you to complete the evaluation even if you do not require AMA credit.

If you have not received your certificate for American Academy of Healthcare Providers in the Addictive Disorders, APA, MBSACC, NAADAC, NASW, or NBCC credits by Friday, October 21, please send an email to info@divisiononaddiction.org.

We look forward to seeing you again next year!


The BASIS Adds First Person: Personal Narratives of Addiction

We are proud to launch a new enduring seriesFirst Person: Personal Narratives of Addiction―now on The BASIS. We will invite individuals to share their stories as a supplement to our weekly science reviews. We begin with an Op-ed as part of this month's Special Series on Opioid Dependence and Recovery. "JG," a student at a recovery high school in Boston, Mass., shares his story and illustrates how a supportive school environment can be an essential component of recovery from a substance use disorder. Narratives from two of his fellow students will follow later this summer. For more information about this new series, read the Introduction.


Now Accepting Nominations for Breakthrough Articles in Addiction Science



In recognition of the 20 year anniversary of The BASIS, we will be highlighting some of the ways addiction science has progressed over the last two decades. To nominate a research article that you believe represents a breakthrough for addiction studies, click here. Stay tuned for the results!

NEW! Online Research Methods 101 for the Provider


In this interactive course hosted by Dr. Sarah Nelson and Harvard Medical School, participating physicians will learn how to:

  • Review medical literature and identify the results and take-home points of the study

  • Identify the criteria to consider when critically evaluating empirical research

  • Identify critical components and potential pitfalls of research designs

  • Share and/or discuss research findings with patients/clients

  • Determine the appropriate research design for a given research question

  • Identify first steps to become actively involved in conducting research

For more information on this course, click here.


Recruitment Opportunities for Studies


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

© Division on Addiction. All Rights Reserved. Last Updated:  December 30, 2016