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Grant from Massachusetts Gaming Commission via The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

“Assessing Responsible Gambling in Massachusetts,” PIs: Debi LaPlante, PhD, and Howard Shaffer, PhD, CAS

Responsible gambling activities are those that prevent the incidence and reduce the prevalence of gambling-related problems, diversely defined, among various target population segments. We will conduct a series of studies that will assess the adoption and long-term use of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s proposed gambling commitment tools and responsible gambling programs and resources within Massachusetts’ slot parlor and casinos. Assessment activities will include studies focused upon gambling commitment tools (i.e., Play Management), Self-exclusion, and GameSense-branded information centers. The outcomes of these evaluations will allow the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to use scientific evidence to make decisions about sustaining, revising, or removing its responsible gambling approaches and tool-based requirements.

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 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.

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)

The Division is Hiring a Technical Research Coordinator!


The Division on Addiction is looking for a Technical Research Coordinator to join our team. To find out more about this positions, please go to our Opportunities page.

CHARGE Faculty to Present Webinar on March 8


Dr. Debi A. LaPlante will present a webinar on March 8 in recognition of Problem Gambling Awareness Month hosted by the National Center for Responsible Gaming. The webinar will focus on brief screening for gambling disorders, highlighting the Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen. The webinar also will focus on Gambling Disorder Screening Day. Harvard Medical School faculty at the Division on Addiction have proposed a new understanding of addiction. The syndrome model suggests that addiction has a common etiology with multiple expressions that range from substance-use disorders to behavioral disorders. Registration information will be available soon.

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.


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.

© Division on Addiction. All Rights Reserved. Last Updated:  February 04, 2016