Improving addiction recovery by developing and implementing evidence-based treatments that are acceptable to patients and realistic for typical health care organizations and practice settings.
Individuals and families who suffer alcohol, illicit or prescription drug addiction deserve equal access to the best treatments possible. But stigma, discrimination and health care disparities persist, rendering variation in the widespread availability of evidence-based services. Addiction and its treatments remain misunderstood. Common myths are 1) that all substance use can be controlled by an individual’s personal willpower, and 2) that addiction can be cured once and for all in a period of several weeks. In reality, the medical disease of addiction is now conceptualized as a chronic and often relapsing condition, involving physiological alterations to the brain, with a primary manifest symptom of continued substance use despite consequences. These consequences might include psychological and emotional effects, legal issues, relationship difficulties, work and school problems, and either causing or exacerbating medical and psychiatric conditions. Effective treatments for addiction therefore are delivered similar to the care of other chronic conditions such as hypertension or diabetes. Recovery is possible and sometimes transformative.
The Addiction Health Services and Implementation Research (AHSIR) section of the Psychiatric Research Center is dedicated to improving the chances of recovery for the person who suffers addiction. Our overall strategy is to develop and implement community-friendly treatments that are acceptable to patients and that are economically feasible and deliverable by the health care providers who work in typical health care organizations and practice settings.
Our program of research is funded by grants from the US National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and contracts with US states, counties and tribal authorities.
We are a multidisciplinary team based in Lebanon New Hampshire but work in close collaboration with colleagues across the US and internationally. For the past 15 years, in addition to specific research projects, we have consulted, trained and provided implementation support strategies to systems, organizations and health care providers on the implementation of evidence-based medications and psychosocial therapies for addiction, the integration of addiction, mental health and medical services, and most recently, on the science of implementation as applied to health care.