Current Projects

Longitudinal Follow-up for Opioid Use Disorder (LFU-OUD)

This is a longitudinal follow-up (LFU) study that will collect long-term outcomes data on adults with opioid use disorder (OUD) who participated in one of two existing clinical trials for OUD treatment. This study is being conducted as part of the NIDA Clinical Trials Network. Several LFU studies on opioid use disorder have been conducted in previous years, and those studies helped generate vital information about the course of OUD and inform further treatments. However, important changes to the modern landscape of opioid use, such as increasing fentanyl usage and evolving treatment protocols, make further LFU studies vital. This study aims to characterize the long-term course of opioid use disorder, including outcomes of opioid use and engagement in treatment (medication and/or psychosocial).

Affective and Inflammatory Reactivity to Pain in Opioid Use Disorder

Pain is a significant contributor to negative outcomes across the spectrum of harmful opioid use. Research in chronic pain suggests that reactivity to pain rather than pain itself, is a key contributor to these negative outcomes. Studies also suggest that peripheral inflammation may play a role in both the reinforcing properties of opioids and the affective component of pain. In this study, we seek to examine the association between both affective and inflammatory reactivity to pain and (1) opioid craving and (2) opioid use in people with opioid use disorder and chronic pain.

This study is funded by National Institute of Drug Abuse

Nature and Predictors of Impaired Harm Avoidance in Polysubstance Abuse:

Harm avoidance impairments—characterized by difficulty avoiding and learning from negative consequences—are common in substance use disorders. Such deficits appear to be especially predominant in people who misuse multiple substances. In this translational research project, we seek to characterize the specific behavioral and cognitive mechanisms underlying harm avoidance impairments in people who misuse opioids compared to people who misuse both opioids and stimulants. This project is a collaboration with Boston University.

This study is funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse 

Explicit and Implicit Suicidal Cognition and Opioid Overdose

This study aims to advance our understanding of the association between suicidal cognition and opioid overdose in adults with opioid use disorder. Opioid overdose deaths tend to be categorized as either intentional (suicidal) or accidental. However, this categorization may underestimate the role of suicidal cognition in opioid overdose. We aim to quantify the association between suicidal thoughts and opioid overdose history and to identify common risk factors for opioid overdose and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

This study is funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse