Center for Addiction Medicine Research Program

The Center for Addiction Medicine's research program offers the best in personally tailored behavioral and medication treatment for smoking cessation, prevention of relapse to smoking, and other substance use issues.

Overview

The work of the Center for Addiction Medicine is carried out through clinical trials that investigate causes of substance use disorders and investigate novel treatments. These findings in these studies often affect the way treatment is delivered in actual healthcare environments.

The Center for Addiction Medicine conducts research related to substance abuse on a variety of topics.

Studies for Marijuana Smokers

  • Effect of Medical Marijuana on Neurocognition and Escalation of Use
  • Web-based Survey of Individuals Interested in Using Medical Marijuana
  • Cognition and Adolescent Health
  • Mentoring in Patient-Oriented Addiction Research
  • Examining the Effectiveness of a Peer-support Model for Parents and Caregivers of Addicted Loved Ones
  • Decision-Making and Drug Use
  • Internet ad for the Decision-Making and Drug Use Study
  • Using Imaging to Assess Effects of THC on Brain Activity
  • Recovery Research Institute (RRI)

Learn more about marijuana research

Studies for Tobacco Smokers

  • Integrated Smoking Cessation Treatment for Smokers with Serious Mental Illnesses
  • Mentoring in Patient-Oriented Addiction Research
  • Examining the Effectiveness of a Peer-support Model for Parents and Caregivers of Addicted Loved Ones
  • Reduced Nicotine Cigarettes in Smokers with Mood and Anxiety Disorders
  • Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Characterize Cigarette Smoking in Neurocognitive Domains
  • Subway ad for Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Characterize Cigarette Smoking in Neurocognitive Domains Study
  • Recovery Research Institute (RRI)

Learn more about tobacco research

Studies for Alcohol and Mixed Drug use

  • Mentoring in Patient-Oriented Addiction Research
  • Characterization and Evaluation of Addiction Recovery Community Centers
  • Examining the Effectiveness of a Peer-support Model for Parents and Caregivers of Addicted Loved Ones
  • Decision-Making and Drug Use
  • Internet ad for the Decision-Making and Drug Use Study
  • Enhanced Treatment for Binge Drinking Depressed College Students
  • Development and Testing of Adolescent Twelve-Step Facilitation
  • Recovery Research Institute (RRI)

Learn more about alcohol and mixed drug use research

Studies for Depression and Other Mental Health Conditions

  • Integrated Smoking Cessation Treatment for Smokers with Serious Mental Illnesses
  • Enhancing Outcomes, Reducing Costs: Evaluating Peer Support for Mood Disorder
  • Reduced Nicotine Cigarettes in Smokers with Mood and Anxiety Disorders
  • Decision-Making and Drug Use
  • Internet ad for the Decision-Making and Drug Use Study
  • Enhanced Treatment for Binge Drinking Depressed College Students
  • Comprehensive CVD Risk Reduction Trial in Persons with Serious Mental Illness (Triumph Trial)

Learn more about related mental health research

Our studies are not limited to patients in our psychiatric care at Massachusetts General Hospital. They are also available to the public as a health resource through our research program.

Learn more about the Center for Addiction Medicine at Mass General.

Marijuana Smokers

Effect of Medical Marijuana on Neurocognition and Escalation of Use
Principal Investigator: Jodi Gilman, 2016—2020
Study Reference: 5K01DA034093

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the the effect of medical marijuana (MM) on a range of outcomes, including clinical symptoms, cognitive performance, brain function, and possible transition to cannabis use disorders (CUD), in adults who are interested in using medical marijuana to treat pain, insomnia, depression, or anxiety. We will conduct longitudal assessments over 6 months that will:

  1. Characterize the impact of MM on progression to CUD, as well as other indices of addiction such as increased tolerance and withdrawal among those who stop using MM
  2. Assess, via daily dosing diaries, the effect of MM use patterns on use of other medications and perception of underlying disease symptomatology
  3. Characterize the impact of MM on neurocognitive performance, including executive function, memory, attention, and decision-making
  4. Examine evidence for impact of MM on brain function in the prefrontal cortex and reward regions

Web-based Survey of Individuals Interested in Using Medical Marijuana
Principal Investigator: Jodi Gilman, 2015—2020
Study Reference: NIH/NIDA 1K01DA034093-01A

The aims of this study are to characterize the most common illnesses for which MM is sought, the reasons for seeking MM, reasons for hesitance to use and to characterize current marijuana use habits of those interested in using MM.

Cognition and Adolescent Health
Principal Investigator: Schuster, Gilman, Evins, 2015—2020
Study Reference: 5K01DA034093-03

The purpose of this study is to provide updated information on prevalence and frequency of cannabis use in relation to other forms of substance use in a representative sample of high-school aged adolescents, to evaluate the effect of contingency management on initial 30-day verified cannabis abstinence in adolescents and older adolescents who use cannabis at least weekly and are not seeking treatment, to determine whether there is cognitive dysfunction in cannabis use that persists in the short term (4 days) after use but resolves with extended abstinence (30 days) compared to cannabis users who do not quit and non-using controls and to estimate the rate of cognitive improvement with cannabis abstinence as a function of time since last use and concentration of detectable cannabis metabolites in urine.

Mentoring in Patient-Oriented Addiction Research
Principal Investigator: Kelly, 2014—2019
Study Reference: National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism/K24AA022136-01

This grant is designed to develop specific content expertise in treatment and recovery policy, and the design, implementation, and evaluation of treatment and recovery support service combinations. This grant also allows for mentoring junior investigators in patient-orientated addiction research (POAR).

Examining the Effectiveness of a Peer-support Model for Parents and Caregivers of Addicted Loved Ones
Principal Investigator(s): Kelly, 2014—2105
Study Reference: Recovery Research Institute (RRI)

This study aims to assess the subjective benefits of participation in face-to-face meetings for both Learn to Cope affiliates and their family members with addiction problems; to examine the extent to which Learn to Cope is associated with improving its members’ understanding of and competence in dealing with their loved ones’ addiction as well as helping their loved ones’ chances of recovery from addiction.

Decision-Making and Drug Use
Principal Investigator: Gilman, 2013—2016
Study Reference: NIH/NIDA 1K01DA034093-01A1

The aim of the study is to design novel behavioral tasks that will allow us to separate and empirically measure factors that predict social influence. We would like to design new tasks based on classic psychological studies that will allows us to model social influence, to observe differences between non-dependent young adults aged 18-25 who use either alcohol (ALC) or marijuana (MJ), and age-matched controls (CON), in order to investigate differences in susceptibility to social influence and in neural activation of regions associated with social influence as a function of early drug use.

Using Imaging to Assess Effects of THC on Brain Activity
Principal Investigator: Gilman, 2013—2017
Study Reference: NIDA 1K01DA034093

The aim of this study is to assess the effects of THC intoxication using the medication dronabinol (synthetic THC) on resting state and task-based activation in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), as well as on neurocognitive task performance and correlations between these measurements and clinical signs of intoxication, as well as to investigate at which doses of dronabinol an effect on neurocognitive task performance or an effect on PFC activity can be observed.

 

Tobacco Smokers

Study title?
Principal Investigator: Kelly, 2011—2019
Study Reference: Tower Foundation and private donors

Some of the RRI projects include building and maintaining a website in order to provide a credible source of information to debunk addiction and recovery myths, and provide free access to the latest recovery research information; building and evaluating recovery support programs in the community; building and evaluating recovery support programs in educational settings such as high schools and colleges; understanding the impact of community mutual-help organizations; addiction treatment system program evaluation.

Integrated Smoking Cessation Treatment for Smokers with Serious Mental Illnesses
Principal Investigator: A. Eden Evins, MD, MPH, 2016—2021
Study Reference: PCORI 1504-30472

The aim of this study is to study the effectiveness of two practical approaches to improve the health of people with mental illness in the community. The project will test whether tailored education to primary care doctors alone or combined with community health workers will help those with mental illness quit smoking. More than 1,100 patients at 50 Boston area community health clinics will be involved. Bay Cove Human Services and Vinfen, two of the largest mental health service providers in the Commonwealth, will lead the clinical component of this study.

Mentoring in Patient-Oriented Addiction Research
Principal Investigator: Kelly, 2014—2019
Study Reference: National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism/K24AA022136-01

This grant is designed to develop specific content expertise in treatment and recovery policy, and the design, implementation, and evaluation of treatment and recovery support service combinations. This grant also allows for mentoring junior investigators in patient-orientated addiction research (POAR).

Examining the Effectiveness of a Peer-support Model for Parents and Caregivers of Addicted Loved Ones
Principal Investigator(s): Kelly, 2014—2105
Study Reference: Recovery Research Institute (RRI)

This study aims to assess the subjective benefits of participation in face-to-face meetings for both Learn to Cope affiliates and their family members with addiction problems; to examine the extent to which Learn to Cope is associated with improving its members’ understanding of and competence in dealing with their loved ones’ addiction as well as helping their loved ones’ chances of recovery from addiction.

Reduced Nicotine Cigarettes in Smokers with Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Principal Investigator: Evins, 2013—2018
Study Reference: P50 DA 036107-01

The aim of this study is to assess the effect of switching to gradually reduced nicotine content cigarettes on product use patterns and biomarkers of exposure, on psychiatric and nicotine withdrawal symptoms and on self-perception of tobacco dependence, self-report of intention to quit smoking, and actual smoking cessation attempts in smokers with mood and/or anxiety disorders.

Learn more about this study.

Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Characterize Cigarette Smoking in Neurocognitive Domains
Principal Investigator: Gilman, 2013—2106
Study Reference: IH K24DA030443-04

The purpose of this study is to characterize the structural and functional brain circuitry of smokers in order to gain a better understanding of the neuroscience underlying nicotine addiction. Specifically, we use neuroimaging to characterize smokers in 3 domains; cue reactivity, sustained attention, and inhibitory control; as well as asses resting brain function.

Alcohol and Mixed Drug Us

Mentoring in Patient-Oriented Addiction Research
Principal Investigator: Kelly, 2014—2019
Study Reference: National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism/K24AA022136-01

This grant is designed to develop specific content expertise in treatment and recovery policy, and the design, implementation, and evaluation of treatment and recovery support service combinations. This grant also allows for mentoring junior investigators in patient-orientated addiction research (POAR).

Characterization and Evaluation of Addiction Recovery Community Centers
Principal Investigator: Kelly, 2014—2016
Study Reference: National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism /R21AA022693-01A1

This study will characterize and evaluate the public health and addiction recovery utility of addiction recovery community centers in the United States. This experimental/developmental investigation will characterize RCCs in New England and New York, and survey RCC clients to examine abstinence and remission rates and the accrual of recovery capital and enhanced quality of life.

Examining the Effectiveness of a Peer-support Model for Parents and Caregivers of Addicted Loved Ones
Principal Investigator: Kelly, 2014—2105
Study Reference: Recovery Research Institute (RRI)

This study aims to assess the subjective benefits of participation in face-to-face meetings for both Learn to Cope affiliates and their family members with addiction problems; to examine the extent to which Learn to Cope is associated with improving its members’ understanding of and competence in dealing with their loved ones’ addiction as well as helping their loved ones’ chances of recovery from addiction.

Decision-Making and Drug Use
Principal Investigator: Gilman, 2013—2016
Study Reference: NIH/NIDA 1K01DA034093-01A1

The aim of the study is to design novel behavioral tasks that will allow us to separate and empirically measure factors that predict social influence. We would like to design new tasks based on classic psychological studies that will allows us to model social influence, to observe differences between non-dependent young adults aged 18-25 who use either alcohol (ALC) or marijuana (MJ), and age-matched controls (CON), in order to investigate differences in susceptibility to social influence and in neural activation of regions associated with social influence as a function of early drug use.

Enhanced Treatment for Binge Drinking Depressed College Students
Principal Investigator: Pedrelli, 2011—2016
Study Reference: K23 AA020064

This is the first randomized controlled study on the effectiveness of a treatment combining Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Brief Motivational Intervention (CBT+BMI) for college students with depressive symptoms who binge drink. Given the severe consequences associated with binge drinking and depressive symptoms in college students identifying an effective treatment for this population has critical public health significance. The Treatment for Excessive Alcohol Use and Depression in Students (TREADS) study lasts approximately 12 weeks. As part of the study participants complete a baseline visits and then are randomized, by chance, like the flip of a coin, to one of two therapy programs. Both courses include eight therapy visits and teach coping skills for depressive symptoms. However, in one therapy program participants receive a personalized feedback about their alcohol use, while in the other program they may or may not talk about alcohol consumption depending on the students’ preference. Both courses teach the same coping skills for depressive symptoms but include different levels of focus on alcohol. Participants complete one follow-up assessment visit at the end of the therapy program and one four weeks later. The three assessment visits are reimbursed.

Register for this study.

Development and Testing of Adolescent Twelve-Step Facilitation
Principal Investigator: Kelly, 2011—2016
Study Reference: National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism/R01AA019664-01A1

This study is the first to develop and test in a randomized experimental design the efficacy of an integrated 12-step facilitation intervention tailored for young people.

Learn more about this study.

Mental Health Conditions

Depression and Other Mental Health Conditions

Integrated Smoking Cessation Treatment for Smokers with Serious Mental Illnesses
Principal Investigator: A. Eden Evins, MD, MPH, 2016—2021
Study Reference: PCORI 1504-30472

The aim of this study is to study the effectiveness of two practical approaches to improve the health of people with mental illness in the community. The project will test whether tailored education to primary care doctors alone or combined with community health workers will help those with mental illness quit smoking. More than 1,100 patients at 50 Boston area community health clinics will be involved. Bay Cove Human Services and Vinfen, two of the largest mental health service providers in the Commonwealth, will lead the clinical component of this study.

Enhancing Outcomes, Reducing Costs: Evaluating Peer Support for Mood Disorder
Principal Investigator: Kelly, 2014—2016
Study Reference: National Institute of Mental Health/R21MH101271-01

This study will characterize Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) participants and their participation in the organization; and, obtain preliminary estimates of the organizations’ purported clinical and recovery utility.

Learn more about this study.

Reduced Nicotine Cigarettes in Smokers with Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Principal Investigator: Evins, 2013—2018
Study Reference: P50 DA 036107-01

The aim of this study is to assess the effect of switching to gradually reduced nicotine content cigarettes on product use patterns and biomarkers of exposure, on psychiatric and nicotine withdrawal symptoms and on self-perception of tobacco dependence, self-report of intention to quit smoking, and actual smoking cessation attempts in smokers with mood and/or anxiety disorders.

Learn more about this study.

Decision-Making and Drug Use
Principal Investigator: Gilman, 2013—2016
Study Reference: NIH/NIDA 1K01DA034093-01A1

The aim of the study is to design novel behavioral tasks that will allow us to separate and empirically measure factors that predict social influence. We would like to design new tasks based on classic psychological studies that will allows us to model social influence, to observe differences between non-dependent young adults aged 18-25 who use either alcohol (ALC) or marijuana (MJ), and age-matched controls (CON), in order to investigate differences in susceptibility to social influence and in neural activation of regions associated with social influence as a function of early drug use.

Enhanced Treatment for Binge Drinking Depressed College Students
Principal Investigator: Pedrelli, 2011—2016
Study Reference: K23 AA020064

This is the first randomized controlled study on the effectiveness of a treatment combining Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Brief Motivational Intervention (CBT+BMI) for college students with depressive symptoms who binge drink. Given the severe consequences associated with binge drinking and depressive symptoms in college students identifying an effective treatment for this population has critical public health significance. The Treatment for Excessive Alcohol Use and Depression in Students (TREADS) study lasts approximately 12 weeks. As part of the study participants complete a baseline visits and then are randomized, by chance, like the flip of a coin, to one of two therapy programs. Both courses include eight therapy visits and teach coping skills for depressive symptoms. However, in one therapy program participants receive a personalized feedback about their alcohol use, while in the other program they may or may not talk about alcohol consumption depending on the students’ preference. Both courses teach the same coping skills for depressive symptoms but include different levels of focus on alcohol. Participants complete one follow-up assessment visit at the end of the therapy program and one four weeks later. The three assessment visits are reimbursed.

Register for this study.

Comprehensive CVD Risk Reduction Trial in Persons with Serious Mental Illness (Triumph Trial)

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