Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Delaware Valley Node National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network

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Mission and Vision

 

The CTN is a collection of "Nodes" that consist of a University based addiction treatment program (the Regional Research and Training Center [RRTC]) and 5 or more community treatment programs that have agreed to work with the RRTC to conduct randomized trials to test the effectiveness of treatments for persons with substance related disorders. Treatments selected for study are those that are being used but whose outcomes have not been clearly documented, those that have not been widely used or studied but appear promising, or those that have been widely used and studied in certain types of patients but have not been used or studied in other groups where they may also be helpful.

The University of Pennsylvania received a CTN award in 1999, and it has been renewed continuously since that time with the most recent award beginning September 1, 2010 and extending for the next 5 years. The number of Nodes has ranged from 6 to 17 and the most recent funding cycle will include 12 including the Delaware Valley Node. We have participated in studies of contingency management, motivational enhancement therapy, use of Concerta for adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, interventions to reduce behaviors that put our patients are risk for HIV, and studies of Suboxone and methadone.

Two very important events happened in the last funding period. One was the selection of Tom McLellan to head the demand reduction component of the National Office of Drug Abuse (ONDCP). His selection was a loss for our Node, but a gain for the country and he has been very involved in health care reform with a special focus on accepting substance related disorders as health problems and seeing that resources are allocated accordingly. The second major event was our good luck in being selected to lead a study of short-term vs. extended buprenorphine-naloxone treatment for opioid addicted youth. The findings were published in the 11/8/08 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association along with an editorial discussing its strengths and weaknesses. Findings consistently and strongly favored the extended treatment approach and the conclusion was that buprenorphine-naloxone is an important addition to the current treatment options for opioid addicted youth, and that providers should be in no hurry to discontinue treatment even if the patient is young and has been addicted for a short period of time. The findings were recently included in a NIDA-sponsored dissemination product on buprenorphine-naloxone, and have the potential to change the usual practice which is based entirely on psychosocial treatments for opioid addicted youth.

The Delaware Valley Node, in collaboration with its partners at the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation and the Treatment Research Institute, has also organized conferences where research findings were presented to treatment providers, and has continued to train providers on use of instruments such as the Addiction Severity Index. We are very grateful to our community treatment providers and look forward to continuing our work over the next 5 years.