Contact: Ellen Bank


October 2, 2000

$12.6 Million to Support Improved Drug Addiction Treatment

CHARLESTON, SC -- With the support of a $12.6 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) joins Yale University, The Johns Hopkins University and several other leading institutions in an effort to bring rapidly moving promising science-based drug addiction treatments into community settings.

NIDA established the Clinical Trials Network last year in an effort to improve drug abuse treatment. In late 1999 and early 2000 it awarded grants to the first six regional centers. These were in New England, Delaware Valley, the Mid Atlantic, the Pacific Region, the New York region and the Northwest region. When complete the network will consist of 20 to 30 regional research and training centers, At the local level, each center will be linked with 10 to 15 community-based treatment programs that represent a variety of treatment settings and patient populations available in that particular region of the country

The NIDA grant will establish the Medical University as the Southeastern regional research and training center for the project. "We are excited to have the opportunity to participate in this project," said Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator for the project and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at MUSC. "The Clinical Trials Network provides a unique and exciting opportunity to work collaboratively with colleagues from the Southeast and throughout the nation in exploring effective treatments for substance abuse disorders."

There is substantial evidence resulting from neuroscience and behavioral research that drug addiction is a chronic and often recurring disease. While effective treatments exist, the effectiveness of these new treatments has been demonstrated primarily in specialized treatment and research settings which have a somewhat restricted patient population. As a consequence, few of these new treatments are being applied on a wide-scale basis in real-life practice settings. By partnering the specialized treatment and research facility with the community centers, it is anticipated that the new treatments will become more readily available to those who can benefit from them.

The MUSC team will develop the infrastructure for and coordinate multi-site research projects to be carried out within its participating community treatment programs. It will also work collaboratively with the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the other regional groups of the Clinical Trial Network in directing at least one research trial per year investigating medications, psycho social treatment, health services or practice research and will participate in at least two additional research studies per year.