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National Institute on Drug Abuse International Program: improving opioid use disorder treatment through international research training

Gust, Steven, W.a; McCormally, Judyb

Current Opinion in Psychiatry: July 2018 - Volume 31 - Issue 4 - p 287–293
doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000426
ADDICTIVE DISORDERS: Edited by John B. Saunders and Linda B. Cottler

Purpose of review For more than 25 years, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has supported research-training programs, establishing a global research network and expanding the knowledge base on substance use disorders. International research to inform approaches to opioid addiction is particularly important and relevant to the United States, where opioid misuse, addiction, and overdose constitute an emerging public health crisis. This article summarizes the NIDA International Program and illustrates its impact by reviewing recent articles about treatment approaches for opioid use disorders (OUD).

Recent findings Studies in several countries have demonstrated the effectiveness of physician office-based opioid substitution therapies. Other research has demonstrated the effectiveness of different formulations and doses of the opioid antagonist naltrexone, as well as different approaches to providing naloxone to treat opioid overdose. Continuing research into implementation of evidence-based treatment in international settings with limited resources is applicable to US regions that face similar structural, legal, and fiscal constraints.

Summary The current review describes international research on OUD treatment and opioid overdose, most coauthored by former NIDA fellows. The findings from outside the United States have important implications for best practices domestically and in other countries that are experiencing increases in OUD prevalence and related overdose deaths.

aU.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse International Program, Bethesda

bConsultant, IQ Solutions, Inc., Rockville, Maryland, USA

Correspondence to Steven W. Gust, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse International Program, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. Tel: +1 301 402 1118; e-mail: ipdirector@nida.nih.gov

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