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VA and NIH Collaborate to Fund Research on Deployment-Related Substance Abuse

August 31, 2010

VA is partnering with the National Institutes of Health to award $6 million in grants for research that will examine the link between substance abuse, military deployments and combat-related trauma. HSR&D investigators have received research funding through this initiative via several NIH agencies and institutions receiving grants, as well as directly through VA. For example, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) through the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, HSR&D investigator Teresa Hudson, Pharm.D., will co-lead a study with Mark Edlund, M.D., Ph.D., on opioid use among Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Veterans. Prescription opioid use disorders (OUDs) are the fastest growing form of drug abuse in the U.S. As more than half of OEF/OIF Veterans have been diagnosed with a painful condition, they are potential candidates for opioid therapy and are at risk for developing these OUDs. Using VA data, investigators will examine the circumstances under which pain medications are prescribed and how they are used. This information should help healthcare providers determine factors that put Veterans at risk for addiction. Information about this study has appeared in various news media, including the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http//

Research funded through this NIH and VA collaborative solicitation includes several VA investigators. Funded studies are: "Gender Differences in Post-Deployment Addictive Behaviors among Returning Veterans," P.I., Rani Desai, Ph.D., M.P.H., West Haven VAMC; "An Ethnographic Study of Post-Deployment Substance Abuse and Treatment Seeking," P.I., Geoffrey Curran, Ph.D., Little Rock VAMC; "Tobacco Use and Alcohol Misuse among Participants of the Millennium Cohort Study," P.I., Edward Boyko, M.D., M.P.H., Seattle VA Medical Center; and "Integrated vs. Sequential Treatment for PTSD and Addiction among OEF/OIF Veterans," P.I., David Oslin, M.D., Philadelphia VA Medical Center.

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