Researchers at the IU School of Medicine are taking steps to improve the accessibility and quality of care for adolescents with opioid use disorder (OUD) and other substance use disorders (SUDs), thanks to a new $5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health Helping to End. Addiction is a long-term (healing) undertaking.
The grant will fund a new workforce and system change project for the treatment of adolescent opioid use disorder within pediatric primary care, led by faculty from the Department of Psychiatry and Department of Pediatrics. $5 million will be awarded over 5 years, with formal work occurring in the first year before transitioning to a clinical trial phase.
“Addressing the growing risk of overdose deaths among adolescents remains a critical concern, and Indiana unfortunately has one of the ten highest rates of adolescent overdose deaths in the United States,” said Zachary Adams, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at the Indiana School of Medicine and one of the project’s principal investigators. “The Hill Initiative represents a significant federal investment to address the opioid crisis, improve health care outcomes, and combat rising overdose deaths among teenagers.
The goal of this initiative revolves around making pediatric integrated behavioral care more accessible for children and adolescents. It provides mental health and substance use screening, assessment and treatment through Indiana University Health primary care clinics—in partnership with behavioral health specialists—empowering the primary care system to play a critical role in early detection and intervention.
The project has a multi-pronged approach, including changing how pediatricians talk to their patients about substance use, implementing a case management system to ensure comprehensive care for adolescents experiencing SUD and OUD, increasing consultation among health care providers. and using telehealth services to reach adolescents. care is required
“Most children see a pediatrician regularly, and while mental health care is becoming more common in primary care, substance use care is often missed or seen as outside the scope of services offered in that setting,” Adams said. “This project will allow us to study strategies that can help increase the availability of substance use-related services in primary care, such as standardizing screening procedures, consulting with primary care providers around treatment options, and providing brief behavioral interventions in early care. CARE CARE Clinic.”
This approach recognizes that many adolescents who use substances do not have substance use disorders, but may benefit from education and prevention resources. Adams says most teens who experience substance use disorders have mild or moderate symptoms, making them ideal candidates for short-term, less extensive interventions. More intensive services provided by behavioral health specialists may be reserved for youth with more severe or complex needs.
Brief, evidence-based interventions exist for adolescent substance use. However, accessing these services is difficult, especially in rural settings We are excited to work with our primary care partners to offer an array of evidence-based substance use interventions.”
Matthew Alsma, PhD, professor of pediatrics and a principal investigator
The grant allows for the adaptation of interventions developed to address stigma related to OUD and SUD among health care providers, contributing to a comprehensive and innovative approach.
“One of the most important parts of this project is finding the best way to structure and deliver care to ensure that as many Indiana teens and families can benefit from effective services as possible,” Adams said.
In addition to Adams and Alsma, the initiative is led by Leslie Halvershorn, MD, and includes collaborators who are nationally known experts in adolescent addiction, integrated care, stigma reduction and implementation science. The project will involve direct input and advice from the Youth and Carers Advisory Panel throughout the duration of the grant.
Hulvershorn attributes the rapid and highly positive response to the project from the National Institutes of Health to the project’s large scale, which spans IU Health’s pediatric primary care footprint.
“The project promises to provide critical insights into the most effective ways to care for adolescents with SUD, reduce stigma, and ultimately save lives. This grant continues the IU School of Medicine’s commitment to the well-being of our youth, ensuring they receive care. Their Overcoming substance use disorders and building healthy futures.”