Society for Social Work and Research

Sixteenth Annual Conference Research That Makes A Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy
11-15 January 2012 I Grand Hyatt Washington I Washington, DC

137 Effectiveness Research In Community-Based Substance Abuse Treatment: Social Work Practice-Relevant Knowledge From NIDA’s Clinical Trials Network

Saturday, January 14, 2012: 2:30 PM-4:15 PM
Roosevelt (Grand Hyatt Washington)
Cluster: Substance Misuse and Addictive Behaviors
Symposium Organizer:
Aimee N. C. Campbell, PhD, Columbia University
Background & Purpose: A salient issue for social workers in all settings is work with individuals, families or communities affected by substance use disorders. Although many social work programs have made it a priority to train students in evidence-based addictions assessment and treatment, gaps remain in curriculum development and implementation of evidence-based practices (McLellan et al., 2003). The purpose of this symposium is to discuss this translational gap in the context of effectiveness research conducted within the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA's) National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN), with an emphasis on pragmatic clinical trials, attention to adoption and implementation issues, and ways in which data can be used by social workers practicing in the addictions field. Two CTN gender-specific studies are offered as case examples.

Methods: The CTN was established in 1999 as a response to an Institute of Medicine report (Lamb et al., 1998) documenting the schism between research and community practice. The CTN is comprised of 240 community-based drug abuse treatment programs from 37 states, scientists from 13 university-based research centers, and NIDA. The CTN's purpose is to accelerate the translation of science-based treatments into community-based practice. The CTN “Women & Trauma” trial was proposed in response to the overwhelming need to provide an appropriate intervention for trauma-related problems experienced by clients seeking addiction treatment. The study tested the effectiveness of 12 group sessions of either Seeking Safety (Najavits, 2002) or Women's Health Education among 353 participants. Among 515 participants, the “Safer Sex for Women” trial tested a 5-session Safer Sex Skills Building group (El-Bassel & Schilling, 1992) compared to a single HIV Education group, modeled on standard HIV prevention offered within drug treatment settings.

Results: “Women and Trauma” showed reductions in PTSD symptoms for both intervention groups; secondary analyses revealed promising findings of Seeking Safety for alcohol misusers, heavy substance users, and for HIV risk reduction among high risk participants. Outcomes of “Safer Sex” showed significant reductions in unprotected sexual occasions over time for women in the 5-session intervention. Both studies successfully trained community clinicians to deliver manualized treatments safely and with fidelity. Post-study, sites adopted and implemented the interventions to varying degrees depending on perception of “evidence-based” and organizational factors.

Conclusions & Implications: The CTN brings together investigators and providers to collaboratively and bi-directionally target the gap between research outcomes and community practice. The two studies presented in this symposium demonstrate that evidence-based practices can be beneficial to clients in outpatient treatment and providers can be trained to deliver these treatments with fidelity. Social workers' unique ecologically-informed orientation places them in an important position to contribute to practice and research in the field of substance abuse treatment (Straussner, 2001). Outcomes from CTN research inform ways in which social workers can advocate for policy and practice improvements. Continued collaboration between CTN investigators and social work addiction treatment providers is essential to increase utilization of research findings and translate those findings into meaningful practice.

* noted as presenting author
Nida's Clinical Trials Network: A Source of Social Work Practice-Relevant Knowledge
Elizabeth A. Wells, PhD, University of Washington; Dennis Daley, PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Behavioral Treatment for Women with Co-Occurring Posttraumatic Stress and Substance Use Disorders: The NIDA CTN Women & Trauma Study
Allison N. Kristman-Valente, MSW, University of Washington; Aimee N. C. Campbell, PhD, Columbia University; Denise A. Hien, PhD, City University of New York, Department of Psychology; Elizabeth A. Wells, PhD, University of Washington
HIV Prevention In Community-Based Substance Abuse Treatment: The NIDA CTN Safer Sex for Women Study
Aimee N. C. Campbell, PhD, Columbia University; Susan Tross, PhD, New York State Psychiatric Institute; Gloria M. Miele, PhD, New York State Psychiatric Institute; Mei-chen Hu, PhD, Columbia University; Martina Pavlicova, PhD, Columbia University
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