Published October 12, 2017
Through a grant from the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (OASAS), RIA will coordinate a statewide program to train medical professionals in high-need regions in medication-assisted treatment of opioid addiction.
“Thanks to this OASAS initiative, we will be able to address a critical need in our state, and help potentially thousands of people who struggle with heroin and prescription opioid addiction,” says Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, professor of psychiatry, and RIA director.
UB-based clinicians will be working with physicians, public health and mental health officers, and addiction treatment centers in seven regions of the state to train health care practitioners in using buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction.
Buprenorphine is an FDA-approved medication that helps control cravings and withdrawal symptoms in addicted patients.
The seven New York regions encompass 16 underserved counties and tribal areas which have been identified by OASAS as having the highest need for assistance because of their high opioid death and hospitalization rates.
The multifaceted training program will consist of:
Other JSMBS faculty who are Western New York advisers to the program are:
Paul Updike, MD, medical director of chemical dependency services for the Catholic Health System, is also a program adviser.
“UB aims to bring the latest in addiction science, clinical care and education to our region and the state,” Nielsen says.
“We are proud the medical school is merging its expertise with RIA to bring medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction to areas in need of this valuable tool that has been shown to help people live healthier, more productive lives.”
Additionally, Leonard says the effort expands on UB’s involvement in the Erie County Opioid Epidemic Task Force, on which he, Burstein, Nielsen and Updike also serve.
“UB has been at the forefront in seeking responses to the opioid problem now plaguing our state,” he says.
RIA is a UB research center and a national leader in the study of alcohol and substance abuse issues. RIA’s research programs, most of which have multiple-year funding, are supported by federal, state and private foundation grants.
Located on UB’s Downtown Campus, RIA is a member of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and a key contributor to UB’s reputation for research excellence.