Interventions Are Key To Ongoing Scientific Research

Curiosity and determination inspire scientific research studies…

It’s true! Scientific research and studies that involve human physiology and behavior are most often provoked by a certain determination and enough curiosity to seek answers to problems that are impacting our society. Over the past two years our blog posts have often discussed the results of a new study; we share this information with our readers to spark their own curiosity and prompt them to seek more information on the intervention process should their family circumstances demand it.

The KNICK television drama weaves a story with history, medical research and addiction

The KNICK takes place in New York City’s Knickerbocker Hospital in the early 1900s. One could ask “what’s so captivating about this time and place?” This is a series that offers the viewer an inside view of what not only life in New York City was about in 1900, but also a candid view of how medical research and new inventions were developed “hands on.”  And yes, drug addiction is part of The KNICK’s storyline, as well as the concept of doing an intervention and getting someone to treatment.

Here you can watch a snippet of the season finale, Episode #10…

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Two new research projects are worth noting…

If you have ever worked in a hospital emergency department (ED or ER), then chances are you’ve noted that a good percentage of the patients presenting (non-trauma) have either a primary or secondary issue tied to substance abuse. These patients arrive at the ER due to an accidental overdose, accidental injuries due to substance abuse (auto accidents, slips, falls, fights), chronic diseases due to substance abuse (pancreatitis, hepatitis, liver failure) or physical detox / withdrawal symptoms like delirium tremens. This being the case it would stand to reason that when a patient comes to an ED and admits to or exhibits signs of substance abuse this could be the perfect time for the medical professionals to intervene beyond treating the acute symptoms. But what intervention protocol works best in these situations?

Michael Bogenschutz. MD, chief of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico’s (UNM) Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science is indeed looking for answers to how best manage the opportunity to intervene when patients present with substance abuse symptoms.

According to UNM Health Science Center News Beat, Dr. Bogenschutz is focusing on how well screenings, interventions and referrals work by conducting two studies:

  • Bogenshutz is leading a five-year study of opioid-addicted patients who visit the ER. Past research, including his own, has shown that brief ER interventions had little or no effect on heavy drug users, so the current study takes a more active approach. Case managers follow up with patients to steer them toward addiction treatment and to assist with other needs, like housing or legal representation. 
  • In a second study, Bogenschutz focuses on older adult alcoholics. Researchers in Denmark, Germany and New Mexico will compare patients who receive four motivational counseling sessions with those receiving the four sessions, plus an additional eight weeks of more active therapy focused on finding rewarding alternatives to drinking.


Looking to the future…

We understand that substance use disorder is a chronic disease; however, with intervention, treatment and aftercare, remission is possible and long term sobriety is achievable. Ongoing research about addiction serves to validate these processes that promote health and wellness.

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