IU School of Medicine researchers are taking steps to improve the accessibility and quality of care for adolescents experiencing opioid use disorder (OUD) and other substance use disorders (SUDs), thanks to a new $5 million grant from the National Institute of Health’s Helping to End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL) Initiative.
The grant will fund the new project “Workforce and System Change to Treat Adolescent Opioid Use Disorder within Integrated Pediatric Primary Care” led by faculty from the Department of Psychiatry and Department of Pediatrics. The $5 million will be awarded across 5 years, with formative work happening in the first year before transitioning into a clinical trial phase.
“Addressing the growing risk of overdose deaths among adolescents has become 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 Indiana School of Medicine and one of the principal investigators of the project. “The HEAL Initiative represents a significant federal investment to tackle the opioid crisis, enhance health care outcomes and combat the increasing overdose deaths among adolescents.
The goal of this initiative revolves around making pediatric integrated behavioral care more accessible to children and adolescents. This entails providing mental health and substance use screenings, assessments and treatment through Indiana University Health primary care clinics–in partnership with behavioral health specialists–empowering the primary care system to play a pivotal role in early detection and intervention.
The project includes a multi-faceted 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 consultations between health care providers and utilizing telehealth services to reach adolescents in need of care.