Skip to Main Content

Addiction Research in Public Health

Pharmaceutical Tablets and Pills

SPH Research Focus On Addiction

Opioid addiction has become an epidemic in the United States.

More than 33,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2015 — almost equal to the number of deaths in car crashes. Overdose deaths from heroin alone in 2015 were more than from gun homicides. Opioid overdose deaths are double what they were 10 years ago.

Faculty within the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health are national leaders in working to better understand the crisis. Their work is informed by their long and pioneering history in research into drug and alcohol addictions, and ways to prevent and treat addiction.

Our researchers are part of the Western States Node of the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network, a partnership between the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health and University of California San Francisco. The partnership includes community-based treatment centers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii and Oregon.

Our teams also work with Oregon’s Coordinated Care Organizations to assess the effects of Medicaid reforms and the expansion of treatment for alcohol and drug use disorders.

Our researchers are:

  • Working on studies aimed at reducing risk associated with the use of prescription opioids.
  • Leading efforts that are exploring how Medicaid policies involving opioids affect adverse events related to opioid abuse.
  • Leading work to develop a prescription drug monitoring program to help pharmacists improve the safety of opioid use.
  • Leading research focusing on American Indian/Alaska Native patients with addictions and on disparities in addiction care in those communities.
  • Helping to evaluate the practices that the best drug counselors and organizations use in substance-abuse treatment, particularly medication-assisted treatment for alcohol and opioid dependence.
  • Examining novel ways – other than opioids – to treat chronic pain in
    older patients who also have substance abuse disorders.