VA/NIH Award $6 Million for Substance Abuse Research

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Studies to Fill Knowledge Gaps about OIF/OEF Service Members

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs is partnering with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to award $6 million in grants for research examining the link between substance abuse and military deployments and combat-related trauma.

VA SEAL LOGO - Department of Veterans Affairs“VA has a commitment to meet the full range of our Veterans’ physical and mental health care needs, and that includes addressing substance abuse,” said Dr. Joel Kupersmith, VA’s chief research and development officer. “This coordinated research effort is one more way we are turning that commitment into action.”

NIH agencies taking part in the initiative are the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the National Cancer Institute.

Several studies will look at treatment seeking patterns — why and when Veterans ask for help, and why many don’t.  Scientists will also explore treatment strategies, including cognitive behavioral therapy and Web-based approaches, as well as the most effective therapies for soldiers who have other disorders, such as depression and substance abuse. 

Researchers will also determine if early intervention can improve outcomes.  Other projects will focus on how Veterans readjust to their work and families after returning from war.

Institutions receiving the grants include Brandeis University; Dartmouth College; the Medical University of South Carolina; the National Development and Research Institutes in New York City; the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; the University of Missouri in Columbia; and the VA medical centers in West Haven, Conn.; Philadelphia; Little Rock, Ark.; and Seattle.

 “These research projects will give us important information about the ways that combat stress and substance abuse affect returning military personnel and their families,” said NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow.  “This knowledge will be used to improve our prevention and treatment approaches, which we hope will reduce the burden of combat-related trauma.  Working cooperatively with VA and other partners will help in finding solutions for this shared concern.”

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