Drug dependence is a persistent problem for which new treatments, both behavioral and pharmacological, are continually being developed. We need to find ways by which new treatments, once shown to be effective, can be transferred into real world practice in community-based treatment programs where most drug abusers seek help. A number of barriers between researchers and clinicians, however, have made such a transition difficult. A 1998 report from the Institute of Medicine challenged the field to work on "bridging the gap," to facilitate a better working relationship between treatment providers and clinical researchers who share the common goal of improving substance abuse treatment and its outcomes. To help address this gap, the National Institute on Drug Abuse developed the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN), as a means by which NIDA, researchers, and community-based service providers can cooperatively develop, validate, refine, and deliver new treatment options to patients in Community Treatment Programs (CTPs). The goal of the CTN is to improve the quality and outcome of community-based drug treatment using science as the vehicle. This unique bi-directional partnership encourages:
- Studies of behavioral, pharmacological, and integrated behavioral and pharmacological treatment interventions in rigorous, multisite clinical trials to determine their effectiveness, practicality, and feasibility across a broad range of treatment settings and diverse patient populations; and
- The transfer of research results to physicians, clinicians, providers, and patients.
The CTN framework consists of 13 Regional Nodes, each comprised of a Regional Research and Training Center (RRTC) housed in academic research settings and linked with multiple Community-based Treatment Programs (CTPs), plus centers for national coordination and data and statistical management. The CTN framework with over 200 affiliated CTPs in 33 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico links a variety of CTPs and patient populations throughout the country. This allows the CTN to provide a broad and powerful infrastructure for rapid, multi-site testing of promising science-based therapies, the subsequent delivery of these treatments to patients in community-based treatment, and dissemination of results and interventions to practitioners.
The University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI) has been the home for the Pacific Northwest Node of the NIDA Clinical Trials Network, directed by Dennis M. Donovan, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences a the University of Washington, and Director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. The PNW Node is a collaboration between the Regional Research and Training Center at ADAI and affiliated community treatment programs (CTPs) in Washington and Alaska. In 2010 we were awarded continuing funding through August 2014, and expanded expanded our collaborative network across the state through a partnership with Dr. John Roll, at Washington State University, Spokane. Drs. Donovan and Roll now serve as Multiple Prinicpal Investigators for the Pacific Northwest Node. This expansion leverages the resources of ADAI and the existing PNW Node at the UW with those of the Program of Excellence in Rural Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment and the Program of Excellence in the Addictions, both directed by Dr. Roll at WSU. The partnership expands the reach of our work in other states in the region and gives new attention to the issues of substance abuse in rural settings. We also added new Community Treatment Programs and new Dissemination Partners, shown in the map below.
The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute also serves as the Dissemination Library for the National Clinical Trials Network, a digital repository of resources created by and about the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network. It provides CTN members and the public with a single point of access to research findings and other materials resulting from the studies conducted by the CTN as well as additional studies that have benefitted from the CTN platform or anzlyzed the data for new and useful purposes.
Fifteen community treatment programs (CTPs) and health care organizations distributed geographically over Washington State and Alaska serve as the "real world" settings in which the CTN is able to conduct research that serves the needs of patients and treatment providers. These programs provide a mix of settings including populations from Idaho, Montana and Wyoming: urban and rural, private and public sector, in-patient/residential and outpatient, drug free and methadone maintenance programs, health maintenance organizations, primary care clinics, emergency departments, and mental health clinics. The CTPs provide a wide range of treatment services to nearly 29,000 clients per year. Available services are also targeted to specific groups having special needs such as women, the elderly, dual disorder clients, homeless populations, adolescents, individuals with co-occurring disorders, American Indian/Alaska Natives, sexual minorities, medical patients, and impaired health care providers.
The Pacific NW Node is linked with the Institute of Translational Health Sciences, which is the NIH-funded Clinical Translational Science Awardee site located at the University of Washington. It is also partnered with the Northwest Frontier and the Mountain West Addiction Technology Transfer Centers to facilitate its dissemination and training mission.
The Pacific NW Node has participated in 20 CTN protocols or ancillary studies since joining the CTN, collaborating with CTPs in Washington and other CTN Nodes throughout the country, and more will be announced as they are implemented. A list of current and completed studies can be viewed on PNW Node Protocol Involvement page of this website.