Advancing substance use disorder treatment
Addiction continuously evolves as a society, substances and the healthcare industry change. To save lives, we have to keep up with this change and develop innovative, evidence-based practices. Ashley Addiction Treatment researches our work with patients, treatment methods and outcomes. And, in partnership with faculty from Johns Hopkins University, our work has advanced scientific thought related to topics including:
- Treatment outcomes study that evaluates and connects behavioral outcomes, symptoms and trends in inpatient and outpatient treatment models
- Clinical trials and intervention studies which advance our understanding of effective methodologies
- Health services efficacy study, reviewing post-treatment and recovery behavioral statistics to evaluate the lasting effects of treatment
- Basic science inquiry into interactions, clearances and toxicology associated with substance use disorders
A broad goal drives each of the above efforts: to advance humanity’s understanding of substance use disorder, including its treatments and effects. As our understanding of the disease of addiction evolves, so will our research efforts. Explore our recently published and in-progress research projects below, and check back here to see new developments as we start new programs.
Protracted renal clearance of fentanyl in persons with opioid use disorder
Summary: This study aimed to measure renal clearance of fentanyl in patients with opioid use disorder in our residential treatment program.
Learn More: Article abstract
Differences in availability and use of medications for opioid use disorder in residential treatment settings in the United States
Summary: This study analyzed the variance in the administration of medication for opioid use disorder among residential treatment facilities across the United States.
Learn More: Article
Trends in first-time treatment admissions for older adults with alcohol use disorder: Availability of medical and specialty clinical services in hospital, residential, and outpatient facilities
Summary: Older adults seeking treatment for alcohol use disorder may need specialized care, including medication supported recovery. In some facilities, this type of treatment is not available.
Learn More: Article abstract
Physical and mental health improvements during residential treatment for substance use disorders
Summary: The goal of this study is to quantify improvements in depression, anxiety, sleep, craving, and quality of life during residential treatment. We also examined whether these improvements persist into early abstinence following residential treatment.
Clinical trial: Buspirone for the treatment of opioid withdrawal
Summary: This randomized-controlled trial examined whether buspirone reduces opioid withdrawal. The study found initial efficacy of buspirone that should be examined in a larger trial.
Fentanyl elimination in persons with opioid use disorder
Summary: This study quantified the time it takes fentanyl to leave the body in individuals who use fentanyl regularly. The average elimination time of fentanyl is 1-2 weeks in this population and can take as long as one month.
Association of sleep disturbance, chronic pain, opioid withdrawal
Summary: There is very little research on sleep disturbances and chronic pain in persons going through opioid withdrawal. This study will examine whether chronic pain worsens opioid withdrawal and sleep disturbances in persons with opioid use disorder.
Status: IRB Approved/Active
Grant-funded multi-site clinical trial to study the relationship among sleep, stress, emotion, drug craving, and relapse in outpatient facilities
Summary: There is no published clinical research on the role of the orexin neurotransmitter system in opioid use disorder. This randomized-controlled trial will examine whether a dual-orexin receptor antagonist improves sleep, stress, and relapse outcomes in persons in early recovery from opioid use disorder.
Status: IRB Approved/Active
Improving treatment quality metrics within Ashley
Summary: We are tracking patient outcomes across a number of indicators to assess the quality of treatment as well as our data collection strategy. The program tracked in-program stress, mental health, and craving data as well as numerous quality of life indicators for up to one year following completion of our treatment programs. This data will not only improve our operations and treatment methodologies but will also be viable for academic research purposes.
Proposed topics for future study
- Quantifying outcomes from Ashley’s Pain Recovery program
- Treatment strategies for older adults with alcohol use disorder
- Medication strategies for opioid withdrawal
- The relationship between spirituality and physiological outcomes (e.g. stress)
Our research programs are led in partnership by Ashley staff and Andrew Huhn, Ph.D., M.B.A., associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Studies at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Huhn’s research focuses on risk factors for illicit drug relapse and medication strategies to improve opioid use disorder treatment outcomes. Since 2018, Ashley has partnered with Dr. Huhn on a number of studies using patient treatment, recovery, and outcome data to inform treatment methodologies for Ashley and the medical community at large.
Research Associate, Jami Mayo, earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UMBC, and is currently working towards an MBA with a specialization in health care management, data science and innovation at the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business. Her current work relates to clinical pharmacology of abused substances, substance abuse liability, behavioral and neuropsychiatric assessments, as well as biomedical device, behavioral, and medication-based treatments for substance abuse.
Justin Strickland, Ph.D., is an instructor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. His research focuses on understanding the behavioral and biological processes underlying substance use disorder, including behavioral economics and decision-making science. At Ashley, his work improves our patient experience by identifying individual differences related to positive response to develop, evaluate, and implement novel treatments.