University of Vermont

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Major areas of Treatment Outcome Research

Treatment of Cocaine Abuse (Higgins):  We are currently involved in a 15-year outpatient project assessing the efficacy of behavioral interventions for treating cocaine dependence.

Cigarette Smoking During Pregnancy  (Higgins & Heil): Cigarette smoking during pregnancy is a major cause of preventable infant morbidity and mortality in the U.S.  This project examines the efficacy of voucher-based reinforcement therapy, originally developed by us for treatment of cocaine dependence, for promoting smoking cessation and preventing relapse among pregnant smokers.

Gradual vs. Abrupt Cessation (Hughes): We are comparing quitting smoking with these two methods aided by nicotine replacement.

Treatment of Nicotine Dependence (Hughes):  We are assessing why smokers do not use treatments for smoking cessation.

Treatment of Opioid Abuse (Sigmon, Heil & Higgins): The clinical pharmacology of opioid abuse and dependence is investigated in a 15-year program of research.  A series of studies are planned to examine methods to improve combined behavioral and pharmacological treatments with a special interest in prescription opioid abuse.

Treatment of Opioid-Dependent Pregnant Women (Heil): We are currently participating in a 5-year study that will be the first multi-site trial to assess the efficacy of buprenorphine for reducing neonatal abstinence relative to methadone in the offspring of opioid-dependent pregnant women.

Treatment of Cigarette Smoking (Heil & Higgins): This project builds on our prior research supporting a direct, causal relationship between early and later abstinence.  We are examining whether by increasing early abstinence, we can increase longer-term abstinence.

Incentives and Health (Higgins, Heil, Sigmon): The topic of incentives and health is a major research priority of the Human Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit.  We have extensive experience researching the use of incentives to promote healthy behavior change and hold numerous NIH-funded research projects on this topic.

Smoking Abstinence Among Methadone Maintenance (MM) Patients (Sigmon):  Prevalence of cigarette smoking among methadone maintenance (MM) patients is three-fold that of the general population and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality.  Despite these statistics, there is a dearth of scientific knowledge about how to effectively reduce smoking among MM patients.  The limited research thus far suggests that contingency-management (CM) interventions may be effective in this population.  However, one commonality across the existing studies is that none have been able to produce longer-term smoking abstinence in this challenging population.   The overarching goal of this proposal is to produce an efficacious, empirically-based smoking cessation intervention that can be easily disseminated to methadone clinics throughout the country. Overall, the proposed studies use a programmatic approach to enhance our understanding of how to achieve short- and longer-term smoking abstinence in MM patients.  The proposed research also holds significant potential for impacting the status of public health in general, as development of efficacious smoking-cessation treatments will help to reduce the vast economic and societal costs associated with cigarette smoking among MM and non-MM smokers alike.

Last modified August 09 2010 03:55 PM

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