UB Joins Collaborative on Countering Opioid Epidemic

Published May 30, 2019

Two institutions within the University at Buffalo have joined the National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic.

The joint commitment of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and UB’s Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions (CRIA) makes UB one of more than 100 organizations to have joined the national effort.

Advancing Clinical Care, Research on Addiction

In a statement issued April 30, the university’s leaders reaffirmed their commitment to combating the opioid crisis through collaborative, interdisciplinary efforts and partnerships.

The statement referred to UB’s more than 150 faculty members, working to advance research, education and clinical care on addiction, ranging from basic science to clinical and translational studies and health services research.

“Our clinical faculty see firsthand the damaged patients who present to our emergency rooms, clinics, private offices — and our morgues,” the statement said. “The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences hosts one of the nation’s first fellowships in addiction medicine as well as a fellowship in pain medicine, training future clinical leaders and researchers in the field of addiction.”

Numerous Initiatives Address Epidemic

Steps the CRIA’s researchers and clinicians have taken to address the epidemic are:

  • Primary care and emergency medicine residencies in the Jacobs School have incorporated “Medication for Addiction Treatment” (MAT) and “Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment” training.
  • To address the epidemic in high-need counties throughout the state, CRIA works with the Jacobs School’s Department of Family Medicine and the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.
  • UB has spearheaded novel educational programs that have trained several thousand health professional students in UB’s School of Nursing, School of Dental Medicine, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Public Health and Health Professions and the Jacobs School.
  • The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has developed an online continuing educational program focused on pain management, palliative care and addiction, which is mandated for New York State physicians who prescribe controlled substances.
  • Continuing education programs developed and offered by CRIA about the opioid epidemic provide important information for the community.
  • Students studying to become behavioral health providers who will work with people with addictions are receiving training in addiction treatment in UB’s School of Social Work, School of Law, School of Management and Graduate School of Education.
  • UB is a key partner with Erie County’s Opioid Epidemic Task Force.
  • Faculty in the Jacobs School’s Department of Emergency Medicine designed an innovative system that initiates treatment with buprenorphine in emergency rooms for those presenting with opioid use disorder, immediately connecting them with regional service agencies for next-day appointments and continuing care. The program has been replicated across the state and has received national attention.
  • Staff in UB Athletics are also receiving addiction treatment training.

CRIA Scientists Use Interdisciplinary Methods

The CRIA is a research center of the University at Buffalo focused on addressing the causes, consequences, prevention and treatment of substance use disorders.  

Its scientists are members of multiple departments and schools within UB, allowing CRIA to explore interdisciplinary methods to address addiction issues.

CRIA’s research programs are supported by federal, state and private foundation grants.