Friends Research Institute was awarded one of 12 national grants from The National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse as part of the Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN). Drs. Michael Gordon and Shannon Gwin Mitchell are leading this important study. Individuals with opioid use disorder in seven Maryland county jails who consent to study participation will be randomly assigned to treatment with either extended-release naltrexone or extended-release buprenorphine.
The first injection will be provided prior to release followed by six monthly injections at a community treatment program. The study is significant because it will provide novel data on the comparative effectiveness of these two medications in reducing relapse to drug use, re-incarceration, and overdose death. The study will also provide insight into approaches to expand acceptance of long-acting medications for opioid use disorder treatment. Its findings will have far-reaching implications for treatment expansion in this high-risk population.
In addition, FRI was awarded a second of the 12 JCOIN grants through a collaboration of five research sites across the country, led by Dr. Josh Lee of the New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Robert Schwartz is leading the FRI effort as part of this study, which will compare the effectiveness of extended-release naltrexone and a different extended-release buprenorphine formulation than mentioned above among study participants in US jails and prisons. This study will provide novel data to assess two potentially useful re-entry treatment options for a population prone to relapse.