Dr. Frank Vocci

Frank J. Vocci, Ph.D.

Frank J. Vocci, Ph.D.
Frank J. Vocci, Ph.D.
President/Senior Research Scientist

Ph.D., University of Maryland
Phone: 410-837-3977 ext. 255
Fax: 410-752-4218
Research Interests

Following a post-doctoral fellowship in addiction pharmacology at the Medical College of Virginia, Dr. Frank Vocci spent 11 years at the FDA, rising to the level of Chief of the Drug Abuse Staff. At the FDA, he reviewed applications for marketing of medications for analgesic medications and for the treatment of substance abuse disorders. He also participated in domestic and international drug control issues. In 1989, he joined the Medications Development Program at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. He became the Director of the Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse (DPMC) in 1997 where he was responsible for overseeing research and development activities in medications development for the treatment of addictive disorders. He was also responsible for biomedical research in the medical consequences of drug abuse, primarily AIDS and hepatitis C research. During his tenure, the DPMC collaborated on the development of four addiction drug products that were approved by the FDA. Dr. Vocci has published over 80 articles in neuropharmacology and the treatment of substance abuse and its consequences. In 2001, he received a Meritorious Executive award from President Bush for his management of the NIDA medications development program. Dr. Vocci also received a Distinguished Service Award in 2003 from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence for his contributions to the development of buprenorphine as a treatment for opiate dependence. In 2006 Dr. Vocci received the Vernelle Fox award from the California Society of Addiction Medicine and the FeDerSerD (Italian Addiction Society) award.

Dr. Frank Vocci continues to be interested in developing medications for the treatment of substance abuse disorders. He has collaborated on the development of an implantable form of buprenorphine (PROBUPHINE) and has negotiated the participation of Friends Research Institute’s Torrance clinic in multi-center trials evaluating bupropion for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence and vigabatrin for the treatment of cocaine dependence. He is also working on two studies involving criminal justice clients: a study evaluating the administration of depot naltrexone (VIVITROL) to formerly opiate dependent prisoners prior to release and then for 6 months post-release; and on a protocol attempting to determine whether training Parole and Probations Officers on the features and benefits of medications –assisted therapy results in more referrals of drug-dependent criminal justice clients to clinics that dispense such therapies. Dr. Vocci is also a Co-Investigator in the Mid-Atlantic Node of the NIDA Clinical Trials Network.

Selected Publications
Gordon MS, Mitchell SG, Blue TR, Vocci FJ, Fishman MJ, Murphy SM, Couvillion K, Maher K, Ryan D, Wenzel K, Danner ML, Jarvis DK (in press). A comparative effectiveness trial of extended release naltrexone versus extended-release buprenorphine with individuals leaving jail. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Carswell, S.B., Gordon, M.S., Gryczynski, J., Horodyski, A.M., Ferguson, K.N., Maher, K.M., & Vocci, F.J. (2023). The daily progress system – a recovery support tool to improve engagement and retention in outpatient substance use treatment. Journal of Substance Use, 1-6.DOI: 10.1080/14659891.2023.2261036.
Shram, M. J., Henningfield, J. E., Apseloff, G., Gorodetzky, C. W., De Martin, S., Vocci, F. L., Sapienza, F. L., Kosten, T. R., Huston, J., Buchhalter, A., Ashworth, J., Lanier, R., Folli, F., Mattarei, A., Guidetti, C., Comai, S., O’Gorman, C., Traversa, S., Inturrisi, C. E., Manfredi, P.L., Pappagallo, M. (2023). The novel uncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist esmethadone (REL-1017) has no meaningful abuse potential in recreational drug users. Transl Psychiatry, 13 (1), 192. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-023-02473-8.
Zhou, X., Thompson, L. K., Pagano, A., Rahman, N., Patel, S., Gibson, D., Ibrahim, A., Casanova, B., Schwartz, R. P., Vocci, F. J., & Clarke, D. E. (2023). Patient Engagement in and Adaptations to Delivery of Outpatient Care for Opioid Use Disorder During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Psychiatr Serv, appips202100507. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.202100507.
Henningfield, J. E., Coe, M. A., Griffiths, R. R., Belouin, S. J., Berger, A., Coker, A. R., Comer, S. D., Heal, D. J., Hendricks, P. S., Nichols, C. D., Sapienza, F., Vocci, F. J., & Zia, F. Z. (2022). Psychedelic drug abuse potential assessment research for new drug applications and controlled substances act scheduling. Neuropharmacology, 218 , 109220. Doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2022.109220.
Rose, J. E., Behm, F. M., Botts, T. L., Botts, D. R., Willette, P. N., Vocci, F., & McCarty, J. (2022). Novel rapid-acting sublingual nicotine tablet as a cigarette substitution strategy. Psychopharmacology, 239 (9), 2853-2862. Doi: 10.1007/s00213-022-06171-z.
Clarke, D. E., Ibrahim, A., Doty, B., Patel, S., Gibson, D., Pagano, A., Thompson, L., Goldstein, A. B., Vocci, F., & Schwartz, R. P. (2021). Addiction Medicine Practice-based Research Network (AMNet): Assessment tools and quality measures. Substance Abuse & Rehabilitation, 12, 27-39.
Gordon, M. S., Mitchell, S. G., Blue, T. R., Vocci, F. J., Fishman, M. J., Murphy, S. M., Couvillion, K., Maher, K., Ryan, D., Wenzel, K., Danner, M. L., & Jarvis, D. K. (2021). A clinical protocol of a comparative effectiveness trial of extended-release naltrexone versus extended-release buprenorphine with individuals leaving jail. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 128, 108241.
O’Keeffe, C., Vocci, F. J., & Leshner, A (2021). Letter to the Editor regarding: Buprenorphine for opioid use disorder: The role of public funding in its development (by Barenie and Kesselheim, 2020). Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 221, 108644.
Schwartz, R. P., Gibson, D., Pagano, A., Goldstein, A., Ibrahim, A., Doty, B., Patel, S., Vocci, F. J., & Clarke, D. E. (2021). Addiction Medicine Practice-Based Research Network (AMNet): Building partnerships. Psychiatric Services, 72 (7), 845-847.
Gordon MS, Mitchell SG, Blue TR, Vocci FJ, Fishman MJ, Murphy SM, CouvillionK, Maher K, Ryan D, Wenzel K, Danner ML, Jarvis DK (2020). A clinical protocol of a comparative effectiveness trial of extended-release naltrexone versus extended-release buprenorphine with individuals leaving jail. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 108241.
Murphy SM, Jeng PJ, Poole SA, Jalali A, Vocci FJ, Gordon MS, Woody GE, Polsky D (2020). Health and economic outcomes of treatment with extended-release naltrexone among pre-release prisoners with opioid use disorder (HOPPER): protocol for an evaluation of two randomized effectiveness trials. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice 15, 1-11.
Blue TR, Gordon MS, Schwartz RP, Couvillion K, Vocci FJ, Fitzgerald TT, O’Grady KE (2019). Longitudinal analysis of HIV-risk behaviors of participants in a randomized trial of prison-initiated buprenorphine Addiction Science & Clinical Practice 14(1):45. doi: 10.1186/s13722-019-0172-2. PMID:31787108.
Elkashef A, Brasic JR, Cantilena LR, Kahn R, Chiang N, Ye WG, Zhou Y, Mojsiak J, Warren K, Crabb A, Hilton J, Wong DF, and Vocci F (2019). A cholecystokinin B receptor antagonist and cocaine interaction, Phase I study CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics 25(1):136-146.
Elkashef A, Vocci F (2019). Pharmacotherapy of Cocaine Addiction In Addiction Medicine (ed.) Johnson, BA. Springer Verlag.
Gordon MS, Vocci FJ, Taxman F, Fishman M, Sharma B, Blue TR, O’Grady KE (2019). A Randomized Controlled Trial of Buprenorphine for Probationers and Parolees: Bridging the Gap into Treatment Contemporary Clinical Trials 79:21-27. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2019.02.009. Epub 2019 Feb 20. PMID: 30797042.
Saxon AJ, Akerman SC, ChihChin L, Sullivan MA, Silverman BL, Vocci FJ (2019). Extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX) for opioid use disorder in clinical practice: Vivitrol’s Cost and Treatment Outcomes Registry Addiction 113(8): 1477-1487, 2018. DOI:10.1111/add.14199.
Vocci F (2019). Clinical Trials in Substance Using Populations In Principles of Addiction Medicine, 6th Edition Eds. Miller SC, Fiellin DA, Rosenthal RN, Saitz R. Wolters Kluwer.
Gordon MS, Blue TR, Couvillion K, Schwartz RP, O’Grady KE, Fitzgerald TT, Vocci FJ (2018). Initiating buprenorphine treatment prior to versus after release from prison: Arrest outcomes Drug and Alcohol Dependence 188:232-238. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.04.010. Epub 2018 May 12. PMID: 29783095.
Saxon AJ, Akerman SC, Liu CC, Sullivan MA, Silverman BL, Vocci FJ (2018). Extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX) for opioid use disorder in clinical practice: Vivitrol’s Cost and Treatment Outcomes Registry Addiction 113(8):1477-1487. doi: 10.1111/add.14199. Epub 2018 Apr 1. PMID: 29493836.
Gordon MS, Carswell, S.B., Peters EN, Tangires S, Kinlock TW, Vocci FJ, and Restivo L (2017). Avatar assisted therapy: A novel technology-based Intervention to treat substance use disorders In Pam Lassiter (ed.), Annual Review of Addictions and Offender Counseling: Best Practices III (p 97 - 114). Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers.
Gordon MS, Carswell, S.B., Schadegg M, Mangen K, Merkel K, Tangires S, Vocci FJ (2017). Avatar-assisted therapy: a proof-of-concept pilot study of a novel technology-based intervention to treat substance use disorders American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 43(5):518-524. doi: 10.1080/00952990.2017.1280816.
Gordon MS, Kinlock TW, Schwartz RP, O’Grady KE, Fitzgerald TT, Vocci FJ (2017). A randomized clinical trial of buprenorphine for prisoners: Findings at 12-months post-release Drug and Alcohol Dependence 172:34-42. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.11.037. Epub 2017 Jan 11. PMID: 28107680.
Gordon MS, Vocci FJ, Fitzgerald TT, O’Grady KE, O’Brien CP (2017). Extended-release naltrexone for pre-release prisoners: A randomized trial of medical mobile treatment Contemporary Clinical Trials 53:130-136. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2016.12.015. PMID:28011389.
Rosenthal RN, Lofwall MR, Kim S, Chen M, Beebe KL, Vocci FJ (2016). Effect of buprenorphine implants on illicit opioid use among abstinent adults with opioid dependence treated with sublingual buprenorphine: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of the American Medical Association 316(3), 282-290.
Gordon MS, Kinlock TW, Schwartz RP, Couvillion KA, Sudec LJ, O’Grady KE, Vocci FJ, Shabazz H (2015). Buprenorphine Treatment for Probationers and Parolees Substance Abuse 36(2):217-25. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2014.902787. Epub 2014 Apr 4. PMID: 24701967.
Gordon MS, Kinlock TW, Vocci FJ, Fitzgerald TT, Memisoglu A, Silverman B (2015). A Phase 4, Pilot, Open-Label Study of VIVITROL® (Extended-Release Naltrexone XR-NTX) for Prisoners Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 59:52-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2015.07.005. Epub 2015 Jul 18. PMID: 26299956.
Peters EN, Harrell PT, Hendricks PS, O’Grady KE, Pickworth WB, Vocci FJ (2015). Electronic cigarettes in adults in outpatient substance use treatment: Awareness, perceptions, use, and reasons for use American Journal on Addictions.  24(3):233-9.
Vocci FJ, Schwartz RP, Wilson ME, Gordon MS, Kinlock TW, Fitzgerald TT, O’Grady KE, Jaffe JH (2015). Buprenorphine dose induction in non-opioid-tolerant pre-release prisoners. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 156:133-8. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.09.001. Epub 2015 Sep 7. PMID: 26409751.
Gordon MS, Kinlock TW, Schwartz RP, Fitzgerald TT, O’Grady KE, Vocci FJ (2014). A randomized controlled trial of prison-initiated buprenorphine: prison outcomes and community treatment entry Drug and Alcohol Dependence 142, 33-40. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.05.011. Epub 2014 Jun 2. PMID: 24962326.
Paterson NE, Vocci F, Sevak RJ, Wagreich E, London ED (2014). Dopamine D3 receptors as a therapeutic target for methamphetamine dependence.  American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 40(1):1-9. PubMed PMID: 24359505.
Peters EN, Hendricks PS, Clark CB, Vocci FJ, Cropsey KL (2014). Association of race and age with treatment attendance and completion among adult marijuana users in community-based substance abuse treatment.  Journal of Addiction Medicine 8(2):143-9. PubMed PMID: 24603621.
Rosenthal RN, Ling W, Casadonte P, Vocci F, Bailey GL, Kampman K, Patkar A, Chavoustie S, Blasey C, Sigmon S, Beebe KL (2013). Buprenorphine implants for treatment of opioid dependence: randomized comparison to placebo and sublingual buprenorphine/naloxone Addiction 108(12):2141-9. doi: 10.1111/add.12315. Epub 2013 Sep 18. PMID: 23919595.
Johnson BA, Elkashef AM, Seneviratne C, Ait-Dauod N, Kahn RC, Li SH, Bloch DA, Holmes TH, Wang XQ, Vocci FJ, Jr Li MD, and the Methamphetamine Study Group (2010). Association between genotype of the serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region of the serotonin transporter gene and age of onset of methamphetamine use: a preliminary analysis Frontiers in Psychiatry 1, 145.
Anderson AL, Reid MS, Li SH, Holmes T, Shemanski L, Slee A, Smith EV, Kahn R, Chiang N, Vocci F, Ciraulo DD, Ackis C, Roache JD, Salloum IM, Somoza E, Urschel HC 3rd, Elkashef AM (2009). Modafinil for the treatment of cocaine dependence Drug and Alcohol Dependence 104(1-2), 133-139.
In J M Roll RA Rawson W Ling and SShoptaw (Eds) Vocci FJ, Elkashef E, Appel NM (2009). Pharmacological treatment of methamphetamine addiction Methamphetamine addiction: From basic science to treatment (pp 202-229) New York: Guilford Press.
Johanson CE, Balster RL, Henningfield JE, Schuster CR, Anthony JC, Barthwell AG, Coleman JJ, DArt R, Gorodetzky CW, O’Keeffe C, Sellers EM, Vocci F, Walsh SL (2009). Risk-management and post-marketing surveillance for the abuse of medications acting on the central nervous system: expert panel report Drug and Alcohol Dependence 105(Suppl 1), 565-571.
Vocci FJ, Montoya ID (2009). Psychological treatments for stimulant misuse: comparing and contrasting those for amphetamine dependence and those for cocaine dependence Current Opinion in Psychiatry 23(3), 263-268.
Elkashef A, Vocci F, Hanson G, White J, Wickes W, Tiihonen J, Acri J (2008). Pharmacotherapy of methamphetamine addiction: An update Substance Abuse 29(3), 31-50. PMCID: PMC2597382.
Elkashef AM, Rawson RA, Anderson AL, Li SH, Holmes T, Smith EV, Chiang N, Kahn R, Vocci F, Ling W, Pearce VL, McCann M, Campbell J, Gorodetzky C, Haning W, Carlton B, Mawhinney J, Weis D (2008). Bupropion for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence Neuropsychopharmacology 33(5), 1162-1170.
Johnson BA, Ait-Daoud N, Elkashef AM, Smith EV, Kahn R, Vocci F, Li SH, Bloch DA (2008). Methamphetamine Study Group: a preliminary randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the safety and efficacy of ondansetron in the treatment of methamphetamine dependence The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 11(1), 1-17.
Somoza E, Somoza P, Lewis D, Li SH, Winhusen T, Chiang N, Vocci F, Horn P, Elkashef E (2008). A new outcome measure for use in pharmacotherapy trials for cocaine dependence Drug and Alcohol Dependence 93, 132-140.
Vocci F (2008). Cognitive remediation in the treatment of substance abuse disorders: A research agenda Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology 6(6), 484-497.
Cantilena P, Cherstniakova SA, Saviolakis G, Kahn R, Elkashef A, Rose L, and Vocci F (2007). Prevalence of abnormal liver-associated enzymes in cocaine experienced adults versus healthy volunteers during phase I trials Contemporary Clinical Trials 28(6), 695-704.
Khalsa J, and Vocci FJ (2007). Management of HIV/HCV coinfection in drug abusers In G Barbaro F Nava A Lucchini, & G. Barbarini (Eds.) Management of medical disorders associated with drug abuse and addiction (pp. 161-186) HauppaugeNew York: Nova Publishers.
Montoya ID, and Vocci F (2007). Medications development for the treatment of nicotine dependence in individuals with schizophrenia Journal of Dual Diagnosis 3(3-4), 113-150.
Vocci F (2007). Can replacement therapy work in the treatment of cocaine dependence? And what are we replacing anyway? Addiction 102(12), 1871-1887.
Vocci FJ, Jr Appel NM (2007). Approaches to the development of medications for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence Addiction 102(s1), 96-106.
Elkashef AM, Fudala PJ, Gorgon L, Li SH, Kahn R, Chiang N, Vocci F, Collins J, Jones K, Boardman K, and Sather M (2006). Double-blind, placebo controlled trial of selegiline transdermal system (STS) for the treatment of cocaine dependence Drug and Alcohol Dependence 85(3), 191-197.
Haigney MC, Alam S, Tebo S, Marhefka G, Elkashef A, Kahn R, Chiang CN, Vocci F, and Cantilena L (2006). Intravenous cocaine and QT Variability Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology 17(6), 10-616.
Khalsa J, Vocci F, Altice F, Fiellin D, Miller V (2006). Buprenorphine and HIV primary care: new opportunities for integrated treatment Clinical Infectious Diseases 15(Suppl 4), S169-S172.
Elkashef A, Holmes TH, Bloch DA, Shoptaw S, Kampman K, Reid M, Somoza E, Ciraulo D, Rotrosen J, Leiderman DB, Montgomery A, and Vocci F (2005). Retrospective analyses of pooled data from CREST I and II trials Addiction 100(S1), 91-102.
Leiderman DB, Shoptaw S, Montgomery A, Bloch DA, Elkashef A, LoCastro J, and Vocci F (2005). Cocaine rapid evaluation screening trial (CREST): A paradigm for the controlled evaluation of candidate medications for cocaine dependence Addiction 100(S1), 1-11.
Vocci FJ, Acri J, Elkashef AM (2005). Medications development for addictive disorders: State of the science American Journal of Psychiatry 162:1432-1440, 2005.
Vocci FJ, and Ling W (2005). Medications Development: Successes and Challenges Pharmacology and Therapeutics 108, 94-108.