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Substance Abuse Research

Substance use disorders are a major public health concern in the United States. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2009, 8.9% of the U.S. adult population met criteria for substance abuse or dependence in the previous year. Further, nearly one quarter, 23.7 percent, of persons aged 12 or older participated in binge drinking and an estimated 8.7 percent of the population used an illicit drug during the month prior to the survey interview.

It is estimated that the total overall costs of substance abuse in the United States, including productivity, health, and crime-related costs, exceed $600 billion annually. The health burden of substance use is great and includes: harmful effects of acute intoxication, substance use associated injury and violence, and the consequences of numerous medical and psychiatric disorders associated with chronic alcohol and other drug use. One in four deaths in the U.S. is attributed to alcohol, tobacco, and/or illicit drugs. Despite the high prevalence and the burden of substance use disorders, the majority of individuals who need treatment do not receive it. In 2009, fewer than 20% of those with a substance use disorder in the past year received treatment for a problem related to the use of alcohol or illicit drugs.

An Institute of Medicine report released in 2006 recommended better coordination of mental health and substance-related services with general health care services. Hopkins GIM faculty work closely with their colleagues in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in several innovative treatment programs, in curriculum development and medical education, and in the following research areas: 1) screening and brief intervention for hazardous substance use in diverse medical and community-based settings; 2) the impact of alcohol and other drug use on adherence and health outcomes in HIV-infected persons; 3) relationship between trauma exposure and hazardous substance use; 4) the impact of substance use on chronic disease management, healthcare utilization, and mortality; and 5) office-based opioid agonist treatment.

Information about the faculty working in this research area and their projects is provided below.

Anika Alvanzo, MD, MS 
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Medical Director, Broadway Center for Addiction ("911 Broadway")
Research Interests: Relationship between trauma exposure and substance use, screening, 
brief intervention and referral to treatment in diverse settings 

Link to publication abstracts: PubMed

Geetangali Chander, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Director, GIM Fellowship Program
Research Interests: Hazardous drinking among HIV-infected and HIV at-risk individuals, hazardous drinking and sex-risk behaviors in women, co-occurring substance misuse and psychiatric disorders among HIV-infected individuals
Link to publication abstracts:

Richard Moore, MD, MHS
Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Chief Executive Officer, Moore Clinic for HIV Care
Research Interests: Health services and outcomes research in HIV/AIDS, epidemiology of substance use among HIV-infected persons
Link to publication abstracts:

J. Hunter Young, MD, MHS
Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research
Research Interests: Impact of substance use disorders on chronic disease management, healthcare utilization, and all-cause mortality
Link to publication abstracts: PubMed

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