Public Release: 

Oregon Research Institute receives NIH grants to study substance abuse, parenting

Oregon Research Institute

In the last week, Eugene-based Oregon Research Institute has received very good news from Washington, D. C. Three of the behavioral science research center's pending proposals have been funded, for a total of $5.9 million dollars. Funded by agencies within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the grants will focus on alcohol and substance abuse treatment of adolescents and on working with American Indian people to improve parenting skills.

"This is exciting news for us. The NIH grant review process is rigorous, and these awards speak to the quality of our science," notes ORI science co-coordinator Carol Metzler, Ph.D.

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has awarded $2.4 million to scientist Susan Duncan, Ph.D., for an extended investigation of why young people begin drinking alcohol and what influences different levels of use. The five-year study will continue to study family, friend, school, and neighborhood influences on alcohol and other drug use among White and African American youth in Portland.

"We have found that neighborhood, family, and personal characteristics all influence initiation and levels of alcohol use among children and adolescents. The continuation project will focus on patterns and predictors of alcohol use during adolescence and young adulthood and will provide vital information to help guide prevention and intervention strategies," notes Duncan.

Funding was also received from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for a unique research-community collaboration between ORI and Indian Child and Family Services (ICFS), a social service agency in southern California. This project will focus on evaluating the acceptability and effectiveness of a culturally-enhanced parenting program for reducing risk factors for substance abuse in American Indian families. This five-year, $2.1 million project will be led by scientist Betsy Davis, Ph.D.. Dr. Renda Dionne, an American Indian psychologist based at ICFS is a co-investigator on the project.

"This project is a very exciting collaboration for us. Our goal is to respectfully offer our research knowledge to the American Indian community. Our hope is that we can work together with Dr. Dionne and her staff to strengthen their children, families and communities. We believe this to be one of the most important goals that our workgroup can achieve,' said Davis.

ORI's Albuquerque office, the ORI Center for Family and Adolescent Research, has received a $1.7 million grant from NIDA to study effective aftercare programs for adolescents who finish treatment for substance abuse. Led by scientist Holly Waldron, Ph.D., this four-year research project will evaluate which aftercare programs are successful at helping teens to retain the skills and knowledge they gain in substance abuse treatment so that they are able to stay off drugs.

"Aftercare is vitally important and it's unknown which aftercare programs work the best. We will identify those which are most effective, so as to guide future therapy," said Janet Brody, Ph.D., co-investigator on the project.

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Oregon Research Institute is a non-profit behavioral sciences research center located in Eugene, Oregon. It was founded in 1960.

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