Yale Research Team Will Begin To Focus On Substance Abuse Treatment & Prevention

A research team at Yale that focuses on several different topics, will be starting to look more into substance abuse in the spring. This program is called ““Innovation to Impact: Translation Support and Education.”

This organization has recently been awarded a grant for $1.25 million from the National Institute on Drug Abuse in order to aid their research as much as possible.

Through the program, students and teachers researching the topic will have an opportunity to commercialize their findings. Each member will take part in a 5 day ‘boot camp’ for product development and entrepreneurship. They will also reach out to current leaders in the substance abuse community to receive extra funding.

Seth Feuerstein is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry; he will be directing the program alongside Patricia Simon who is an associate research scientist in the department as well.

For the past decade, Simon has been working on the development of substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. Currently, she teaches a seminar at the University on creating artificial intelligence products for healthcare.

Feuerstein is the “ chief medical officer of medical and digital innovation” at Magellan Healthcare. There he assists the development of apps and software programs that are being designed to “combat” several disorders that come along with substance abuse such as insomnia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and various phobias.

“I’ve been teaching entrepreneurship for a long time,” Feuerstein said. “This seemed like a next step to best help people with substance abuse disorders.”

It is important for researchers to bring forth their findings because they hold potential to save lives. Information provided by the 2014 national survey on drug use and health has concluded that 20.2 million people in America suffer from some type of substance abuse issue, that 8.4% of our entire population.

The purpose of this new program at Yale is to empower “substance use researchers to translate their innovation from the lab to the world.”

Anyone who is interested in basic science, epidemiology, prevention, treatment and policy is invited to join this research team.

This program holds hope for our nation moving forward through this devastating opioid epidemic.

“The overdose death rates in Connecticut alone [are] shocking,” said Kristin Budde, a Yale psychiatry resident and a member of the program’s executive board “I see a number of patients with substance use disorders, and the effects on them and their families can be devastating.”

Simon believes that even though this opiate crisis is fairly new, that researchers have been looking into this for years already.

“Connecticut has a robust ecosystem for innovation,” said Feuerstein.

He also noted that as the program develops he will be connecting with state agencies.

“Yale has a long history as one of the preeminent centers in terms of substance abuse [prevention] in the nation,” Feuerstein said. “Hopefully, this program will add another facet to Yale’s role in combating substance abuse.”

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