Teresa López-Castro, psychologist in CCNY's Colin Powell School, is advancing her research into opioid use disorder treatment with a $200,000 grant from the NIH.
As the COVID-19 global pandemic continues, so does the nation’s opioid epidemic, according to the American Medical Association. At The City College of New York, a $200,000 National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to psychologist Teresa López-Castro will enable her to delve into an aspect of the epidemic – barriers to treatment engagement for individuals with opioid use disorder who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her project is entitled: “Impact of PTSD and trauma re-exposure on buprenorphine maintenance treatment in syringe exchange programs.”
The two-year grant allows López-Castro, assistant professor in CCNY’s Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, to advance her research goals in the area of novel interventions for co-occurring PTSD and substance use disorders. Buprenorphine medications are used for treating opioid addiction.
The award provides López-Castro with access to the research infrastructure of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, specialized mentorship, and dedicated time to transition towards funding independence. Her research will determine the PTSD and traumatic event exposure prevalence in an ongoing research study of on-demand buprenorphine treatment delivered at syringe exchange programs (SEPs) in Washington Heights and the Bronx. López-Castro will examine whether PTSD and traumatic event re-exposure moderate the efficacy of offering buprenorphine at SEPs and elucidate the needs for trauma-related interventions among SEP consumers.
López-Castro will use these findings to develop a low threshold intervention that addresses PTSD symptoms and can be potentially added to the services available at SEPs. Her research includes mechanisms that connect traumatic stress to substance misuse and the advancement of integrative care for addiction and mental health issues.
In an update this month, the America Medical Association notes that more than 35 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality as well as ongoing concerns for those with a mental illness or substance use disorder in counties and other areas within the state.
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