Challenges In The Conduct Of Opioid Use/Dependency Disorders

Opioid Use Disorders; Henry Riordan
By Henry J. Riordan, Ph.D.,

The number of people suffering from opioid use disorders has risen significantly. In fact, figures now suggest that between 26 and 36 million people worldwide are affected by disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers or heroin abuse, with around 2.5 million of these living in the US.1 Government agencies around the globe have launched various initiatives to try and stem the rising epidemic, so it’s no surprise that the pharmaceutical industry has also responded by increasing its efforts to develop treatments to tackle this growing issue. Despite the increasing number of clinical trials to develop drugs which treat opioid use disorders, there is still relatively little advice or direction available for researchers on the appropriate design and conduct of such studies, which bring with them a number of unique operational challenges that shouldn’t be ignored. METHODICAL ISSUES WHEN CONDUCTING OPIOID USE DISORDER STUDIES First, it’s essential for clinical researchers to ensure that the investigator is specifically qualified to work with subjects suffering from opioid addiction. At least one member of the study staff should be board certified in addiction medicine, and in the US, they should have a Center of Substance Abuse Training waiver in place, signifying that they are certified to work with this unique subject population. Recruitment of appropriate participants is the next challenge for studies of...

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