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USciences Celebrates Launch of Substance Use Disorders Institute

Published on October 9, 2018

USciences launches Substance Use Disorders Institute

University of the Sciences, on Monday, celebrated the official launch of the Substance Use Disorders Institute (SUDI), an entity focused on translating science into policy and practice to improve substance use disorders care. 

The Institute was created in June 2017 by the University to provide educational programming, policy outreach, and research about the national opioid epidemic.

“We are excited to announce the official launch of the Institute and provide many more opportunities for education and policy outreach in the years to come as we delve deeper into recovery science,” said Andrew Peterson PharmD, PhD, executive director of the institute. 

The Institute has assembled a group of thought leaders and researchers from across the University’s three colleges to take part in research and outreach including faculty from the Departments of pharmacy practice, physician assistant studies, humanities, behavioral and social sciences, biological sciences, kinesiology, and pharmacology and toxicology.

“With hundreds of proposals on opioids or treatment policy in front of federal, state, and local officials, we are seeking opportunities to provide evidence that will inform their decisions and reduce systemic barriers to care” said Gail Groves Scott, MPH, manager of the institute. 

In the past year, SUDI began pursuing its mission through policy work, collaborating in interdisciplinary research, and providing education to allied health providers. SUDI faculty presented at a number of national and regional conferences including harm reduction, pharmacotherapy, recovery housing, pain management, stigma and other topics. 

E. Amy Janke, PhD, a faculty appointee to the institute, coauthored a position statement for the Society of Behavioral Medicine on evidence-based psychosocial approaches for pain assessment and management.

With a focus on harm reduction related to opioids in Philadelphia, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy faculty members George Downs PharmD’72 and Dan Ventricelli, PharmD, MPH, worked with pharmacy schools and students to conduct outreach to local pharmacists about the opioid overdose antidote naloxone. They presented a new continuing education course on opioid use disorder during the 2018 Advances in Pharmacy Practice symposium.

As Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program came online, SUDI became a state-approved educator, offering a certification course for medical professionals. The institute is collaborating with the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association to offer trainings and develop guidance for pharmacists caring for patients taking medical cannabis.   SUDI is also partnering with state medical cannabis licensees on research proposals, and leading product labeling discussions to enhance patient safety.

The 2018 Making the Connections event was hosted by SUDI on “Medical Cannabis and Its Impact on Opioid Use,” a topic that achieved a record audience online joining a lively discussion on-campus. In June, SUDI hosted a robust discussion of the scientific evidence around Comprehensive User Engagement Sites, or overdose prevention sites, which was attended in person and streamed on Facebook Live. 

To kick-off the launch ceremony, SUDI held a one-day symposium for multi-disciplinary healthcare and recovery professionals on Supporting Recovery in the 21st Century, with sponsors Ammon Foundation, Friends Hospital, and the Pennsylvania Recovery Organizations Alliance.

The SUDI faculty members look forward to an exciting year as they continue their work in translating evidence into policy and practice by educating practitioners, researching science and policy questions, and advocating for changes to improve substance use disorder treatment.

Categories: News, Event, Substance Use Disorder Institute, Research, Community,