SoAP Box Sound Bites
“What do you think is the most important issue facing addictions researchers today?”
Elizabeth D’Amico, PhD: We need to better address marijuana use for teens given the changing legal landscape. Teens understand the risks of alcohol use, but many believe that marijuana is safe to use. We must share honest information about this drug, so that teens understand the medical uses, but are also better informed of the risks.
Kirk Bowden, PhD: Much of the best addiction research is only published in peer reviewed journals and is written for other researchers and academics. Because of this fact, a lot of good science never gets applied into the treatment of clients by front-line addiction counselors. As such, addiction researchers should consider writing articles for addiction counselor publications. It is important for front-line counselors to be aware the current science and understand how to apply the science with clients.
Matthew P. Martens, PhD: From a clinical standpoint, I think the most important issue involves how we can most effectively implement our interventions across a wide array of health care settings. We have a good understanding of “what works” in terms of interventions for addictive behaviors, but to really make a public health impact we need to figure out how to widely disseminate them throughout our health care system.
Brian Borsari, PhD: I feel the main issue facing addiction researchers today is translating the research findings to clinical practice. There are so many protocols and approaches that have been developed and little indication if any that they are being implemented with any degree of fidelity in the field. There is such an intensive amount of instruction and consultation required to have providers reach proficiency in motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy for substance use disorders, or other manualized approaches developed from efficacy trials. This, combined with a decay of learned skills once training or consultation is completed, raises concern that the treatments that have been painstakingly developed will ever be implemented as designed and intended on a large scale. That said, I am heartened to have seen considerable technological improvements in training modalities (e.g., online interactive protocols with immediate feedback with standardized patients), automation of real-time coding of in-session verbal and non-verbal processes, and improved tracking of client substance use may finally permit us to deliver treatments as designed, determine which components (or “how much”) of established treatments are required to facilitate change, or uncover novel clinical content or interactions that consistently precede reductions in substance use.
Ty Schepis, PhD: The issue that resonates with me most right now is the language we use as researchers to reduce stigma and affirm those who are struggling with substance use problems. I think most of us (me included) have not paid enough attention to our terminology, and it matters. I think clinicians and lay people pick up on our language by reading our work, interviews we do, or by interacting with us. Using affirming and non-stigmatizing language is something that I am definitely trying to be more aware of.
For the next issue, please respond to the following prompt in 50 words or less—“How can our division better support the clinicians and researchers of tomorrow?”
Please send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 1, 2019.