Norwegian Centre for Addiction Research
SERAFs grant from the Research Council of Norway enables SERAF to perform clinical addiction research at an international level and contributes to a more sufficient, evidence-based treatment of addiction disorders. To meet the request from the research council we have significantly increased our alcohol research. We conduct extensive dissemination of addiction research through publications, lectures, courses, supervision and teaching of master and PhD students. SERAF has a broad national and international network in the field of clinical addiction research.
The population of people who develop substance use disorders will change in the future and the corresponding need for new knowledge of the medical consequences of an altered pattern of substance and alcohol use will increase. In order to provide the best possible treatment for people with alcohol and substance use disorders and to ensure the treatment is aligned with new clinical practices we must both generate new knowledge and be able to relate rationally to knowledge generated by others. Furthermore, we contribute to the implementation of new knowledge by teaching practitioners in the latest clinical research through our courses and master program.
The research at SERAF is organized in three thematic groups:
- Research on clinical addiction and health services
- Opioid maintenance treatment (OMT)
- Naltrexone as relapse prevention
The group called “Research on clinical addiction and health services” includes several projects in alcohol research. The relationship between alcohol use, depression and immunity is reviewed in the DARCY study. This study, which contains not less than eight completed, ongoing and planned sub-studies, is done in collaboration with the National expertise service ROP, Inland Hospital, NTNU, Modum Bad and immunological department at Rikshospitalet, Oslo University Hospital. There is a large degree of comorbidity between depression and alcohol dependence. The aim of this study is to investigate if immunology can explain some of this comorbidity. In collaboration with the University Hospital of Stavanger, SERAF is involved in a survey of alcohol and drug problems in the general hospital.
We have a focus on web-based technologies for use in addiction treatment and a number of projects that analyze the impact of interventions through the internet. Håvar Brendryen has evaluated Balance, which is a web-based early intervention where the primary goal is to prevent future problems with alcohol. The effect of Balance is evaluated through two randomized trials. An efficacy study recruited people from the general adult population via internet ads and in the second efficacy trial we recruited people via their workplace. This study is part of a broad international cooperation.
Together with NIVA, SERAF is part of a European consortium in which we investigate waste water (sewage) to calculate the use of licit and illicit drugs. SERAF is central to the development of the application of this new technology and refines the results from epidemiological data. This research method will also provide important information about the abuse of prescription drugs in the future.
SERAF operates two large national clinical trials that will provide valuable data for years to come:
- Effect of naltrexone depot to prevent relapse of opioid- and alcohol dependence
- The NorComt study is a cohort study of people beginning in OMT- or inpatient treatment.
SERAF was established on the basis of Sectional for clinical drug problems which mainly performed OMT research. Therefore, this research group has until recently (before the increased focus on clinical alcohol research from NFR), been the largest and most productive at the centre. With a solid background in OMT research SERAF has had an advantage to perform pioneering projects in this field. We are heavily involved in a comprehensive survey of overdoses in Denmark; the research report will be released on 26 October 2014. We are testing the use of nasal naloxone as an over dose prevention. This study has attracted international interest from France, Sweden and Denmark. The project is being tested in Bergen and Oslo and will be expanded to other cities in Norway.
National networking through joint research projects happens to be the most fruitful way to network nationally. DARCY, NorComt and the naltrexone study are good examples of well-functioning national networks through joint projects. SERAF has recruited national and international researchers in 20 % positions. Several of the guest researchers have brought valuable research skills back to their main positions and this has formed the basis for a formal national network for clinical drug research.