"Many people have questions or concerns about alcohol and other drug use — and don’t know where to turn. Health systems have historically ignored alcohol and drug use; we are changing that.”

Katharine A. Bradley, MD, MPH
Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Physician, Washington Permanente Medical Group, Internal Medicine

Research overview

Kaiser Permanente Washington researchers are exploring how to improve prevention and treatment of health issues due to alcohol and other drug use. The addictions research group conducts innovative research to help patients and their providers prevent and treat problems caused by tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, opioids, and other drugs in health settings.

A major focus of the addictions research group is how to integrate patient-centered care for alcohol and other drug use into medical settings. Over the past 3 decades, their work has focused on the need for health systems to routinely measure and address alcohol and other drug use as part of whole-person health, in nonjudgmental, patient-centered ways.

"Our alcohol-related research has built tools — such as a brief video, handout, and a patient decision aid — that help overcome stigma so that patients and families can find the help they want and need," said Katharine A. Bradley, MD, MPH, a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) and internal medicine physician with Washington Permanente Medical Group.

The addictions research group is conducting a variety of studies. "We are working to find ways to easily document the extent of cannabis exposure for both medical and nonmedical use in electronic health records," said Gwen Lapham, PhD, MSW, a KPWHRI assistant investigator. "We are also testing how to get proven online treatments for addiction into the hands of patients who could benefit," said Joseph E. Glass, PhD, MSW, a KPWHRI associate investigator.

These are among the group’s current studies:

  • PRimary Care Opioid Use Disorders (PROUD) is an implementation trial testing collaborative care for opioid use disorders.
  • Digital Treatments for Substance Use Disorder (DIGITS) is a trial of strategies to implement online substance use disorder treatments into primary care.
  • The Medical Cannabis study uses electronic health record (EHR) and survey data to study patterns of medical cannabis use among primary care patients.
  • Medication Use, Safety, and Evidence (MUSE) is a multisite observational study on the incidence of and risk factors for opioid misuse, abuse, and addiction.
  • Dr. Glass has an early-career award to study the effectiveness of treatments for alcohol use disorders in primary care.
  • Dr. Lapham is partnering with Kaiser Permanente Washington Mental Health and Wellness leaders to integrate evidence-based care for substance use into adolescent primary care.
  • Dr. Bradley’s mid-career award supports research innovation and mentoring early-career addictions researchers.

These are among the studies that the addictions research group has completed:

  • In collaboration with Emily Williams, PhD, MPH, a KPWHRI affiliate investigator at Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, they found that patients with unhealthy alcohol use who had HIV were less likely to receive evidence-based alcohol-related care than those without HIV.
  • The Choosing Healthier Drinking Options in Primary Care (CHOICE) trial found that, with nurse care management, collaborative care for patients with high-risk drinking raised their engagement in alcohol-related care — but did not decrease heavy drinking or related problems. But usual care may have had benefits for patients without high-risk drinking.
  • The Options study developed a patient-centered decision aid for thinking about drinking and learning about options for making changes in drinking.
  • The Sustained Patient-centered Alcohol-related Care (SPARC) trial found that implementing integrated mental health in primary care improved sustained implementation of evidence-based alcohol-related care.

Recent Publications on Addictions

Frost MC, Matson TE, Richards JE, Lee AK, Achtmeyer CE, Bradley KA, Williams EC. Barriers and facilitators to changing drinking and receiving alcohol-related care: interviews with Veterans Health Administration primary care patients who indicated interest but did not enroll in an alcohol care management intervention trial. Subst Abus. 2022;43(1):1197-1206. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2022.2074602. PubMed

Braciszewski JM, Idu AE, Yarborough BJH, Stumbo SP, Bobb JF, Bradley KA, Rossom RC, Murphy MT, Binswanger IA, Campbell CI, Glass JE, Matson TE, Lapham GT, Loree AM, Barbosa-Leiker C, Hatch MA, Tsui JI, Arnsten JH, Stotts A, Horigian V, Hutcheson R, Bart G, Saxon AJ, Thakral M, Ling Grant D, Pflugeisen CM, Usaga I, Madziwa LT, Silva A, Boudreau DM. Sex differences in comorbid mental and substance use disorders among primary care patients with opioid use disorder. Psychiatr Serv. 2022 Jun 16:appips202100665. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.202100665. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Hasin DS, Shmulewitz D, Stohl M, Greenstein E, Aharonovich E, Petronis KR, Von Korff M, Datta S, Sonty N, Ross S, Inturrisi C, Weinberger ML, Scodes J, Wall MM. Diagnosing prescription opioid use disorder in patients using prescribed opioids for chronic pain. Am J Psychiatry. 2022 Jun 15:appiajp21070721. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.21070721. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Frost MC, Richards JE, Blosnich JR, Hawkins EJ, Tsui JI, Edelman EJ, Williams EC. Association between clinically recognized suicidality and subsequent initiation or continuation of medications for opioid use disorder. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2022 Aug 1;237:109521. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2022.109521. Epub 2022 Jun 3. PubMed

Matson TE, Harris AHS, Chen JA, Edmonds AT, Frost MC, Rubinsky AD, Blosnich JR, Williams EC. Influence of a national transgender health care directive on receipt of alcohol-related care among transgender Veteran Health Administration patients with unhealthy alcohol use. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2022 May 24:108808. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2022.108808. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Researchers in Addictions

Jennifer F. Bobb, PhD

Associate Biostatistics Investigator
206-287-2190
Jennifer.F.Bobb@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Katharine A. Bradley, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2151
Katharine.A.Bradley@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

David S. Carrell, PhD

Associate Investigator
206-287-2705
David.S.Carrell@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Lynn DeBar, PhD

Senior Investigator
(206) 287-2942
Lynn.Debar@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Joseph E. Glass, PhD, MSW

Associate Investigator
206-287-4266
Joseph.E.Glass@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Clarissa Hsu, PhD

Associate Investigator
206-287-4276
Clarissa.W.Hsu@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Gwen Lapham, PhD, MPH, MSW

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2021
Gwen.T.Lapham@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jennifer B. McClure, PhD

Director, Investigative Science
206-287-2737
Jennifer.B.Mcclure@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Julie E. Richards, PhD, MPH

Senior Collaborative Scientist
206-287-2100
Julie.E.Richards@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Paige D. Wartko, PhD, MPH

Collaborative Scientist
206-442-5230
Paige.D.Wartko@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Kai Yeung, PharmD, PhD

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2063
Kai.Yeung@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Yu-Ru Su, PhD

Assistant Biostatistics Investigator
206-287-2948
yuru.su@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Leah K. Hamilton, PhD

Collaborative Scientist
206-287-2515
Leah.K.Hamilton@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Noorie Hyun, PhD

Assistant Biostatistics Investigator
Noorie.Hyun@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jess Mogk, MPH

Collaborative Scientist
Jessica.M.Mogk@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

 

Affiliate researcher in addictions 

Emily Williams, PhD, MPH
Investigator
Health Services Research & Development
VA Puget Sound Health Care System