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NIDA Invests Nearly $7M to Address the Opioid Crisis Among Women Who Experience Intimate Partner Violence

October 27, 2023

Women with opioid use disorder (OUD) are disproportionately impacted by physical, sexual, and psychological intimate partner violence (IPV) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with up to 78 percent of women engaged in medication for OUD (MOUD) treatment experiencing IPV in the past six months, and approximately one-third with PTSD, but clinicians lack integrated treatments to address these conditions.

To address this crisis, the National Institutes of Health and National Institute on Drug Abuse has awarded nearly $7 million to MPIs Tami Sullivan, PhD (Psychiatry and Public Health); E. Jennifer Edelman, MD, MHS (Internal Medicine and Public Health); and Dawn Johnson, PhD (University of Akron Department of Psychology) to study MOUD treatment retention among women who experience IPV.

Present-Centered Therapy+ (PCT+) and Helping to Overcome PTSD through Empowerment (HOPE) are two behavioral interventions designed for women who experience IPV and who suffer from PTSD. In this study, and after conducting formative work, PCT+ and HOPE will be packaged as a stepped care model to create PCT+2HOPE.

PCT+ focuses on helping women who have experienced IPV cope with stress they are experiencing now from their trauma. It can be delivered in eight sessions by nonclinical staff.

Women who do not respond to PCT+ alone and who need additional treatment can participate in HOPE, an IPV-specific cognitive behavioral therapy delivered in 16 sessions by trained therapists.

The treatment will be delivered at opioid treatment programs at the APT Foundation in New Haven, Liberations Programs Inc. in Bridgeport, and Stanley Street Treatment and Resources, Inc. (SSTAR) in Fall River, Mass., with input from domestic service providers including the Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services in New Haven, The Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport, and the SSTAR Women’s Center.

With input and feedback from study participants and service providers, Sullivan, Edelman, and Johnson will evaluate PCT+2HOPE versus standard treatment methods. They also will explore whether the impact of the intervention differs across and within racial and ethnic groups and based on social determinants of health.

Colleagues and community partners include: James Dziura, PhD; Ashley Clayton, MA; Dini Harsono, MSc; Carla Castro, MS (Yale); Lynn Madden, PhD (The APT Foundation); Joanne Montgomery, LCSW, LADC (Liberation Programs Inc.); Genie Bailey, MD (Stanley Street Treatment and Resources); Cindy Carlson, MA (Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services); Kayte Cwikla-Masas, MA (Center for Family Justice); Beth LeComte, LICSW (Women’s Center at Stanley Street Treatment and Resources); Denise Hien, PhD (Rutgers University); Jamilla Stockman, PhD (UC San Diego); and Sean M. Murphy, PhD (CHERISH Center, Weill Cornell Medical Center).

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on October 27, 2023