From conducting research while caring for patients to investigating how to minimize harm from chronic opioid use for pain management, BMC research is helping to shine light on how to care for patients with addiction.

Selected Current Research Projects

HEALing Communities Study

Massachusetts Map

BMC has the distinction of being the recipient of the largest grant awarded by the US government to combat the opioid epidemic.  Scientists from the nation’s leading health agencies and four major academic institutions are partnering with communities in four states to test a set of interventions to combat the opioid crisis. The ambitious HEALing Communities Study aims to reduce opioid overdose deaths by 40 percent over 3 years in participating communities.  The Massachusetts team is led by Grayken faculty member Dr. Jeffrey Samet, Chief of BMC’s Section of General Internal Medicine.  The study website shows the communities that are partnering with BMC to implement measures that are aimed at drastically cutting deaths from opioid overdose in the next few years.

Learn more about the HEALing Communities Study

For more information, contact Carly Bridden, MA, MPH, HEALing Communities Study,

Improving Physician Opioid Prescribing for Chronic Pain in HIV-infected Persons

TEACH - Precsription Medicine

The "Targeting Effective Analgesia in Clinics for HIV" (TEACH) Study RCT tests whether a collaborative care intervention for physicians improves the delivery of chronic opioid therapy for HIV-infected persons.

Learn more about TEACH

Substance Use Professionals' Experiences During COVID-19: A Focus on Outpatient Therapy

Two people speaking over telehealth laptop

This qualitative research study focuses on how the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced substance use professionals’ experiences in providing outpatient therapy for opioid use disorder in Massachusetts. Eligible participants will have worked for two or more years in outpatient therapy for opioid use disorder, with at least one of those years during the COVID-19 pandemic. Broadly, the purpose of this research study is to explore the intersection between the Massachusetts’ opioid epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic through the perspective of substance use professionals, as well as provide a means to gather insights into outpatient therapy modalities adopted during the pandemic.

Interested professionals may contact Caitlyn Leonard at or (978) 826-3959. Compensation is available


Research in Addiction Medicine Scholars (RAMS)

Reasarch in Addiction Medicine Scholars (RAMS) - Researchers in lab

The NIDA-funded Research in Addiction Medicine Scholars (RAMS) Program will develop skills in addiction medicine research among physicians from ABAM Foundation-accredited addiction medicine fellowship programs or addiction psychiatry fellowship programs across the United States. The RAMS Program will make important contributions to the development of the next generation of addiction physician researchers in order to provide better care for patients with and at risk for addictive diseases.

Learn more about RAMS

RESPECT Perinatal Substance Use Research Group

Project RESPECT - Baby

More than 120 babies are born at BMC each year to women with opioid use disorders. Researchers in the Departments of Pediatrics & Obstetrics and Gynecology are busy discovering new and better treatments for these vulnerable infants, many of whom are develop Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). All babies born to with in-utero opioid exposure are monitored as inpatients for 5-7 days for symptoms of opioid withdrawal. The most recent available data suggest that twelve percent of all NAS babies in the state are cared for by BMC.

The RESPECT Research Group is learning about the short-term medical and long-term developmental outcomes of treating these newborns with different pharmacologic regimens. The groundbreaking studies conducted by the RESPECT Research Group are resulting in many publications, leading the way to higher quality, more personalized care for babies exposed to opioids during pregnancy.

Recent studies and publications have focused on the impact of buprenorphine or naltrexone treatment on NAS outcomes, the impact of genetic variants on NAS outcomes, the influence of clinical factors such as prematurity and breastfeeding on NAS outcomes, and the importance of non-pharmacologic care on NAS outcomes.

Learn more about RESPECT

Targeting HIV-comorbidities with Pharmacotherapy to Reduce Alcohol and Tobacco Use in HIV-infected Russians

St. PETER HIV Trial - Patient on Bench

The St PETER HIV trial will to compare the effects of two nicotinic receptor partial agonists, varenicline and cytisine, on alcohol consumption, alcohol craving, smoking, inflammation, CHD risk and mortality risk.

Learn more about St PETER


TOPCARE - Provider with pill bottles

There is evidence to suggest that many individuals suffering from opioid use disorders become addicted after having been legally prescribed opioids by a physician as a treatment for chronic pain. In all-too-many cases, prescription opioid use escalates to a heroin addiction, as heroin is cheaper and easier to access than prescription opioids.

The purpose of TOPCARE (Transforming Opioid Prescribing in Primary Care) is to bring change in the way primary care services are delivered and decrease misuse of, and addiction to, prescription opioids.

With federal research funding, BMC physician researchers are examining the impact of opioid prescribing guidelines for chronic pain to determine whether adherence to these guidelines reduces opioid misuse. The TOPCARE program trains physicians to adhere to prescribing guidelines and then follows up with physicians implementing the guidelines to continue to improve prescribing of targeted drugs.

TOPCARE is expected to improve patient care, prevent addiction, and reduce healthcare costs.

Learn more about TOPCARE

Recent Publications by Grayken Faculty

Ferrante, N. D., Newcomb, C. W., Forde, K. A., Leonard, C. E., Torgersen, J., Linas, B. P., Rowan, S. E., Wyles, D. L., Kostman, J., Trooskin, S. B., & Lo Re, V., 3rd (2022). The Hepatitis C Care Cascade During the Direct-Acting Antiviral Era in a United States Commercially Insured Population. Open forum infectious diseases, 9(9), ofac445.

David, A. R., Sian, C. R., Gebel, C. M., Linas, B. P., Samet, J. H., Sprague Martinez, L. S., Muroff, J., Bernstein, J. A., & Assoumou, S. A. (2022). Barriers to accessing treatment for substance use after inpatient managed withdrawal (Detox): A qualitative study. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 142, 108870. Advance online publication.

Balasanova, A. A., Ritvo, A., & Renner, J. A., Jr (2022). A call for increased addiction psychiatrist engagement in medical student education. The American journal on addictions, 31(5), 403–405.

McMahan, V. M., Arenander, J., Matheson, T., Lambert, A. M., Brennan, S., Green, T. C., Walley, A. Y., & Coffin, P. O. (2022). "There's No Heroin Around Anymore. It's All Fentanyl." Adaptation of an Opioid Overdose Prevention Counseling Approach to Address Fentanyl Overdose: Formative Study. JMIR formative research, 6(9), e37483.