Clinical Research Studies

The Butler Center for Research is founded on the belief that we can always learn and evolve to improve the treatment of substance use disorders and other mental health disorders. See what we’re currently working on and what we’ve previously published.
Scientists examines brainwave models in modern Neurological Research Laboratory.

Current Studies

Identification of Genomic and Metabolic Biomarkers Associated with Acamprosate Response
In partnership with the Mayo Clinic, this double-blind randomized controlled trial will be looking for commonality between individuals with alcohol use disorder who respond well to acamprosate/campral treatment. The hope is that this study will eventually provide information that could help medical professionals predict who will respond well to acamprosate/campral with a simple blood test.

Completed Studies

Assessment of a Combined Pharmacotherapy and Twelve Step Treatment Approach to Opioid Dependence
In this naturalistic study, we are examining the degree to which individuals with opioid dependence attending treatment at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation respond to naltrexone, buprenorphine, or no medication within the context of Twelve Step-based treatment. We are hoping to use what we learn from this project to add to or modify future treatment approaches to best help individuals with opioid dependence.

Self-Efficacy and Counselor Development
This study examines the development of self-efficacy among graduate students over the course of an addictions counseling degree program. Students are assessed in both general counseling self-efficacy, as well as multicultural self-efficacy throughout their participation in a degree program. Information from this study will help researchers and educators better understand the development of counselor self-efficacy, will help aid future curriculum, and will provide data used to validate measures of counselor self-efficacy.

National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers Outcomes Pilot Project
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is one of nine treatment programs that are working together in this research study to measure treatment outcomes in the same way across programs. The goal of the project is to better understand how client characteristics and time spent in treatment relates to short and long term outcomes for clients.

Measuring Recovery Status
Substance dependence is a chronic disorder characterized by high rates of relapse following clinical interventions. However, most assessment instruments utilized with substance dependent individuals focus on measuring maladaptive behaviors and psychopathology in a clinical setting. Thus, relatively little is known of the factors that contribute to successful recovery following treatment. To address this, a cross-disciplinary team of staff developed the Recovery Index to assess the status of individuals currently in recovery. The Recovery Index measures recovery across four domains: 1) relapse triggers, 2) Twelve Step involvement, 3) quality of life and relationships, and 4) physical and emotional well-being. In a study currently underway we are examining the validity of the Recovery Index in assessing the recovery status of over 400 participants. The main goals of this study are: 1) to assess the psychometric properties of the Recovery Index; and 2) to solicit participant feedback about the survey's usefulness and whether changes to the content of the survey need to be made.

Does Age Influence Attentional Bias Toward Alcohol-Related Stimuli in Alcohol Dependent Patients?
One explanation for why some patients relapse to alcohol use after treatment focuses on how the brain processes alcohol-related information. More specifically, some alcohol-dependent individuals may show an excessive preoccupation with alcohol and drinking and may find it difficult to stop thinking about these stimuli. In a recently published study we found that individuals with alcohol dependence exhibit an attention and memory bias for alcohol-related stimuli when performing a cognitive task. As a follow-up to this study we are determining if younger vs. older adults show differential attention and memory bias for alcohol-related stimuli. Findings from this study may help elucidate age differences in the prevalence and treatment of alcohol dependence.

A Patient Profile for Opioid Dependence
Additional knowledge related to the etiology of opioid dependence is needed to enhance clinical awareness, improve diagnostic accuracy, and better facilitate the alignment of clinical and community resources to effectively treat opioid dependence. Strides have been taken by clinicians and investigators to define this disorder; however, this demographic continues to be met with unique and pervasive treatment challenges. To this end, we are utilizing an archival research approach to pinpoint key etiological and treatment-related correlates of opioid dependence. The following factors known to influence treatment success in opioid-dependent patients will be examined: age, gender, issues with chronic and/or acute pain, and profession. Findings from this study will help to establish a patient profile for opioid dependence which can be used to characterize and guide treatment of this devastating disorder.

The Role of Spirituality in Treatment and Recovery
This study will provide a much-needed, scientifically rigorous approach to provocative questions regarding the role of spirituality in substance dependence treatment and recovery. Study goals are to (1) explore multidimensional aspects of spirituality in substance dependent individuals in treatment, (2) examine relationships between aspects of spirituality and mental health functioning; and (3) examine changes in multidimensional aspects of spirituality in relationship to the experience, completion, and outcomes of treatment at 1, 6, and 12 months post-treatment.

Craving and Medications: Optimizing Treatment Response
This study will examine the degree to which subsets of alcohol-dependent individuals who exhibit high craving respond to treatment with naltrexone. Moreover, we will examine the degree to which genotype and comorbid conditions such as depression impact craving and treatment outcomes. Alcohol-dependent participants from the Hazelden residential program at Center City who have been offered naltrexone as part of their treatment plan will be recruited. Participants will complete daily assessments of craving during their treatment stay as well as follow-up assessments at 1, 6, and 12 months after discharge.

Need to contact the Butler Center for Research? Email us, or call 1-651-213-4200.