Behavioral and Integrative Treatment Branch (BITB)

What We Do:

The Behavioral and Integrative Treatment Branch (BITB) supports broad research, research training, and career development programs directed toward the development and improvement of drug abuse treatment and intervention for associated problems. The Branch encourages a staged approach to treatment and intervention development, supporting activities required to translate findings from basic science, other areas of health, or clinical observation, into researchable interventions; supporting the full-scale testing of promising or established interventions; and supporting the development of clinical training and supervision methods, streamlining of interventions, and other activities that prepare an intervention for dissemination. A fuller description of this "stage model" of intervention development can be found in BITB’s Program Announcements (R01, R34, and R03). The Branch encourages treatment and intervention research for any drug abusing population in need, across a variety of settings, for a wide range of drugs of abuse, and for traditional and non-traditional treatment and intervention approaches.

Research Programs:

The BITB supports broad research, research training, and career development programs directed toward:

  • Development, refinement, and testing of behavioral/psychosocial treatments and complementary/alternative medicine interventions for drug abuse and associated psychiatric conditions, alone and in combination with medications for drug addiction
  • Development, refinement, and testing of interventions to promote adherence to HIV and other medical treatment therapies to promote adherence to drug abuse treatment
  • Development, refinement, and testing of HIV prevention interventions for use in drug abuse treatment populations
  • Development and validation of screening and diagnostic methods and instruments.

Within each of these 4 research programs, the following topics describe some of the research supported by BITB:

  • Treatments of interest - Studies developing, improving, adapting, or testing behavioral/psychosocial treatments for drug abuse and associated comorbid psychiatric disorders, including studies developing or testing combined behavioral/psychosocial and medication treatments. All types of behavioral/psychosocial treatments are of interest, including but not limited to treatments that: 1) promote initial abstinence; 2) promote long-term abstinence; 3) optimize the effects of combined behavioral and pharmacological treatment; 4) promote adherence to medical and drug abuse treatment; 5) promote reduction in HIV risk in treatment populations, etc.

    Also of interest are: 1) brief treatment interventions; 2) continuing care interventions; 3) "booster" interventions; 4) computerized, phone-based, and e-therapy interventions; 5) treatments for use in primary care settings, etc. Examples of specific treatment approaches of interest may include, but are not limited to, cognitive-behavioral therapy, relapse prevention, exposure-based therapy, contingency management, motivational approaches, family therapy, acceptance-based therapy, psychodynamic therapy, attachment-based therapy, group therapy, psychoeducation approaches, complementary and alternative medicine approaches, etc.
  • Populations of interest - Studies developing or testing behavioral/psychosocial treatments for drug abuse for general or specific populations of drug abusers, including but not limited to adults, older adults, adolescents, women, members of underserved racial/ethnic groups, persons with disabilities such as deafness or cognitive impairment, drug abusers with co-morbid psychiatric disorders, those with criminal-justice involvement, etc.
  • Drugs of interest - Studies developing or testing behavioral/psychosocial treatments for drug abuse, including but not limited to, treatments for heroin, cocaine, marijuana, nicotine, methamphetamine, MDMA and other club drugs, sedative-hypnotics, prescription drugs, inhalants, and hallucinogens, appetite suppressants and other supplements promoted for weight loss or physical enhancement, etc.
  • Translational Research - New and innovative treatments to treat drug use disorder that are based on promising findings from basic behavioral and cognitive research, interventions found effective in changing other problematic behaviors, and theory-driven models of behavioral treatment research.
  • Community-Friendly Research - Treatments that facilitate use in settings in which there are limited resources (e.g., primary care settings, publicly funded community treatment programs, rural settings). Use of technology may facilitate treatment and clinician training, including treatments administered or assisted by technological devices and software applications such as computers, the Internet, expert systems models, telephone, pagers, or hand-held computers. Translating individual-based treatment to group format may increase efficiency. Where possible, distilling longer treatments to their brief form may allow for use in community settings.
  • Mechanism of Action Research - Studies clarifying the active components/mechanism(s) of action of behavioral treatments. Studies identifying and evaluating factors that mediate or moderate treatment efficacy.

Staff Interests

Lisa Onken, Ph.D.Chief

  • Adult and adolescent treatment
  • Treatment of co-occurring drug abuse and psychiatric disorders
  • Community friendly research
  • Translational research
  • Mechanisms of Action research
  • Adherence to HIV medications research
  • Adherence to medications for the treatment of drug abuse
  • Couples and family treatment
  • Complementary and alternative medicine approaches
  • HIV risk reduction in drug abuse treatment

Will M. Aklin, Ph.D.  - Program Officer

  • Adult drug abuse treatment research
  • Screening and brief interventions for substance abuse
  • Treatments targeting neurobehavioral processes (impulsivity, risk-taking)
  • Behavioral & combined behavioral and pharmacological treatments
  • Treatment research in community settings
  • Treatment in criminal justice setting and/or with criminal populations
  • Treatment of pain
  • Marijuana dependence treatment in adults
  • Adherence to HIV medications
  • HIV risk reduction for drug abuse treatment populations with co-occurring disorders

Debra Grossman, M.A.

  • Smoking cessation treatment for adults and adolescents
  • Marijuana dependence treatment for adults
  • Treatment for cognitively impaired drug users

Jessica Campbell Chambers, Ph.D.

  • Treatment of children & adolescents
  • Parenting & treatment
  • Measurement & assessment

Cecelia (Cece) McNamara Spitznas, Ph.DProgram Officer
(Currently out of the office on detail for one year)

  • Adult drug abuse treatment research
  • Behavioral & combined behavioral and pharmacological treatments
  • Use of technology in treatment and intervention research
  • Research on clinical training and supervision
  • Screening & brief interventions for substance abuse
  • HIV risk reduction for individuals in drug abuse treatment
  • Genetics & treatment

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