Dr. Redonna Chandler: My name is Redonna Chandler and I’m the Chief of the Services Research Branch of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
My branch is involved in an area of science that really seeks to try to discover ways to improve the quality of treatment that is delivered to drug abusers in different settings, to make sure that they are receiving really high-quality care and what we know of as evidence-based treatments—that is, treatments that have been supported by research to be effective in reducing drug abuse.
We look at the delivery of drug abuse treatment in lots of different types of settings where you will see substance abusers, like the criminal justice system, within general medical settings including primary care offices or emergency departments, hospitals, also within special programs that are devoted to the delivery of substance abuse treatment or mental health treatment or even that deliver infectious disease care, like HIV clinics and practices.
We look at things like access to treatment services and how can you enhance and improve access, how can you get people to utilize drug abuse treatment, how do you make sure that it’s of high quality, and how do you make it cost effective.
There’s lots of things I enjoy about this work, small things from helping someone who is a young investigator think about their ideas, develop their first grant application, and submitting that application, and then being able to experience with them the joy and the happiness of getting their first R01 and getting their first grant and their first funded project. That’s a great thing for anyone who works in the area of extramural funding that I’m in.
The other thing that’s really gratifying is when you see some important evidence base that you’ve worked on and it finds its way into policy.
So, for example, I have been involved in research that looks at effectively addressing substance abuse problems for the criminal justice population.
And you can see some things that are evidence based that are based on some of the science that we’ve funded and supported here at NIDA.
One example is looking at medication and the use of medication for opiate addiction and an emphasis on that.
So, anytime you can see your work go from the seeds of an idea all the way through to policy that actually changes the type of treatment and service that someone is able to receive, it’s very gratifying.