Why recruit people with alcohol or other drug problems to participate in a study of opioid use disorder?

Perhaps you don’t consider your past use of opioids to be very important. It might have been just once, or as many as 60 times. It may not seem like a big deal compared with your use of other substances. From the perspective of our research, though, you are incredibly important and we urgently need your help!

We, researchers at Washington University, are conducting a genetic study of opioid use disorder. Genetic studies compare individuals with an illness to an unaffected (control) group to identify genes that are associated with the illness. Because opioids are extremely addictive drugs, we believe that individuals who have used opioids recreationally 60 times or fewer lifetime and not become dependent on them provide the ideal comparison for identifying genes that protect against opioid addiction.

Previously-published research suggests that most individuals who have used opioids recreationally a limited number of times have used other substances more extensively. That’s why we are reaching out to In The Rooms members. Our study is the first organized attempt to enroll a large sample of individuals with a limited lifetime history of recreational opioid use. Please help us prove that it is possible to do so.

The opioid overdose epidemic has received less attention of late. This is unfortunate given that COVID-related increases in stress levels, health concerns, economic challenges, and social isolation have led to rising numbers of opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. Your participation will assist our efforts to identify genes that protect against opioid use disorder and its horrific consequences.

What Participation in the Study Involves

Participation in our study involves a one-time, 1-3 hour telephone interview. Interview questions pertain substance use, psychiatric illness, and trauma exposure. We also ask for a saliva sample as a source of DNA. Those who complete the study receive a $75 gift card (several options are available) for their time and inconvenience. Participation is limited to either African American or white, non-Hispanic, residents of the U.S. or Canada.

How to Participate

If you are interested in participating, please provide your contact information via email (omstudy@wustl.edu), our website, or our Facebook page. Even if you don’t qualify to participate, please share this message with anyone whom you think might be interested.

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