Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute

Congratulations to Our ADAI Spring Small Grants Awardees!


What are ADAI Small Grants?

ADAI works to stimulate and facilitate UW research on alcohol and drug use and addiction through its Small Grants Program, which awards funds to UW researchers for pilot studies and developmental research. The scope ranges from pharmacology of drugs to studies of clinical treatment strategies, prevention, and social policy issues.

We fund two cycles annually, in the fall (deadline October 15) and spring (deadline March 15).

Our spring 2024 recipients recently received notification of their awards, and we’re excited to share information about the fascinating projects they’ll be working on! Check them out below, and congratulations Drs. Coffey, Jack, and Kover!

Once-Weekly GLP-1R Agonist Dulaglutide for Treatment of Fentanyl Use Disorder and Modulation of Lateral Habenula Activity in Male and Female Rats

Kevin Coffey, PhD

Kevin Coffey, PhD
Research Assistant Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
University of Washington

Though medications for opioid use disorder are available, barriers to obtaining and using them remain a challenge and new medication treatments could help.

One promising new type of medication is glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor (GLP-1R) agonists. Early studies have shown GLP-1R agonists can reduce drug seeking, including for alcohol, nicotine, and opioids. But how well will they work for fentanyl and can they be conveniently administered?

For this study, rats will be trained to self-administer fentanyl and, once this behavior has been established, they’ll be given the long-acting GLP-1R agonist dulaglutide once a week. The hope is that this medication given weekly will prevent the rats from seeking fentanyl for 3 weeks. Dr. Coffey will also look at changes in the parts of the rats’ brains related to aversion and motivation, as well as study their vocalizations to determine if the medication has emotional side effects.

This study has immediate potential to reduce suffering caused by the opioid crisis by providing evidence to support a new type of medication treatment for fentanyl use disorder.

Validation of Brief Substance Use Disorder Screening Tool in HIV Care in Zimbabwe

Helen Jack, MD

Helen E. Jack, MD
Assistant Professor, Division of General Internal Medicine
Harborview Medical Center

An estimated 60 million people use drugs in Africa, and this number is expected to increase by 40% between 2018 and 2030. Before patients can be treated for a substance use disorder (SUD), first their disorder has to be diagnosed, but there are few SUD screening tools that have been validated in sub-Saharan Africa that are practical for administration in routine care and none that have been validated in Zimbabwe, where substance use is rapidly increasing and associated with adverse health outcomes, especially for people living with HIV, who make up 11% of the population.

This study will validate a single-item SUD screening tool among a sample of 1064 randomly selected patients presenting to Zimbabwean HIV care, comparing it to the CIDI clinical interview for substance use as a reference standard.

By validating this simple one-item tool, this study will help the team better develop locally relevant interventions and implementation strategies to address alcohol and substance use within HIV care in Zimbabwe.

Word Learning in Children with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure: Cognitive Mechanisms of Vocabulary Acquisition and Functional Implications

Sara Kover, PhD

Sara T. Kover, PhD
Associate Professor, Speech and Hearing Sciences
University of Washington

A serious failing of research on communication and language development in people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is the exclusion of insights and perspectives from people with FASD themselves. The purpose of this project is to understand the values and experiences of people with FASD and their families with a focus on a critical time period in life: the transition from schooling to adult services.

Among children and adolescents with FASD, communication, executive function, and meeting the demands of everyday life are the most common areas of concern. These challenges continue into adulthood, are closely intertwined, and are foundational to long-term outcomes. Through interviews with people who have FASD and their families, this project will explore their language and communication values and priorities and examine the interface between communication, executive function, and wellbeing.

This study will put people with FASD and their families front and center in the research intended to help them and, by doing so, will inform truly meaningful person- and family-centered supports for communication and wellbeing in this population.

Apply for an ADAI Small Grant! Our next deadline is October 15, 2024!