Consequences of Drug and Alcohol Use (2012-2014)

Drugged Driving National Data Resource

David Farabee, Ph.D., Principal Investigator (

The goal of this project was for Neurobehavioral Research, Inc., and UCLA to develop a National Network on Drugged Driving (NNODD) website. The website has an epidemiology component consisting of point prevalence and continuous monitoring data. It includes a practitioner resource with descriptions of testing and intervention protocols, and links to testing companies, developers of DUI educational curricula, and promising approaches such as 24/7 and SBIRT. It also linked to the SAMHSA and other search tools designed to identify appropriate treatment resources in communities. It includes a research clearinghouse with an easy-to-use search tool that will link users to current research on assessing and combating drugged driving, employing a similar structure as the NREPP, but with more rigorous standards of evidence.

Drugged Driving National Data Resource was funded by Neurobehavioral Research, Inc., subaward 20130300, from September 2012 to February 2013.

Neurocognitive Mechanisms and Recovery from Addiction

Yih-Ing Hser, Ph.D., Principal Investigator (
Antoine Bechara, Ph.D., Co-Investigator (
Marya Schulte, Ph.D., Project Director (

This study involved follow-up with men who participated in Dr. Hser’s previous 12-year follow-up study of cocaine treatment. It evaluated the relationship between the brain and human behavior of those who had previously engaged in cocaine treatment, as well as a group of matched controls.  Findings from this study will be used to improve treatment interventions for people who use cocaine. The specific aims of this pilot study are as follows: (1) using high-resolution anatomical magnetic resonance imaging techniques, we will investigate brain structures that are important for processing emotional information among subjects at varying stages of addiction and recovery; (2) using BOLD functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques, we will investigate brain responses when these subjects are making decisions that are uncertain and ambiguous in nature and are exposed to photographs of cocaine-related items; and (3) we will explore the relationship between brain structures/functions and human behavior in drug addiction and recovery.

Neurocognitive Mechanisms and Recovery from Addiction was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, grant 1 R03 DA032542, from September 2012 through August 2014.

Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure
and School Age Outcome

Barry Lester, M.D., Brown University, Principal Investigator
Richard A. Rawson, Ph.D., Co-Investigator
Dave Bennett, Project Director

The rapidly escalating abuse of methamphetamine (METH) in the United States places a sense of urgency to understanding the consequences of METH use during pregnancy for the developing child. To our knowledge, the IDEAL (Infant Development Environment and Lifestyle) study is the only prospective longitudinal NIH study of prenatal METH exposure and child outcomes. This is the continuation of a multi-site, longitudinal study that includes four diverse data collection sites where METH use is prevalent (Iowa, Oklahoma, California, and Hawaii) and three data coordinating centers (Brown Center for the Study of Children at Risk, the Data Management Center at UCLA ISAP, and the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) at the University of Maryland.  The responsibilities of the three data coordinating centers included study development and oversight, data management, communication, and documentation. The children were enrolled at birth and assessed at multiple age points until 36 months old during Phase I of this study (IDEAL I). The cohort was then followed during Phase II, which spanned the age range from 5 years through 7.5 years old (IDEAL II).  We followed 204 METH-exposed and 208 comparison children since birth. We studied a relatively narrow band of executive function domain outcomes supported by the published preclinical and clinical literature and our own preliminary findings. We also studied how these executive function domains affected school-related academic skills. In addition, we examined the effects of prenatal METH exposure on emerging executive function domains, including higher order motivation, attention, memory, inhibitory control, visual motor integration, and motor control, and how the effects of prenatal METH exposure are affected by psychosocial risk factors and by postnatal passive drug exposure (e.g., smoke).

Publications from this study include:

LaGasse LL, Wouldes T, Newman E, Smith LM, Shah R, Derauf C, Huestis MA, Arria AM, DellaGrotta S, Wilcox T, & Lester BM. (2011). Prenatal methamphetamine exposure and neonatal neurobehavioral outcome in the USA and New Zealand. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 33; 166-175. PMCID: PMC2974956.

LaGasse LL,  Derauf C, Smith LM, Newman E, Shah R, Neal C, Arria AM, Huestis MA, DellaGrotta S, Hai, L, Dansereau LM, & Lester BM. (2012) Prenatal methamphetamine exposure and childhood behavior problems at ages 3 and 5. Pediatrics. Epub ahead of Print March 19, 2012. PMID:22430455.

Derauf C, MD , LaGasse LL, Smith LM, Newman E, Rizwan Shah, Neal C , Arria AM, Huestis MA, Della Grotta S, Lynne M. Dansereau LM, Lin H, & Lester, BM. (2012). Prenatal methamphetamine exposure and inhibitory control among young school-age children. The Journal of Pediatrics. Epub ahead of print March 15, 2012. PMID: 22424953.

Derauf C, LaGasse LL, Smith LM, Newman E, Shah R, Arria AM, Huestis MA, Haning W, Strauss A, DellaGrotta S, Dansereau L, Lin H, & Lester BM. (2011). Infant temperament and high risk environment relate to behavior problems and language in toddlers. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 31(1).  PMCID: PMC3095893.

Shah R, Copes, SD, LaGasse LL, Derauf C, Newman E, Arria AM, Huestis MA, Haning W, Smith LM, Strauss A, DellaGrotta S, Dansereau L, Roberts M, & Lester BM. (in press). Prenatal methamphetamine exposure and short-term maternal and infant medical outcomes. American Journal of Perinatology.

Zabaneh R, Smith LM, LaGasse LL, Derauf C, Newman E, Shah R, Haning W, Arria AM, Huestis MA, Strauss A, DellaGrotta S, Dansereau L, Lin H, and Lester BM.  The effects of prenatal methamphetamine exposure on childhood growth patterns from birth to three years of age.  American Journal of Perinatology. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID:21818727.

Smith LM, Paz MS, LaGasse LL, Derauf C, Grant P,  Shah R, Arria AM, Huestis MA, Haning, W, Strauss A, DellaGrotta S, Dansereau L & Lester BM. (in press). Prenatal exposure to methamphetamine and maternal depression: Neurodevelopmental findings from the infant development, environment, and lifestyle (IDEAL) study. Depression and Anxiety Journal

Liles B, Newman E, LaGasse LL, Derauf C, Shah R, Smith LM, Arria AM, Huestis MA, Haning W, Strauss A, Della Grotta S, Dansereau LM, Neal C, & Lester BM. (in press). Parenting stress among prenatal methamphetamine users: The moderating role of maternal depressive symptoms. Child Psychiatry and Human Development.

Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure and School Age Outcome was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to Women & Infants Hospital with collaboration by UCLA ISAP, from September 2007 through May 2012.

Quality of Life Outcomes in Prescription
and Injection Opioid Dependence

Bruce R. Schackman, Ph.D., Principal Investigator (
Yih-Ing Hser, Ph.D., Co-Investigator (

Dependence on and addiction to opioid drugs such as heroin, oxycontin, and hydrocodone (Vicodin) places an enormous burden on the quality of life of patients and their families, and is a growing problem due to increases in opioid prescription drug misuse. in this study, we will measure the quality of life impact of opioid dependence from the point of view of members of the community through an Internet survey and using data collected from opioid users in previous studies. Our results will help researchers and health care decision makers evaluate the cost-effectiveness of new treatments for opioid dependence in the same way that they consider evidence about the cost-effectiveness of other medical treatments. 

Quality of Life Outcomes in Prescription and Injection Opioid Dependence was funded by NIDA grant 5 R01 DA033424, from May 2012 through April 2015.

SAPC Medical Marijuana Survey

Desirée Crèvecoeur-MacPhail, Ph.D., Principal Investigator (
Christine E. Grella, Ph.D., Co-Investigator
Luz Rodriguez, B.A., Project Director

The aim of this pilot study was to collect descriptive data on individuals who use medical marijuana (MM) dispensaries within Los Angeles County on their background characteristics, reasons for and patterns of MM use, other substance use, and perceptions of the benefits and negative effects of MM use. Individuals were sampled from a cluster-based sample of MM dispensaries located throughout the county.  A total of 182 individuals from 13 dispensaries completed the survey. A majority (74%) were male; ages ranged from 17 to 63, 44% were white, 26% Hispanic, 13% African American, 6% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 11% of an other ethnicity. Median age of first marijuana use was 15, and average duration of MM use was about 2.5 years.  Respondents cited multiple reasons for using MM for both physical health and mental health conditions.  Nearly all (91%) believed that use of MM has helped them “very much.” Over half (58%) said they used MM in place of prescription medications, with most preferring MM because it is “natural” and “more effective.” About one fifth (21%) reported misuse of illicit drugs, 46% reported risky alcohol use, and 44% smoked cigarettes, with higher rates of tobacco use among younger individuals. Few respondents had ever received drug treatment or believed they needed it. Study findings can be used to inform policies that address the potential public health risks of medical marijuana use.  

Study findings were published in:

Grella, C.E., Rodriguez, L., & Kim, T. (2014). Patterns of medical marijuana use among individuals sampled from medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles.  Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 46(4), 263-272.

SAPC Medical Marijuana Survey was funded by Los Angeles County, contract PH-001733, from April 2013 to June 2013.

The Oral and Dental Consequences
of Methamphetamine Use

Vivek Shetty, DDS, Dr. Med. Dent., Principal Investigator
Debra A. Murphy, Ph.D., Co-Investigator
Rachel Fintzy, M.A., Project Director

The primary objectives of this study were to validate that the rates and patterns of dental caries and oral disease are substantially different in methamphetamine (MA) users than in non-MA users.  In addition, the study was designed to characterize the relationship between dental consequences and patterns of MA-use, and investigate the extent to which negative self-image among MA-users is associated with a willingness to seek treatment.  Thus far, four manuscripts have been developed from this study.  The first investigated soda consumption among MA users:  MA users’ consumption of sugared sodas is higher than the adult general population, and this was the first study to show a statistically significant association between MA use and sugared soda consumption (Murphy et al., in press).  In addition, increased soda consumption was associated with more dental problems among MA users.  The second manuscript presented propensity score analyses to compare the MA group to a matched control group from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was (Murphy et al., in press).  Findings conclusively establish that MA users have severe oral health deficits compared to the general population:  they are 3.5 times more likely to experience painful toothaches, 6.6 times to experience difficulty eating, and 8.6 times to be self-conscious due to dental appearance.  HIV-positive users were more likely to have regular dental visits than HIV-negative users.  Severity of use (both high frequency use as well as injection as the method) was associated with poorer oral health care.  Despite the magnitude of the need, few MA users receive needed care.  The third manuscript described the quality assurance program and confirmed the procedural adherence and the quality and the reliability of the data collected on the distribution of dental caries and periodontal disease in MA-users, although examiner concordance was lower for specific periodontal assessments (Dye et al., in submission).  The fourth investigated the quality assurance program of the study and confirmed the procedural adherence and the quality and the reliability of the data collected on the distribution of dental caries and periodontal disease in MA-users (Shetty et al., in submission). 

The Oral and Dental Consequences of Methamphetamine Use was funded by the National Institutes of Health, grant 1 R01 DA025680 to the UCLA Department of Dentistry, from April 2010 to January 2014.

“What is Recovery?” Recontact Project

Christine E. Grella, Ph.D., Principal Investigator (

This study conducted a follow-up survey of participants  (N=1,236) who had originally completed an online survey for the What is Recovery? project, which was conducted by the Alcohol Research Group (ARG).  This study identified four recovery domains based on 39 survey items:  abstinence in recovery, essentials of recovery, enriched recovery, and spirituality of recovery (see Kaskutas et al., 2014). Individuals in the parent study who had provided consent to participate in a follow-up were contacted by email or telephone, after approximately 1 – 2 years, and asked to complete a second survey, either online or by telephone.  The follow-up was conducted from November 2013 to May 2014 by UCLA ISAP. Survey items included socio-demographics; self-defined recovery status and duration of “recovery”; 12-step, other self-help, and treatment participation; and current health status, substance use, and quality of life.  Participants also rated their degree of agreement with the original set of items pertaining to the meaning of recovery that had been included in the original What is Recovery? survey.  UCLA ISAP is collaborating with researchers at the ARG in conducting analyses to examine stability in the four factors that had been identified in the parent study as components of recovery and correlates of changes in status over time.  The project’s website is

What is Recovery? Recontact Project was funded by the Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, contract 1019509, through a supplement to R01-AA017954 (PI: L. Kaskutas), from October 2013 to May 2014.
Last Updated:  11/25/2015

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