From Public Policy to Clinical Trials Research: Innovative Approaches for Prevention and Treatment of Alcohol and Substance Use and Disorders Across the Globe


1.Dr. Wendy Kliewer (⚑ United States) 1

2.Dr. Dace Svikis (⚑ United States) 1

3.Ms. Hala Najm (⚑ Lebanon) 2

4.Ms. Kristina Kohler (⚑ Estonia) 3

5.Dr. Huyen Pham (⚑ United States) 4

1. Virginia Commonwealth University, 2. Mentor Arabia, 3. World Health Organization, 4. University of California Los Angeles


Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) constitute a global public health problem, requiring both prevention and treatment efforts. While evidence-based practices and interventions exist, dissemination worldwide can be impacted by a variety of factors, including local and national policies, cultural practices, and resources. International exchange is vital to better understand barriers as well as to identify innovative approaches to reduce SUDs and improve public health.

This workshop will present three different research projects focused on prevention, policy, and treatment, from diverse regions of the world. All presenters completed the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship program at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). The first presentation by Hala Najm from Lebanon focuses on prevention of drug use and misuse across countries served by Mentor Arabia. Ms. Najm will present results of a systematic review detailing these efforts, and will highlight evidence of evidence of success in delaying and/or reducing drug use among adolescents and young adults. The second presentation by Kristina Kohler from Estonia focuses on policy. Ms. Kohler will describe data and lessons from the Baltic Alcohol Control Policy Project, which was an evaluation of alcohol control policies on morbidity and mortality in Lithuania and other Baltic states, as well as impacts on the countries’ economies. The third presentation by Dr. Huyen Pham focuses on treatment and will describe results from a clinical trial designed to screen, treat, and retain people with Opioid Use Disorder who use methamphetamine in methadone clinicals in two of the largest settings in Vietnam. This study tests the effectiveness of combinations of evidence-based interventions for methamphetamine use disorder among patients on methadone for opioid use disorder (OUD). VCU Professors Drs. Dace Svikis and Wendy Kliewer will co-chair the panel, and will discuss findings from these studies in relation to the conference theme.

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