|Walter Ling, MD|
Dr. Walter Ling is a board-certified neurologist and psychiatrist, Professor in Residence of Psychiatry at UCLA, and Director of the Integrated Substance Abuse Programs (ISAP) at UCLA, one of the foremost substance abuse research groups in the world. Dr. Ling is the Principal Investigator of the Pacific Region Node of the National Institute on Drug Abuse?s (NIDA) Clinical Trials Network (CTN), designed to bring cutting-edge findings from treatment research to practice in community-based treatment programs throughout the United States. Other collaborative work is conducted with the US Department of State, the UN Office of International Narcotics Affairs and the World Health Organization. Research. Dr. Ling is also Co-PI on the ISAP-hosted and administered Drug Abuse Research Training Center, a pre- and post-doctoral training program funded by NIH/NIDA through an Institutional Training Grant (T32). Research interests include investigations addressing the effectiveness of medications in the treatment of addiction, as well as the development of promising combinations of pharmacotherapeutic and psychosocial treatment strategies for reducing or eliminating use of opioids, cocaine, and methamphetamine. To assist in these projects, Dr. Ling recently opened the ISAP Outpatient Clinical Research Center (OCRC) to conduct clinical research on-site. OCRC projects include: ? A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of a proprietary protocol for methamphetamine dependence. In this project, 120 individuals presenting for treatment at three Los Angeles area sites, are randomly assigned to placebo or active medication conditions. Participants are given a total of five daily medication infusions delivered for three days at the start of the study and again for two days at week three of the study, as well as 38 days of oral medication, and weekly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for the duration of the 107 day study. The placebo group receives placebo medication delivered identically to the active group, and CBT. The main outcome is methamphetamine use over the duration of the study. ? A comparison study of four psychosocial treatment conditions randomly assigned to opioid-dependent participants receiving buprenorphine pharmacotherapy. A total of 240 participants are being inducted onto buprenorphine for two weeks before being randomized into CBT, Contingency Management (CM), CBT+CM, and Medical Management (MM) for a 16-week period, followed by a buprenorphine-only period of 16 weeks. Follow-up assessments occur at 40 and 52 weeks; the main outcome is opioid use. ? A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled medication trial of long-acting buprenorphine subcutaneous implants. Participants are provided with weekly psychosocial treatment and undergo weekly assessments over the 7-month trial. ? A randomized, double-blind trial comparing two formulations of depot buprenorphine for the treatment of moderate pain. Participants are randomly assigned to medication, but all receive both formulations of buprenorphine and ultra-low-dose naloxone and buprenorphine alone. Dosing for each medication occurs for 5 days over a 1-2 week period, separated by a one-week interval. The ability of each medication to reduce pain, and the occurrence of side effects, will be compared across conditions. ? A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of bupropion for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence, conducted under the auspices of NIDA?s Medication Development for Stimulant (MDS) Dependence. Participants are randomly assigned to receive placebo or active study drug along with thrice-weekly CBT for 12 weeks. In addition to the research listed above, several CTN projects are conducted at community-based treatment programs across the country. On two of the three CTN projects, Dr. Ling serves as lead or co-lead investigator. These projects include: ? A study examining liver functioning in participants provided with methadone or buprenorphine pharmacotherapy. ? A study providing buprenorphine and two levels of psychosocial treatment for participants who are dependent on prescription opioids. ? A project investigating the effectiveness of 12-Step facilitation for reducing substance use.