SIF135 Addictions

Project Manager: Robert Klesges

Aims to reduce dependence on tobacco, alcohol, and opiates through assessments of campus binge drinking, proliferation of e-cig substitutes, and development of innovative technology.

BoV Approved: December 2017

Project Dates: 2/16/2018 – 2/15/2022

Funding Awarded: $3,586,726

Executive Summary

Tobacco, binge and episodic drinking (particularly among young people), and opiate dependence combined is the number one cause of premature mortality and morbidity in the state of Virginia. This SIF award proposes to create the infrastructure, technology, and interventions to ultimately reduce the burden of addiction by creating the infrastructure so the technology and interventions are developed, beta tested, and pilot tested in the areas of (a) binge drinking in UVA students; (b) tobacco harm using e-cigarettes followed by cessation; and (c) opiate abuse prevention in a hospital setting as well as those that are addicted to opiates (with a focus on the western part of Virginia).  Our multidisciplinary team is in the top tier of addiction researchers in the country and the SIF projects not only have the potential to lead to additional NIH, DoD, CDC, and TIC funding, but to establish UVA as a world leader in cutting edge, disseminable interventions for the treatment of addictions.  These studies have the potential for great impact in our local community including UVA students and patients, as well as outreach to other communities throughout the state.  Overall and most importantly, we will have the tools to ultimately reduce mortality and morbidity caused by addictions in the state of Virginia.

Current Status: Active


This award was formally reviewed in September 2019, and the PAC requested more information regarding the project team’s revised goals. The follow up review occurred in January 2020, and the PAC made recommendations to enhance project progress. The award was reviewed again at the March 2021 PAC meeting, and the PAC approved continued funding, noting that the project team is making good strides in reaching many of their original goals. The overarching goal of the project remains unchanged, that is, to reduce the burden of addictions in Virginia. There are still three basic areas of emphasis, with research being conducted on tobacco, opioid, and alcohol addictions. The lead project addressing college binge drinking has made substantial progress and an app is in development intended to reduce binge drinking among UVA students. Several research studies regarding tobacco cessation and opioid abuse have launched. Importantly, the team has deployed an unprecedented statewide Opioid Help Line.