Care Practice has become increasingly focused on clinical research over the last several years through its partnership with StudyOps where Dr. Blackledge serves as the Medical Affairs Director.
Private research facilities are uncommon in the Bay Area, but we have made a name for ourselves as a boutique facility specializing in addiction drug research. Five of our recent clinical trials have involved some formulation of Buprenorphine making us one of the primary clinics involved in the drug trials getting recent media attention: Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, Reckitt Benckiser, Indivior, Orexo, and Biodelivery Sciences. New addiction medicine research has been one of the hottest areas in medicine recently as politicians and doctors attempt to fix a worsening prescription drug epidemic devastating small and large communities everywhere. In this epidemic, addiction is the great equalizer. Our outpatient drug program began out of necessity as we increasingly felt the impact of addiction on our patient population.
Science is a very slow and rigorous process that does not lend itself easily to sweeping conclusions.
Dr. Blackledge believes, “A majority of doctors offices and urgent care clinics are overwhelmed and impacted on a daily basis by the enormity of our nation’s prescription drug addiction nightmare even if many refuse to admit it.”
A doctor starting medical school in 1996, just as Oxycontin became commercially available, would have difficulty missing the surge of opiate addiction and overdose deaths we have witnessed the last few decades.
With diversion rates for Oxycontin estimated to be above 80% for a medication most have prescribed it is a problem that all doctors are connected with on some level. Dr. Blackledge was fascinated how doctors would create rigid rules and boundaries only to have a sweet old lady walk in with a good story and immediately violate the rule they had only just created. As the clinic grew into a 5 doctor practice focused on addiction it also evolved into a sort of workshop for Dr. Blackledge to study different approaches to treatment that he and his physicians developed. What likely started out as a search for the best and most definitive way of treating addiction, resulted in teaching Dr. Blackledge that to practice addiction medicine well one has to accept that there are no right or wrong ways to do it. And most importantly you have to accept that you won’t always get it right and in fact the obsession with telling yourself you are doing it the right way leads us to be blind to the hidden aspect to diversion and the deception that goes hand in hand with addiction.
We are shifting some resources to produce more content as we hope to share some of what we have learned over the last few years working in the middle of this opiate addiction epidemic. Some research and topics include; work on tapering with Buprenorphine, Low dose naltrexone uses to reduce withdrawal symptoms, limiting oxycontin through clinic bans, the surprising causes of overdose deaths in hotel rooms, and Buprenorphine abuse in prisons.
As one of the largest private outpatient drug and alcohol programs in California doing clinical research it was a natural progression to begin to share our findings, shine a light on the life of addicts and approach addiction treatment differently than how it’s been done in the past.