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University of Maryland institute on addiction medicine will focus on radical innovation to solve systemic issues

 The University of Maryland Medical Center. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Wikimedia Commons
The University of Maryland Medical Center.

The University of Maryland School of Medicine is using $30 million to establish a new institution aimed at addiction in the state.

The Kahlert Institute for Addiction Medicine will bring together neuroscientists, clinical researchers and substance abuse disorder specialists to tackle the systemic issues surrounding addiction like socioeconomic disparities and mental illness, according to a release from the school.

“Last year, 20 million Americans were diagnosed with substance use disorder, and only 10 percent received treatment. Overall, more than 100,000 people nationally died from a drug overdose," said University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean Dr. Mark Gladwin. "The Kahlert Institute seeks to build a bridge from the lab bench, where rapid advances in fundamental neuroscience will spur innovative therapies, to the clinic, where lifesaving medications like buprenorphine and methadone, require an optimized system to ensure access to any patient in need.”

The institute will focus on radical innovation in bringing together people working in the field and scientist researchers to come up with the best solutions for addiction.

The center will also work on new treatment strategies to prevent relapse and reduce mortality in minority areas.

“We want to reduce death and long-term complications of addiction especially in disproportionately affected communities,” said Kahlert Institute Deputy Director Dr. Sarah Kattakuzhy. “Black patients, for example, are far less likely to receive certain medications to treat opioid use disorder than white patients, and we need to find ways to eliminate this disparity.”

The institute has already begun its work, but the physical space will not open until 2026. It will be located in the school’s Health Sciences Research Facility III building.

Scott is the Health Reporter for WYPR. @smaucionewypr
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