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‘Next Step’ program offered to combat alcohol use disorder

By Cathy Wilde

Release Date: July 14, 2017

Kimberly Walitzer

“The Next Step is a new program to treat alcohol use disorder combining the medication Naltrexone with addiction counseling.”
Kimberly Walitzer, RIA deputy director
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions is seeking participants for a new alcohol treatment and research program, The Next Step.

“The Next Step is a new program to treat alcohol use disorder combining the medication Naltrexone with addiction counseling,” says Kimberly Walitzer, PhD, deputy director of RIA. “We are asking interested individuals to call 716-887-2478 to see if they are eligible to participate.”

During participation in The Next Step, eligible individuals will be treated with a 90-day course of daily oral tablet Naltrexone to support long-term sobriety. Naltrexone was approved by the FDA to treat alcohol use disorder in 1994. An opioid antagonist, Naltrexone helps to reduce craving for and pleasurable effects from alcohol.

Individuals in the program participate in monthly meetings with The Next Step medical staff (medical doctor, pharmacist and nurse practitioner) while on Naltrexone. Meetings take place at the UB Addiction Treatment Services clinic at 1021 Main St., Buffalo.

In addition, participants receive Next Step Counseling, an empirically validated counseling program to support abstinence. The 10 60-minute weekly sessions are delivered by addictions counselors in the fields of psychology and social work.  These sessions focus on behavioral abstinence skills and an introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous and other mutual-help supports.

To be eligible for The Next Step, individuals must want to stop drinking, be 21 to 72 years old and live within commuting distance of the UB Downtown Campus. They also must be medically eligible to take Naltrexone medication (no liver disease, no medications that negatively interact with Naltrexone), be willing to take tablet Naltrexone daily for 90 days and participate in Next Step Counseling sessions.

The Next Step cannot accept individuals who have been mandated to treatment because of a DWI or Drug Court; if female, be pregnant, planning a pregnancy or nursing; or anyone taking any opioid-based medication or drug (Codeine, Morphine, Lortab, Demerol, Dilaudid, Fentanyl, Methadone, Suboxone, Naloxone, Oxycodone, Oxymorphone, Hydromorphone, Hydrocodone, heroin).

People interested in participating should call The Next Step at 716-887-2478 to see if they are eligible.  Callers will not be asked to give their full names until they schedule appointments.  If people are not eligible, The Next Step staff will refer them to other treatment resources.

Visit www.buffalo.edu/NextStep or email NextStep@ria.buffalo.edu for more information.

The Next Step is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health.

RIA is a research center of the University at Buffalo and a national leader in the study of alcohol and substance abuse issues. RIA’s research programs, most of which have multiple-year funding, are supported by federal, state and private foundation grants. Located on UB’s Downtown Campus, RIA is a member of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and a key contributor to UB’s reputation for research excellence. To learn more, visit buffalo.edu/ria

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