This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
Substance use disorder occurs when a person’s use of alcohol or drugs could lead to health problems, risky behavior, or problems at work, school, or home. Finding good treatment for substance use disorder can be hard because treatment programs are often costly, have a long waiting list, or may not be available in the area where a person lives.
Researchers are developing a series of graphic novels as a low-cost way to help people with substance use disorder. A graphic novel is a book that uses a comic strip format. Each book has information on how to treat the disorder with medicine and prevent risky behavior. The graphic novels help patients get involved in their own treatment.
The research team wants to see whether people who get counseling with the graphic novels use drugs and alcohol less often, share in decision making with their counselor, and get treatment with medicine. They also want to know how satisfied patients are with their treatment.
Who can this research help?
Findings from this study may help health clinic directors and health insurers decide whether to offer the graphic novels in substance use disorder treatment centers.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is developing graphic novels to help people with substance use disorder. The research team is assigning 30 counselors from community treatment centers by chance to one of two groups:
- A health education graphic novel group, in which counselors get trained to use the graphic novels with their patients
- A usual treatment group, in which counselors get trained to cover the same topics without the graphic novels
Counselors conduct individual sessions with or without the graphic novels, based on their assigned group. Researchers are recruiting five to seven patients per counselor for a total of 50 patients. They are following up with patients to see whether using the graphic novels help them use drugs and alcohol less, take part in more treatment sessions, start taking medicine to treat their disorder, and share in decision making. The research team collects information from surveys and urine samples at the start of the program, and again six and 12 weeks later.
The research team is working with patients and counselors to develop the graphic novels. A team of patients and counselors is meeting regularly to help the research team design and conduct the study.
Research methods at a glance
^The original organization for this project was Treatment Research Institute, Inc.