Project Summary

PCORI has identified treatment for opioid use disorder as an important research topic. Patients, clinicians, and others want to learn: Can counseling, support groups, and similar programs help patients who are getting medicine-based treatment for opioid use disorder? To help answer this question, PCORI launched an initiative in 2018 on Psychosocial Interventions with Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) for Opioid Use Disorder. The initiative funded this research project and others.

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?

Opioid use disorder, or OUD, happens when people misuse, become addicted to, or take too many opioids at once. Doctors may use medicine to treat OUD. But many people stop taking their medicine, which increases their risk of using opioids again or taking too many opioids at once. Involving friends and family may help people stay on treatment for OUD.

In this study, the research team is testing a counseling program for people who support patients with OUD, including family members, spouses, and friends. The program is called Integrating Support Persons Into Recovery, or INSPIRE. INSPIRE draws from the Community Reinforcement and Family Training, or CRAFT, approach and teaches support people effective ways to help a person with OUD change their behavior. It also teaches ways for them to feel better themselves. The team wants to know if INSPIRE helps patients stay on OUD treatment and if it improves health outcomes for patients and their support people.

Who can this research help?

Results may help clinic leaders considering ways to help people with OUD and people who support them.

What is the research team doing?

The research team is recruiting 422 pairs of adults who are starting treatment for OUD and their support people. Patients are receiving treatment from 30 community health clinics in California.

The team is assigning the support people to receive either INSPIRE or the usual services available at clinics. INSPIRE consists of ten 1-hour group telehealth sessions, led by one to two facilitators. The research team is interviewing patients and support people at the start of the study and again 3 and 12 months later. The team wants to see if INSPIRE helps patients keep using medicine to treat OUD and stop using opioids. In addition, the team is looking to see if INSPIRE improves depression and anxiety for patients and support people. Finally, the team wants to know if INSPIRE works better for some people than others, such as when a support person is a family member, spouse, or friend.

Patients, support people, clinic staff, psychologists, psychiatrists, and health insurers are helping to plan and conduct the study.

Research methods at a glance

Design ElementsDescription
DesignRandomized controlled trial
Population422 adults ages 18 and older who are starting buprenorphine and their support person
  • No intervention

Primary: patient buprenorphine retention

Secondary: patient opioid and other substance use, patient and support person depression, patient and support person anxiety


1-year follow-up for primary outcome

Journal Citations

Related Journal Citations

Project Information

Karen Osilla, PhD
Stanford University
Comparative Effectiveness of Significant Other-Enhanced OBOT in Primary Care

Key Dates

April 2019
September 2024

Study Registration Information


Award Type
Health Conditions Health Conditions These are the broad terms we use to categorize our funded research studies; specific diseases or conditions are included within the appropriate larger category. Note: not all of our funded projects focus on a single disease or condition; some touch on multiple diseases or conditions, research methods, or broader health system interventions. Such projects won’t be listed by a primary disease/condition and so won’t appear if you use this filter tool to find them. View Glossary
Populations Populations PCORI is interested in research that seeks to better understand how different clinical and health system options work for different people. These populations are frequently studied in our portfolio or identified as being of interest by our stakeholders. View Glossary
Intervention Strategy Intervention Strategies PCORI funds comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies that compare two or more options or approaches to health care, or that compare different ways of delivering or receiving care. View Glossary
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: January 24, 2024