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Fralin Biomedical Research Institute receives $3.5 million grant to study alcoholism recovery

The goal is to figure out the keys to recovery
Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 4:57 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Researchers in Roanoke are launching a long-term study to figure out what helps people recover from alcoholism.

The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke has received a $3.5 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for a five-year study.

“It’s very exciting,” said Dr. Warren Bickel, a Virginia Tech professor and director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Addiction Recovery Research Center. “There have been very few studies about people in recovery over the longer term that haven’t been tied to a particular treatment center, but we’re not. We’re going to be grabbing people throughout the United States.”

The goal is to provide a scientific understanding of recovery and why people relapse, as well as to identify ways to prevent people from relapsing.

Up until now, research on alcohol use disorder typically looked at relapse and recovery over a short time frame, such as during and immediately following a treatment episode. This study will look at recovery over the long term to find out why some people have a much tougher time staying in recovery without relapsing.

“To identify the pathways of recovery,” said Dr. Bickel. “To identify markers that may indicate success versus lack of success and we’re going to be doing this online through our registry.”

Researchers know addicts tend to have a short-term view and many times people in recovery have some type of expansion of that view, Bickel explained. This research may help the team gain more insight into the recovery process.

“Our pitch line is help us help others,” said Bickel. “If we can understand what it takes to be successful, we can use that to help people who are struggling.”

Scientists at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute have been addressing the addiction crisis since Bickel launched the International Quit and Recovery Registry in 2011.

Now in its 11th year, the registry is kind of like a Facebook site for people in recovery. In addition to being a social forum for people to share experiences, it has collected data to further understand how to beat addiction.

Researchers will enlist several hundred people from the registry to take part in the five-year study.

To join the registry, click here.

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