The Research unit in NAMS was set up with the aim of promoting evidence-based care for patients and other affected individuals by studying addiction and its related problems.
Epidemiological studies help in understanding the patterns, progression and consequences of addiction. It also serves as a surveillance tool for substance abuse in the community by predicting or reporting potentially new trends. Epidemiological studies can provide important evidence to support policy-making. Some epidemiological studies that NAMS has embarked on consist of examining the pattern of benzodiazepine use, studying the demographics and clinical profile of gambling patients, treatment outcome and cognitive predictors of problem drinking.
Separately, policy research helps to revise, revisit or develop policy options for resolving specific problems. These projects enable NAMS to work hand-in-hand with the government and other institutions in Singapore. Such research will give evidence-based knowledge and constructive ideas on key issues which the policy-makers may wish to address. Some important work by NAMS include commissioned studies by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) on the characteristics of online gambling and its associated detrimental effects, as well as with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on the psychosocial impact of cannabis use.
New implementable research boundaries encompass clinical trials and new technologies. Implementable research studies can improve the quality of lives by delivering the best available intervention effectively at a lower cost. They bring science directly from bench to bedside and to a person’s day-to-day life. One such study was a clinical trial conducted in NAMS to examine the safety and efficacy of lofexidine for the treatment of opioid withdrawal syndrome.
This category of projects includes new initiatives, or projects that have either emerged through collaboration, or will complement other categories of research like cost-effectiveness studies and biology of addiction, or secondary research that uses existing data to summarise and increase overall effectiveness of research. NAMS has conducted a systematic review on attention bias in individuals with addictive disorders, and a scoping review on internet addiction and gaming disorders in Southeast Asia.