Epidemiological studies are priority projects that help us understand the patterns, progression and consequences of addiction. It serves as a surveillance tool for substance abuse in the community by predicting/reporting potentially new trends. NAMS will continue doing epidemiology research when deemed necessary. Epidemiological studies in healthcare can also bring evidence that directly supports policy making.
Policy research will help to revise, revisit or develop policy options for resolving specific problems. This category involves projects that enable NAMS to work hand-in-hand with government as well as other institutions in Singapore and abroad. Research will give evidence-based knowledge and constructive ideas on key issue the policy makers wish to address. Based on the information, they can formulate a pragmatic action plan and make recommendations that can shape future government, public or health policies. NAMS has done similar projects that helped Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to understand the online gambling situation in Singapore, and the patterns, harm to, and the responses of gamblers to the punitive measures reinforced by the government. NAMS will continue to focus on policy research with emphasis on qualitative research, surveys and cost-benefit analysis related to treatment and field studies that help to shape future policies.
Implementable research studies can improve the quality of our lives by delivering the best available intervention effectively at a lower cost. They bring science directly from bench to bedside and to our day-to-day life.
This category will involve interventional research that strengthens our therapeutic armour. NAMS will strengthen its focus on interventional research that is implementable and of significant value to our clients in terms of effectiveness and reduced costs.
As a first leap in the direction, we have recently completed a double blind randomised controlled trial to compare the effectiveness of diazepam and lofexidine in managing patients undergoing detox. As a result of the trial, we will add lofexidine to our list of medicines. We are about to embark on a phase lll trial that tests the efficacy and safety of naltrexone implants in heroin addicts. Research like this will become very important to patients in the light of the zero-drug tolerance philosophy and the unavailability of opioid substitution therapy in Singapore. NAMS has also developed numerous mobile apps that are used for educational purposes and that complements our current treatment modalities.
This category will include new initiatives, projects that will emerge through collaboration, and those with potential for long-term commitment. It will also include projects that clinicians or researchers think will complement other categories of research such as a project that could lead to novel interventional research.