Research

People who want to reduce their substance use can help advance research by volunteering for a clinical trial and other studies, respond to surveys, share their ideas about what they think would be most helpful.

Assess each opportunity and make an informed decision before agreeing to participate.

Clinical trials help to determine if treatments and other interventions are safe and effective.

We are actively looking for people to participate in the research studies listed below. The contact information for each study is listed next to the description of the study. For general information about the research program, please call 415-221-4810 x 24495.

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Current Studies

Are you seeking treatment for opioid use disorder?

This study will compare two forms of Buprenorphine, a medication that treats opioid use disorder (OUD), to see whether the monthly injection form or the daily oral pill form works better for treating OUD.

Am I eligible for this study?
We are looking for veterans over the age of 18, who have used opioids within the last 30 days (including heroin/synthetic opioids and prescription opioids), and are seeking treatment for opioid use disorder.

What will I do if I participate in this study?

This study takes place over 1 year (52 weeks). 

  • Attend a baseline/screening visit to determine if you are eligible and if it is safe for you to participate
  • Start oral Buprenorphine treatment daily for 30 days
  • Be randomly assigned into 1 of 2 groups: monthly Buprenorphine injection group or daily Buprenorphine oral pill group
  • Attend weekly study visits for first 4 weeks after being assigned group, where you will complete procedures, including questionnaires/surveys and a urine drug screen
  • After the first 4 weeks, attend monthly visits for the remainder of the 52 weeks, where you will receive your monthly injection or 28-day prescription, complete procedures, including surveys, and blood and urine screens
  • Attend 1 follow-up visit 4 weeks after completing treatment

Do you offer a monetary incentive?
Participants will be compensated for travel to study visits: $25 for travel less than 50 miles, or $50 for travel more than 50 miles

Who do I contact to get started?
To see if you are a potential match for this study, contact the Study Coordinator, Brooke Lasher, to schedule a phone screen.

Study Coordinator: Brooke Lasher
Phone Number: 415-221-4810 x 24495



Did you know that cocaine and methamphetamine are often mixed with a very strong opioid called fentanyl? Come to our education class to learn more and obtain a free fentanyl test kit.

Our class provides education on fentanyl and related opioids, risk factors for opioid overdose, and strategies to reduce risk for opioid overdose. In addition, we provide test strips to Veterans so they can test substances for fentanyl and related opioids.

Am I eligible for this study?
We are looking for Veterans of any age who are receiving treatment in any of the VA Addiction Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS). These include: Transition Program, Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), Drug and Alcohol Treatment Clinic (DATC), Opioid Treatment Program (OTP), Prescription Opioid Safety Team (POST)/ Addiction Consult (AddCon), and Substance Use Posttraumatic Stress Team (SUPT). Veterans who are in recovery and not currently using substances are encouraged to join.

What will I do if I participate in this study?

  • Attend a baseline screening visit to determine if you are eligible. 
  • Attend a single, one-hour class. This can be individually or in a group setting, and either in person or virtually by video. 
  • Complete two surveys during the class. 
  • Receive a free fentanyl test kit (optional). 
  • Complete a follow-up survey 3 weeks after the class. This will be individually, and either in person or virtually by video. 

Do you offer a monetary incentive?
Veterans can earn up to $35 in VA Patriot Bucks, redeemable in the Patriot Store, café, or coffee shop.

Who do I contact to get started?
To see if you are eligible for this class, contact the Class Instructor, Tessa Rife, to schedule a phone screen.

Study Coordinator: Tessa Rife, PharmD, BCGP
Phone Number: 415-221-4810 ext. 23674, or 415-319-1193



Did you know that exercise can help your brain recover from head injuries? Try virtual-reality gaming while you work out!

This study will test a combined exercise and virtual-reality working memory retraining program for Veterans with alcohol use disorder and histories of mild traumatic brain injury.

Am I eligible for this study?
We are looking for Veterans, between the ages of 18 and 65, who (1) drink alcohol in large amounts AND (2) have experienced a head injury.

What will I do if I participate in this study?

  • Complete psychiatric and neurocognitive assessments to determine if you are eligible and if it is safe for you to participate. The psychiatric and neurocognitive batteries will be repeated twice during the active 8-week phase.
  • Complete 24 sessions of physical exercise on a stationary bicycle and/or virtual-reality training over 8 weeks at the San Francisco VA Health Care System.
  • Attend a follow-up visit 1 month following your last training session.

Do you offer a monetary incentive?
Yes! If you attend all visits, you will be compensated up to $630.

Who do I contact to get started?
To see if you are a potential match with this study, contact the Study Coordinator, Nicole Bautista, to schedule a phone screen.

Study Coordinator: Nicole Bautista
Phone Number: 415-221-4810 x 22329



Male non-Veterans who want to see how a computer training program affects your drinking?

The purpose of this study is to test how computer training affects brain functioning and alcohol use.

Am I eligible for this study?
We are looking for male (non-Veterans) who drink heavily and are not currently engaged/do not want to engage in treatment that would help reduce their alcohol consumption.

What will I do if I participate in this study?

  • Attend a baseline/screening visit to determine if you are eligible and if it is safe for you to participate.
  • Attend 2 study visits, each 12 hours long, at the San Francisco VA Medical Center where you will be asked to consume drinks and complete various questionnaires/neurocognitive tasks.
  • Complete 9 sessions of computer training over the course of 3 weeks at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.
  • Attend a follow-up visit 1 month after the final drinking session.

Do you offer a monetary incentive?
Up to $778.

Who do I contact to get started?
To see if you are a potential match with this study, contact the Study Coordinator, Brooke Lasher, to schedule a phone screen.

Study Coordinator: Brooke Lasher
Phone Number: 415-221-4810 x 24495



Have depression and want to use genetic test results for individualized antidepressant treatment?

This study offers Veterans the opportunity to usegenetic test results to help make a decision about the type of antidepressant to use for the treatment of their depression.

Am I eligible for this study?
We are looking for Veterans,between the ages of 18 and 80 years old,who have depression and would like to start an antidepressant.

What will I do if I participate in this study?

  • Attend a baseline/screening visit to determine if you are eligible and if it is safe for you to participate.
  • All participants will provide a swab of the inside of their cheek for the genetic test. 
    • Participants will be randomly assigned to the:
  1. immediate test results group (receive your genetic test back within 2-3 days of cheek swab) OR the
  2. delayed test results group (receive your genetic test results 24 weeks after cheek swab)
  • Attend a follow-up visit 1 month after your baseline/screening visit.
  • Attend 4 more visits by phone over the course of 24 weeks.
  • If you were randomly assigned to the delayed results group, then you will have an additonal visit 36 weeks after your baseline/screening visit. 

Do you offer a monetary incentive?
Veterans in the immediate test results group ---up to $155 Veterans in the delayed test results group ---up to $180

Who do I contact to get started?
To see if you are a potential match with this study, contact the Study Coordinator, Brooke Lasher, to schedule a phone screen.

Study Coordinator: Brooke Lasher
Phone Number: 415-221-4810 x 24495



Want to quit smoking and could use some assistance?

This project offers Veterans who want to stop smoking (1) coaching sessions by phone, (2) access to a smoking cessation smartphone application, Stay Quit Coach (SQC), and (3) a smokerlyzer OR (4) in-office coaching.

Am I eligible for this study?
We are looking Veterans, between the ages of 18 and 69, who want to stop smoking and have access to a smartphone.

What will I do if I participate in this study?

Attend a screening visit to determine if you are eligible and if it is safe for you to participate.
Receivenicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and/or bupropion to help quit smoking (optional).
If you are randomly assigned to group 1, then you will attend 8 weekly coaching sessions at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.
If you are randomly assigned to group 2, then you will receive 8 weekly coaching sessions by phone, access to a smoking cessation smartphone app (Stay Quit Coach [SQC]), and a smokerlyzer to measure carbon monoxidelevels.
Attenda follow-up visit 8 weeks after your first visit.

Do you offer a monetary incentive?
Up to $150.

Who do I contact to get started?
To see if you are a potential match with this study, contact the Study Coordinator, Shahrzad Daryani, to schedule a phone screen.

Study Coordinator: Shahrzad Daryani
Phone Number: 415-221-4810 x 23097



Want to try a computer training program that may enhance your brain functioning?

This project offers Veterans a computer training program (Alcohol Approach Bias Modification [AABM]) so we can study how it affects brain functioningand alcohol use.

Am I eligible for this study?
We are looking for Veterans, between the ages of 18 and 65, who (1) drink alcohol in large amounts OR (2) drink alcohol in small amounts/not at all.

What will I do if I participate in this study?

If you are a Veteran who drinks alcohol in large amounts:

  • Sit through a brain scan (functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI] and complete psychiatric and neurocognitive assessmentsto determine if you are eligible and if it is safe for you to participate.
  • Complete 9 sessions of computer training over the course of 3 weeks at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.
  • Attend a follow-up visit 4 weeks after your last computer training session.

If you are a Veteran who drinks alcohol in small amounts or not at all:

  • Attend screening/baseline visits to determine if you are eligible.
  • Attend a follow-up visit 12 weeks after the screening/baseline visit.

Do you offer a monetary incentive?
Veterans who drinks large amounts of alcohol ---up to $507 Veterans who drink small amounts of alcohol or not at all ---up to $148

Who do I contact to get started?
To see if you are a potential match with this study, contact the Study Coordinator, Nicole Bautista, to schedule a phone screen.

Study Coordinator: Nicole Bautista
Phone Number: 415-221-4810 x 22329



Completed Studies

TheraNova Empower Neuromodulation System

The purpose of this study was to find out what effects the Empower Neuromodulation System, a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation device, has on Veteran participants and their alcohol use.

TAP2

The purpose of this study is to test how the FDA-approved anticonvulsant lacosamide (Vimpat) affects a person’s use of alcohol and other related behaviors, while drinking alcohol in a research lab setting.

VAT

The purpose of this project was to measure the effects of topiramate on Veterans who have had a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and drink alcoholin amounts that may pose a risk to health.

NARSAD AABM

The purpose of this project was to obtain preliminary assessment of the efficacy of a cognitive training program, Alcohol Approach Bias Modification (AABM), as a treatment to decrease alcohol approach bias resulting in reductions in hazardous or harmful alcohol use.

Military Culture

The purpose of this study is to better understand military culture, as it relates to one’s identity and the experience of transitioning into a civilian cultural context. The data will be used to (1) develop a new way of assessing affiliation with military culture and (2) better understand and treat combat-related stress and related difficulties experienced by returning Veterans by considering the role of cultural transition.