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Innovations in Recovery through Infrastructure Support (IRIS) is a National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse funded initiative led by Principal Investigators, Drs. Jay Unick and Michelle Tuten from the University of Maryland School of Social Work (UMSSW).

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IRIS is a four-year (2020-2024) NIH-funded project that builds recovery research infrastructure through strong academic-community partnerships so that innovative, emerging, and evidence-based practices can be developed and disseminated widely throughout the opioid drug treatment system.

IRIS is one of five substance use projects funded at the same time by NIDA, a group which connected to form The Consortium on Addiction Recovery Science.

The IRIS Leadership Committee and the broader IRIS network are made up of partners engaged in research, policy advocacy, training and technical assistance, clinical work, and other forms of service provision. 

IRIS Values

1. Trust and Collaboration

Our work is based on bidirectional, mutually beneficial learning and knowledge creation. Everyone is valued - our unity as partners collectively addressing the opioid epidemic is our greatest strength.

2. Person-Centered and Community Focused

Recognizing the impact of stigma, we affirm the value of individuals affected by substance use. Our support of programs enhances the strong work being done by community partners.

3. Diversity and Inclusion

We continually develop a representative IRIS team dedicated to supporting organizations’ research on a wide breadth of evidence-based, emerging, and innovative approaches to opioid recovery and treatment.

4. Justice and Equity

We raise awareness on how social determinants of health contribute to the opioid crisis. We strive to ensure the vital work of small grassroots organizations is uplifted, and that people with lived experience guide our project

IRIS Priorities

1. Research Capacity Building

We support opioid recovery and treatment organizations to engage in community driven scientific inquiry through sustainable transfer of research skills and sharing of university resources.

2. Medications for Opioid Use

We support the expanded use and access of medication-based treatment (e.g., buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone) as an effective practice for opioid recovery.

3. Peer Recovery Support

We support person-centered and recovery-oriented approaches that uplift the role of peer-run organizations and peer delivered services.

4. Community-Academic Partnerships

We commit ourselves to developing strong and collaborative community-academic partnerships where research informs practice and practice informs research.

Core Activities

Trainings and Convenings

Facilitating workshops and a Fellowship that build research skills for recovery organizations

Funded Research Projects

Focused on measuring opioid use recovery supports using new or existing program data

Data Sharing

Using Medicaid data to develop benchmarks and control groups for recovery organizations to evaluate the effectiveness of their interventions

Conferences, Publications, and Communications

Sharing results from IRIS research projects and related resources through conference presentations, journal articles, our website, newsletter, videos, and social media  
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