An Australian clinical research priority setting study for substance use disorder due to methamphetamine and emerging drugs of concern
The National Centre for Clinical Research on Emerging Drugs (NCCRED) was established as a part of the Australian Commonwealth Department of Health National Ice Action Strategy. A primary aim of NCCRED is to develop, implement, support, and disseminate innovative and effective evidence-based treatment interventions that can be applied to the use of methamphetamines and new and emerging substances. Crucial to achieving this aim, and a defined activity for the Centre, is the establishment and support of clinical trials.
To determine the priority areas for clinical research for the treatment of substance use disorder due to methamphetamine and emerging drugs of concern, NCCRED has developed a research priority setting study. The study undertakes the guidance provided in the Nine Common Themes of Good Practice, a published checklist for guiding research priority setting procedures. These are: context; comprehensiveness of approach; inclusiveness; information gathering; planning for implementation; criteria; methods for deciding on priorities; evaluation; transparency.
The study will engage with stakeholders at all levels of clinical, service, and research delivery and utilisation, including: consumers; concerned others; clinicians; researchers; experts; institutions / organisations; law enforcement; border control; and other interested community members.
The study consists of four phases: 1) an online survey of key stakeholders (listed above); 2) a qualitative thematic analysis (assessment of survey responses); 3) a brief literature review assessing the themes identified by respondents against published peer-reviewed data, and; 4) presentation of all results and literature reviews to an independent expert panel. The expert panel will convene to review the results and undertake a priority setting recommendation exercise including ranking themes in order of popularity and against a pre-established set of criteria (including current knowledge, answerability, and feasibility for implementation).
An online survey of key stakeholders is currently underway. The independent expert panel has been identified. The results of the study will be used to inform NCCRED on the research priorities that NCCRED-sponsored clinical trials and funding programs should aim to address. Secondary outcomes will compare and contrast the priorities identified by various stakeholder groups. Results will be published to ensure transparency of the methods. When published, as the only peer-reviewed Alcohol and Other Drug Sector health research priority setting exercise published in Australia, the results may inform other funding bodies, policymakers, and clinical researchers.