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About Study Participation

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Who can participate?

The kinds of studies we conduct include, but are not limited to, research involving alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, opioid, and nicotine use. Research participants range from people who use any of these substances occasionally to people who use them daily. We also need people who have never used nicotine, alcohol, or drugs like marijuana, heroin, or cocaine. Participants should be generally healthy and have the time and interest to commit to the study.

Does everyone who wants to participate get to be in a study?

Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible for our studies. Our researchers are looking for specific types of participants with specific characteristics related to what we are studying. We screen applicants carefully to make sure that they have those characteristics. Even if you are not eligible for a current study, you might still qualify for a study in the future. You can check this website periodically to see when new studies are recruiting participants and call to see if you might qualify for a new study.

Are there any risks to participants in a NIDA study?

There are potential risks with any research study. The study staff will explain all known risks, requirements, restrictions, and possible side effects before you agree to take part in any study. This is part of the informed consent process that is required of all research studies. Nothing can be asked of you or done to you without your understanding and agreement. It is very important that you ask the study staff any questions or voice any concerns before you make a decision about participating.

Is there a cost to participate?

There is no cost to join a study.

Are participants paid for their time?

Your time is valuable to you and to us. Most of our studies pay participants for their time, and some studies provide money for local travel. The amount of payment depends on the amount of time you spend doing study activities, the types of activities you do, and your ability to complete the study. We typically pay participants in cash, but you may have the option of requesting a check. Some of our studies give participants gift cards instead of cash. If you decide at any point that you no longer want to participate in a study, you will be paid for your time up to that point. You can ask about payment for specific studies when you call us for more information. Payment will also be explained during the informed consent process before you start a study.

Once I agree to participate, can I change my mind?

Absolutely! Participation is completely voluntary, and you can change your mind at any point, even after you have started a study. No one should feel pressured to join or complete a study. Just because you go through the screening process and qualify for a study does not mean you must participate. If you qualify for multiple studies, you can choose which, if any, to join. You should consider the time commitment and study requirements carefully before deciding to join a study. We hope you will tell us honestly before you join a study what you want or do not want to do and what you can and cannot do, rather than start a study you know you will not finish.

Privacy & Permission

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How safe is my information?

Your privacy is very important to us. Any information you give us is kept confidential to the extent possible by law and is protected by federal law. All of our studies have Federal Confidentiality Certificates, which means we can refuse to release your records even if a judge asks for them. We will not release any information that identifies you to anyone else unless you give permission. Be aware that there are a few exceptions, however, as we are required to report child abuse and certain infectious diseases.

What is informed consent?

Before you participate in screening or any studies at NIDA, it is important for you to understand everything we are asking you to do. To help you understand, we have consent forms that describe all of the important parts of participating. This includes expectations of you while you are in the study, study requirements, risks, and possible benefits. This document is your guide to help you decide whether you want to participate or not. You will have the opportunity to read the whole consent document and then review it with a staff member to answer any questions you have. Please ask us as many questions as you have during any of your visits! After your questions have been fully answered and you are interested in joining the study, you will complete a short quiz to make sure you understand the study. After this is completed, you will sign the consent document and receive a copy of the signed version.

Am I required to do all tasks or answer all questions asked of me?

At any point during screening or study visits, you have the right to decline any task, procedure, or question that you do not feel comfortable with. You will never be forced to do something you don’t want to do or without a full understanding of what you are being asked to do. However, if you decline certain tasks or questions, or decline too many of them, you may not be able to continue screening or participating in a study.

What to Expect at Screening

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What are the different steps of screening for a NIDA study?

We occasionally offer an online screener that you can access through our website; select a study to see if an online screener is currently available. This screener consists of just a few questions. Your responses will give you an idea of whether a study at NIDA may be an option for you or not. Completing the online screener is not required, but it does help you start the process and connect with NIDA.

The first required step of the screening process is to complete a phone interview with one of NIDA’s recruiting specialists in our call center. The phone screening takes about 15 to 20 minutes. You will be asked a variety of questions about your medical health, mental health, drug use history, and other topics that may affect whether you can participate or not. Following this call, you will be told if you qualify for the in-person screening appointment. Our call center is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30am to 6:00pm. You can reach the call center at 1 800-535-8254.

The in-person screening appointment is the main step in determining eligibility (whether you qualify to participate or not) for a NIDA study. If you qualify for an in-person screening appointment, you will be scheduled to come to our Baltimore, Maryland location. Screening appointments typically last 4 to 6 hours, though some may be shorter. You will complete questionnaires, mental health evaluations, substance use evaluations, and medical evaluations. Once we collect your screening information, we will know whether you appear eligible for a study at NIDA. In all cases, a medical doctor or designated member of a study team determines final eligibility. Screening hours are Monday through Friday, from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

How long does screening take?

Typically, we complete screening in 1 visit that lasts 4 to 6 hours. If you can’t come for a visit that long, we can usually accommodate your schedule by breaking the screening into 2 or 3 visits. Occasionally, things come up during screening that require an extra visit (or more) to collect or verify all necessary screening information.

Am I paid for screening for a study?

We do not pay you for completing the online screener or the phone interview.

You will be paid between $20 and $70 for your in-person screening visit. The amount you earn depends on the number of questionnaires you complete and how long you are at NIDA for screening. You will be paid the day of the in-person screening visit before leaving NIDA.

What if it is determined I am not eligible for a study?

Being disqualified from a study is very common. Sometimes people are qualified for some studies but disqualified from others. If you are disqualified, you will be paid for your time and completed tasks up to that point in screening.

Please note that we are not always able to share your disqualification reason with you because we need to protect that information about the study. If there is a medical concern, we will always share this with you and provide you copies of your test results (for example, lab results or physical exam results) so that you may give them to your doctor for follow-up.

Is breakfast or lunch provided during screening?

Breakfast is not provided during screening visits. If you are scheduled for a morning appointment and we expect you will be here for the full 4 to 6 hours, we will provide lunch from one of our local café vendors on the Bayview campus. You will have the opportunity to order lunch from a menu when you sign in that day. We also have light snacks and drinks available during the day, and you may bring your own snacks and drinks.

How should I dress for my screening visit?

We recommended that you wear comfortable clothing. People often wear sweats, jeans, or something similar. You might want to bring a sweater or sweatshirt because it is sometimes cooler in our clinical areas.

What are some items I can bring with me?

We suggest bringing something to read in case you have down time during your visits. Cell phone use is not permitted for talking on the phone; you will be asked to step outside if you need to make a call. However, cell phones, tablets, and other devices may be used for online purposes if all sound is kept off. You will be able to connect to our guest Wi-Fi.

We have light snacks and drinks available, but feel free to bring your own snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. Depending on your visit time and length, you may be offered lunch.

What are some items I cannot bring with me?

Because we are located in a federal building, you will pass through security and a metal detector. You will not be allowed into the building if you have firearms, other weapons, drug paraphernalia, controlled substances, or containers holding alcohol with you.

Some tools may be considered weapons under federal building guidelines, and we cannot allow any knife with a blade longer than 2.5 inches (which may include some pocket knives or switchblades).

Can I bring my child, family member or friend with me?

For confidentiality reasons and because of the kind of information being collected, we are unable to permit children or guests in our clinical areas. Only the person who has the appointment is permitted in our clinical areas. Some studies that require repeat visits for medication dosing may allow children to come along for some visits, but this will be explained to you in those circumstances.

About NIDA Studies

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How are studies approved?

Physicians, scientists, and other people carefully evaluate all research for safety, ethics, and need for the study. All studies are reviewed by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to ensure that all research is conducted in the most ethical and safest possible manner. If an investigational drug is involved, the FDA will also review the study.

What have we learned from NIDA research studies?

Advances in medical science come through research. At NIDA, we have been able to learn about how drugs, alcohol, and nicotine affect the body and brain.

Visit these websites to learn more about our research results:

These advances are direct results of research studies involving people like you.

How can I see if I am eligible for one of NIDA’s studies?

Getting started is easy. The first step is to call our Research Call Center at 1–800–535–8254 for a short (about 20 minutes) confidential phone interview. If it looks like you may qualify for one or more of our studies, you may be asked to come to NIDA for an in-person screening appointment.

All research applicants are thoroughly screened to see if they qualify for a study. At the in-person screening appointment, you will undergo a series of assessments and medical tests, including a physical exam and a review of your medical history. Results of these tests will be discussed with you, and you will be informed of any medical conditions we may find that you should follow up on. A physician will review all the information collected during the screening process to determine if you qualify for a study.

Is a NIDA Research Study an Option for Me?

Answer a few questions to see if you qualify for an in-person screening appointment.

Call Now: (800) 535-8254