Institute for Behavioral Health


INROADS, or Intersecting Research on Opioid Misuse, Addiction, and Disability Services, is a joint research program between Brandeis University’s Institute for Behavioral Health and Lurie Institute for Disability Policy that examines the intersection between addiction, disability, and service provision in an effort to address the rise of opioid use disorders (OUD) among people with disabilities. In the United States at large, opioid misuse has led to a national crisis resulting in deaths, illnesses, and other detrimental results that require a thoughtful response that focuses on the causes and systems behind the opioid addiction crisis. 

Our research aims to understand how and why people with disabilities misuse opioids, help them access treatment, recover from OUD, and move toward their individually defined life goals. To this end, we are engaging people with disabilities and a history of addictions and using a holistic analytical approach to understand the complex systems that lead to opioid misuse among people with disabilities. Our work intends to foreground the needs of people with disabilities by including them throughout the duration of our research. 

The INROADS program incorporates a multi-pronged strategy, including a systematic literature review, analyses of national and state data on the intersection between disability and OUD, educational papers and briefs about our research, focus groups, workshops, and an upcoming special issue of the Disability and Health Journal (DHJO).

INROADS in the news:

"Study Finds People Suffering Traumatic Brain Injuries Are More at Risk of Opioid Abuse." Newsweek, September 9, 2021.

Recent publications include: 

Reif S, Mitra M (2022). The complexities of substance use disorder and people with disabilities: Current perspectives. Disability and Health Journal, 15(2).

Akobirshoev I, McKee M, Reif S, Adams RS, Li FS, Mitra M (2022). Opioid use disorder-related emergency department visits among deaf or hard of hearing adults in the United States. Disability and Health Journal, 15(2).

Ledingham E, Adams RS, Heaphy D, Duarte A, Reif S (2022). Perspectives of adults with disabilities and opioid misuse: Qualitative findings illuminating experiences with stigma and substance use treatment. Disability and Health Journal, 15(2).

Reif S, Karriker-Jaffe KJ, Valentine A, Patterson D, Mericle AA, Adams RS, Greenfield TK (2022). Substance use and misuse patterns and disability status in the 2020 US National Alcohol Survey: A contributing role for chronic pain. Disability and Health Journal, 15(2).

Adams, RS. 2021. “Traumatic Brain Injury and Opioid Use: Additional Evidence Supporting the “Perfect Storm” of Cascading Vulnerabilities.” (2021). Preface to the Topical Issue on Traumatic Brain Injury and Opioids in Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. Sep-Oct 01:36(5):303-309.

Adams, RS, Corrigan, JD, Ritter, GA, Hagemeyer, A, Pliskin, MB, and Reif, S. (2021). Association of Lifetime History of Traumatic Brain Injury with Prescription Opioid Use and Misuse among AdultsJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. Sep-Oct 01:36(5):328-337.

For a more complete listing of INROADS publications, visit our Publications and Issue Briefs page.


INROADS is funded by a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90DPGE0007, PI: Sharon Reif). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this website do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, or HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.