Brent Moore, PhD, and a college friend are hopping aboard an RV for a unique listening tour across America. While there will be ample time for sight-seeing, the real purpose of this road trip is to meet people who have overcome substance use and addiction, and to learn how they did it.
Moore, a Research Scientist in Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, has spent two decades researching treatments for substance use disorders, a career he has found incredibly rewarding. Still, he believes there is much to be learned from people who have struggled with substance use, and to understand how and why their particular road to recovery worked for them.
“Honestly, it hit me in the middle of the night,” Moore said of the idea behind his road trip with college friend Rowan Morrison, a writer, playwright, and teacher from Portland, Ore., who enjoys gathering narratives. “I’ve been feeling like I needed to try a different way of learning about what I study. I think the road trip idea came to me because I grew up in the West (Colorado) and did a lot of traveling when I was younger. It was always a way to explore and look at the unknown.”
Moore said he bought the RV last week, and the first interview will be with the man who sold it to him.
From there, they have a tentative itinerary that will take them on a loop across the north to the west coast, south along the Pacific Ocean, then back east through the middle of the country. They are aiming for the Washington, D.C., area on their return, then will possibly do a mini-loop around New England.
“It will definitely be lots of see where it takes us, and if we get pulled in a different direction then that’s fine,” he said.
The trip is expected to take five or six weeks, and Moore and Morrison will post updates on their website and on Facebook and Twitter. They’ve dubbed their adventure “American Roads to Recovery, an On-The-Road Project Gathering Success Stories of Recovery from Addiction."
Moore said they already have a few interviews lined up but expect to meet more people on the road and as news of their trip spreads via friends and social media.
“We don’t have them all planned out and don’t have a target for how many yet, but expect it to grow,” he said. “We also have some ideas for finding folks on the road that we might interview, sometimes just chatting with folks and telling them about our project or going to meetings or treatment centers.”
They’re not certain what they will do with the information they gather. Moore said he is open to writing an op-ed or even a book, but that the focus now is on listening, learning, and understanding various methods and strategies people have used in their recovery.
Moore did his post-doctoral training at the University of Vermont before coming to Yale in 2003 to research treatment methods for opioid use disorder. He is the principal investigator of a National Institute of Drug Abuse funded research grant, “Automated Recovery Line for Medication Assisted Treatment,” which evaluates methods to improve use and engagement in automated treatments for patients in medication assisted substance abuse treatment.
He also works at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven, where he is a core investigator with the Pain Research, Informatics, Multi-morbidities, and Education (PRIME) Center. He evaluates organization and educational methods within the VA to improve care for pain and substance use disorders.
He is an elected fellow of the American Psychological Association, Division 28.