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1. Which substances does STARS offer treatment for?

Marijuana (weed, pot)
Benzodiazepines (benzos, downers, sedatives)
Cocaine (coke, crack)
Heroin and all other painkillers including Oxycontin®, Percocet® (oxycodone), and Vicodin® (hydrocodone)

*If you are using more than one substance, you may still be eligible to participate in treatment.

2. What services are provided during research treatment at STARS?
individual therapy sessions
medication (or placebo)
regular psychiatric assessments
close monitoring of physical health by our medical team

3. What can I expect during the initial evaluation?

The initial evaluation is a three-four hour block of time in which you meet with a psychiatrist, therapist and a nurse to perform both a psychological evaluation and a physical examination (including vital signs, EKG, bloods). If you are not interested or are ineligible to participate, you will be offered referrals to other treatment programs.

4. Where can I find more information about participating in a treatment research study?
Please refer to the National Institutes of Health clinical trials website ( to learn more about participation in a treatment research study. If you have any additional questions, a STARS staff member will be happy to provide you with information during the initial evaluation or by phone.

5. How long will I be in treatment at STARS?
Studies typically last 8-24 weeks; please visit the specific webpages for more detailed information.

6. Will my family members or friends know that I am seeking treatment at STARS?

Confidentiality is an essential component of treatment at STARS. Our staff will not share information with your family members or others about your decision to attend the initial evaluation or participate in treatment. During the evaluation, you will be asked to sign consent forms and we will specifically ask for your permission to contact you in the future. A therapist will review, in detail, how we protect the privacy of your personal information during treatment. This research is covered by a Certificate of Confidentiality stating that researchers cannot be forced to release any research data in which you are identified, even under a court order or subpoena, without your written consent.

7. Do I need insurance to receive treatment at STARS?
All services including therapy, psychiatric assessments, and medical support, are provided free of charge.

8. Does STARS offer compensation for travel expenses?
For each visit you will be offered $5 to cover the cost of NYC transit. Once you are enrolled in a trial, compensation for travel expenses can be adjusted for those who live outside of NYC and the cost of the fare by public transportation is more expensive.

9. I work full time; can I still receive treatment at STARS?
We offer morning, afternoon, and evening appointments for treatment. We attempt to accommodate a variety of schedules in an effort to provide needed support to our patients.

10. Who provides the treatment at STARS?

A team of professionals, including psychiatrists, therapists, and medical staff, provides the treatment at STARS. Our staff is highly trained and experienced in the treatment of substance use disorders. For more information about the STARS treatment team please refer to the Staff page on this website.

11. How long to determine eligibility?
The screening process may take between a few days to a few weeks depending on both the frequency of your visits and the study for which you are being considered.

12. How do I refer someone to STARS?
Have that person call 212-923-3031 to complete a phone screen and schedule an appointment.

13. Who is STARS funded through?
STARS is funded through various grants from organizations such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The Substance Treatment and Research Service of Columbia University (STARS) provides free and confidential treatment of substance abuse in the context of a research treatment clinical trial.

Cutting edge approaches to treating addiction to marijuana, benzodiazepines, cocaine, heroin or narcotic painkillers are available in a supportive and professional environment.