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          Paula D. Riggs, MD
         Director, Division of                Substance Dependence


Building 500, Rm. E4303

Phone:  303-724-2235

EmailDr. Riggs

Recent Publications


Paula D. Riggs, MD



Positions and Employment:

Instructor of Biological Sciences, Loretto Heights College, Denver, CO, 1979-1984 

Child Resident, Child Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC), School of Medicine, 1993-1994   

Associate Medical Director, Kempe Center Child Abuse, UCHSC, 1993-1994

Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, UCHSC, 1994-1995

Director of Psychiatric Services, Adolescents, Division of Substance Dependence, UCHSC, 1994-2006

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, UCHSC, 1995-2001

Associate Director of Residency Training, Department of Psychiatry, UCHSC, 1996-2002 

Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, UCHSC, 2001-2009         

Faculty Research Mentor, Developmental Psychobiology Research Group, UCHSC, 2003-              

Professor of Psychiatry (with tenure), UCD,2009- 

Director, Division of Substance Dependence, University of Colorado School of Medicine, 2011-


Other Experience and Professional Memberships:

Co-Chair, Adolescent Substance Abuse Committee, AACAP,1997-2001         

NIDA Treatment Research Study Section (NIDA-E), 1998-2009

Co-Chair, Committee on Adolescent Substance Abuse, American Association of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP), 2001-2003          

Co-Chair, Portfolio Coordinating Committee, Clinical Trials Network, NIDA, 2002-2004         

Editorial Board, Journal of American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), 2003-2008         

Scientific Advisory Board, Economic Evaluation Methods: Development and Applications. Grant No. R01 DA018645, Michael French, PI, 2005-2009         

Appointment to Alcohol and Substance Use Guideline Committee Meeting; Colorado Clinical Guidelines Collaborative, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2007-2008         

Editorial Board, JAACAP; Editor of JAACAP Pediatric Addiction Review Series, 2006-  



Adler Scholarship Award for Creativity in Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, 1989                 

Colorado Psychiatric Society, “Best Scientific Paper”, 1994 

“Outstanding Mentor Award,” AACAP, 2001               

“Top Doctor” 5280 Magazine, 2003               

Featured in HBO Addiction Documentary and Supplemental Series. March 2007

Science and Management of Addiction (SAMA) Foundation Research Award, 2008               

“Outstanding Mentor Award” AACAP K12, 2009               

“Outstanding Program Director” AACAP K12, 2009

"AACAP Elaine Schlosser Lewis Award for Research on Attention-Deficit Disorder", 2012

"Kathleen Ann Mullen Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Adolescent Health in the Rocky Mountain Region", 2013


Selected Teaching Activities:


  • August 2001, Substance Abuse Across the Lifespan: A Developmental Perspective on Substance Use Disorders and Related Comorbidity. Keynote Address, Aspen Institute.
  • May 2004, Delinquency, Crime and Substance Abuse Services for Adolescents: Developing a Juvenile Justice Treatment Model. Plenary Session, Developmental Considerations and Co-existing Disorders in Adolescent Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment. Denver, CO
  • February 2004, Is it Just A Stage? Mental Health and substance Use Disorders in children and Adolescents in Primary Care Practice. Primary Care Providers Conference. Ft. Collins, CO
  • Sept. 2005, Integrated Treatment Models: Adolescent Substance Abuse and Psychiatric Comorbidity, Department of Youth Corrections, Denver CO
  • October 2007, Integrating the Treatment of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Adolescents. Clinician Workshop Colorado Behavioral Health Council Conference. Breckenridge CO


  • April 1998, Assessment and Treatment of Adolescent Substance Use Disorders with Conduct Disorder and Other Comorbid Disorders. American Society Addiction Medicine (ASAM) New Orleans, LA
  • June 1998, Developmental Approach to Assessment & Treatment of Adolescent SUD, Grand Rounds, Department of Psychiatry. Medical University South Carolina. Charleston, SC
  • April 1999, Conduct Disorder, Substance Abuse, and Comorbidity., Grand Rounds, Department of Psychiatry. Stanford University School of Medicine. Stanford, CA
  • January 2000, Adolescent Substance Use Disorders: New Developments in Treatment Efficacy Clinical skills’ training. Psychiatric Medical Association of New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM.
  • December 2002, Adolescent Substance Use Disorders and Comorbid Conditions: Diagnosis and Treatment Considerations. Warren Wright Lecture/Grand Rounds, Northwestern University Department of Child, Adolescent Psychiatry. Chicago, IL
  • July 2003, Integrating the Treatment of Substance Abuse and Psychiatric Comorbidity in Adolescents. Keynote address and clinical skills’ training workshop, Arizona Department of Health Services- Arizona Substance Abuse Summer Institute. Sedona, AZ.
  • September 2007, Research to Practice: Integrating and Extending the Continuum of Care for Dually Diagnosed Adolescents. Nevada Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services 8th Annual Service Coordination Conference. Las Vegas, NV
  • October 2009, Randomized Controlled Trial of OROS-MPH for ADHD in Adolescents with Substance Use Disorders Symposium Presentation and Symposium Chair; NIDA-sponsored symposium at AACAP Annual Meeting, Honolulu HI.


Research Mentorship

Dr. Riggs has served as a primary research mentor for > 20 medical students, psychiatry residents, career development awards, junior faculty at UCD and nationally


 Clinical Activities:

  • Dr. Riggs has conducted the first randomized clinical trials of combined pharmacotherapy and behavioral interventions for adolescents (see research) and is nationally and internationally recognized for her treatment research and clinical expertise in treating adolescents with co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders.
  • Clinical consultant and scientific advisor to numerous clinical state and national mental health and substance treatment programs/agencies and addiction technology transfer centers; > 75 public lectures, clinical skills’ training; implementation evidence-based practices workshops
  • Director of Psychiatric Services for Adolescents ARTS, UCD 1995-2007
  • Executive Director of ENCOMPASS: Integrated Treatment for Adolescents and Young Adults, Evidence-based integrated mental health and substance treatment program/model for adolescents and young adults  
  • Founding member of the Society for Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Effectiveness (SASATE) 2001-present
  • Advisory Board/Consultant to the Colorado Clinical Guidelines Collaborative for development of Alcohol and Drug Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment Guidelines for primary practice physicians( 2008). Guidelines were completed in June, 2008 and now available to clinicians statewide.
  • Research mentorship: Dr. Riggs has served as primary research mentor for more than 35 medical students, residents, junior faculty at UCD and nationally


Grants and Contracts:

8/15/08 - 6/30/13,  NIH/NIDA R01 DA022284 (Riggs),  Bupropion for ADHD in Adolescents with Substance Use Disorders


9/30/06 - 5/31/10, NIH/NIDA R25 DA020472 (Roget),    NIDA Enters College: Infusing the Science of Addiction into University Curricula

Role: Senior Scientific Consultant, Co-Investigator


9/01/05 - 8/31/09,  NIH/NIDA U10 DA013732 (Somoza)  Clinical Trials Network, Ohio Valley Node

Role: Lead Investigator, CTN multisite trial: “A Randomized Controlled Trial of Osmotic-Release Methylphenidate (OROS-MPH) for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adolescents with Substance Use Disorders” (CTN-0028)


5/1/06 - 4/30/09, NIH/NIDA R01 DA018679 (Davies), Martial Arts as Early Intervention for Teen Drug Abuse   

Role: Senior Scientific Consultant, Co-Investigator


10/01/04 - 08/31/0, NIH/NIDA9 K12 DA00035 (Riggs), AACAP Physician Scientist Program in Substance Abuse

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications