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Faculty Name

Paula Riggs, MD

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Professor of Psychiatry
Director, Division of Substance Dependence
University of Colorado School of Medicine



Description of Research

Dr. Riggs is a physician and clinical researcher who is board certified in adult, child, and adolescent psychiatry with added qualifications in addiction psychiatry. Her research has primarily focused on the evaluation and treatment of adolescent substance use disorders (SUD) and associated comorbid disorders, such as conduct disorder (CD), affective disorders, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Dr. Riggs is currently a Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Division of Substance Dependence, University of Colorado School of Medicine. Research activities include Principal Investigator (PI) of an ongoing 5-year grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) investigating the effects of Bupropion on ADHD in Adolescents with Substance Use Disorders. For further information about referring adolescents to this clinical research program, contact the study coordinator, Michelle Lohman, RN, at (303)724-2228.

Dr. Riggs is also a co-investigator with NIDA’s Clinical Trials Network (CTN). The CTN conducts multi-site clinical trials designed to determine the effectiveness of research-based behavioral and pharmacotherapeutic treatments for adult and adolescent substance use disorders in “real world” community treatment programs. Dr. Riggs was the Lead Investigator of a recently completed CTN multisite trial: “A Randomized Controlled Trial of Osmotic-Release Methylphenidate (OROS-MPH) for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adolescents with Substance Use Disorders” (Riggs et al., JAACAP, 2011). Dr. Riggs received the 2012 Elaine Schlosser Lewis Award for ADHD Research from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) for the published findings from this study.  
Mentorship and Training: Dr. Riggs has had a career-long commitment to mentoring young investigators and is currently the Principal Investigator of the NIDA/AACAP K12: Physician scientist career development award. The primary aim of this national training grant, now in its third competing renewal/funding cycle, is to provide research training and mentorship to child and adolescent psychiatrists who wish to become independent career investigators in pediatric addiction and mental health research (NIDA K 12 DA000357). Dr. Riggs has served as a primary research mentor for > 35 medical students, psychiatry residents, career development awards, junior faculty at UCD and nationally.


Qualified trainees would be able to participate in clinical trials research
under Dr. Riggs’ NIH-funded research projects.




Clinical and special developmental populations

Adolescents; Aggression and Conduct Disorder; Substance Abuse


Building 400
Room 235
AMC Campus F478

Contact email

Faculty/Lab Website


Post-doctoral trainees


Research Topic

Integrated treatment of adolescent substance abuse disorders and comorbidity

Mentor since



​University of Colorado School of Medicine

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Faculty Picture

Paula Riggs, MD

DPRG Website


Department website

Paula Riggs Department Page


Created at 11/14/2012 7:18 AM by Greco-Sanders, Linda
Last modified at 4/17/2014 10:23 AM by Greco-Sanders, Linda