Walter Ling, M.D.

ISAP Researchers' Profiles

Walter Ling, M.D.

Walter Ling, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry and Founding Director of the Integrated Substance Abuse Programs (ISAP) at UCLA, one of the foremost substance abuse research groups in the United States and worldwide. He is board certified in neurology and psychiatry, is active in research and clinical work, and has been listed in “Best Doctors in America,” “Best Doctors in the West,” and “Best Doctors in Los Angeles.” Dr. Ling’s research in pharmacotherapy for opioid addiction provided pivotal information for the approval of LAAM, naltrexone, and buprenorphine. His current research includes opioid use disorders, opioid-induced hyperalgesia, treatment of pain in opioid-maintained patients, including those treated with buprenorphine, the role of buprenorphine in the management of pain in these patients, and examination of methylphenidate for methamphetamine dependence. The scope of ISAP’s research under Dr. Ling’s leadership has encompassed the development of pharmacotherapies and behavioral therapies for the treatment of substance use disorders involving opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, alcohol, and nicotine. Dr. Ling has extended ISAP’s research beyond the United States to Asia and the Middle East, and he has led or participated in international training efforts in 15 countries to advance addiction medicine and addiction research.  As Principal Investigator of the Pacific Region Node of the NIDA Clinical Trial Network (CTN), Dr. Ling recently completed a nationwide 11-site trial investigating the effectiveness of buprenorphine provided with extended-released naltrexone for reducing cocaine use in cocaine-dependent individuals who have a history opioid use disorder, and is currently leading analysis efforts. Dr. Ling is currently directing another CTN clinical trial for the treatment of methamphetamine use disorders that will examine a novel stepped approach utilizing a medication combination and enhanced methods for confirming medication compliance. Dr. Ling’s current and future research projects will continue to examine potential and promising methods for the treatment of substance use disorders.

Education and Training

  • Chulalonghorn Univ. Med. Sch., Bangkok, Thailand, M.D., Medicine, 1963
  • Internship, Chulalonghorn Univ., Bangkok, Thailand, 1963-1964
  • Internship, Washington Univ., St. Louis, MO, 1964-1965
  • Residency, Washington Univ., St. Louis, MO, Neurology, 1965-1968
  • Residency, Washington Univ., St. Louis, MO, Psychiatry, 1968-1970


  • Addiction Medicine
  • Pain Management and Research
  • Psychiatry and Neurology

Contact Info

UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs
1640 S. Sepulveda Blvd, Suite 120
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Selected Publications

  1. Ling, W., Hillhouse, M., Ang, A., Jenkins, J., & Fahey, J. (2013). Comparison of Behavioral Treatment Conditions in Buprenorphine Maintenance. Addiction, 108, 1788-1798.

  2. Krupitsky, E., Nunes, E. V., Ling, W., Gastfriend, D. R., Memisoglu, A., Silverman, B. L. (2013).Injectable extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX) for opioid dependence: Long-term safety and effectiveness. Addiction, 108, 1628-37.

  3. Krupitsky E, Nunes EV, Ling W, Illeperuma A, Gastfriend DR, Silverman BL. (2011). Injectable extended-release naltrexone for opioid dependence. Lancet, 378, 665- 666.

  4. Hasin, D. S., O'Brien, C. P., Auriacombe, M., Borges, G., Bucholz, K., Budney, A., Compton, W. M., Crowley, T., Ling, W., Petry, N. M., Schuckit, M., & Grant, B. F. (2013). DSM-5 criteria for substance use disorders: recommendations and rationale. Am J Psychiatry. 170, 834-51.

  5. Saxon, A., Ling, W., Hillhouse, M., Thomas, C., Hasson, A., Doraimani, G., Tasissa, G., Lokhnygina, Y., Leimberger, J., Bruce, D., McCarthy, J., Wiest, K., McLaughlin, P., Bilangi, R., Woody, G., & Jacobs, P. (2013). Buprenorphine/Naloxone and methadone effects on liver health: a randomized trial. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 128, 71-76. PMCID: PMC3543467 (available 2014/2/1).

  6. Ling W, Farabee D, Liepa D, Wu LT. (2012). The Treatment Effectiveness Assessment (TEA): an efficient, patient-centered instrument for evaluating progress in recovery from addiction. Subst Abuse Rehabil, 1, 129-136. PMID: 23580868, PMCID: PMC3621788.

  7. Ling W, Mooney L, Hillhouse M. (2011). Prescription opioid abuse, pain and addiction: clinical issues and implications. Drug Alcohol Rev, 30, 300-305. PMID: 21545561

  8. Weiss RD, Potter JS, Provost SE, Huang Z, Jacobs P, Hasson A, Lindblad R, Connery HS, Prather K, Ling W. (2010). A multi-site, two-phase, Prescription Opioid Addiction Treatment Study (POATS): rationale, design, and methodology. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 31, 189-199. PMID: 20116457

  9. Ling W, Jacobs P, Hillhouse M, Hasson A, Thomas C, Freese T, Sparenborg S, McCarty D, Weiss R, Saxon A, Cohen A, Straus M, Brigham G, Liu D, McLaughlin P, Tai B (2010). From research to the real world: buprenorphine in the decade of the Clinical Trials Network. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 38, Suppl 1:S53-60.PMID: 20307796

  10. Ling W, Casadonte P, Bigelow G, Kampman KM, Patkar A, Bailey GL, Rosenthal RN, Beebe KL (2010). Buprenorphine implants for treatment of opioid dependence: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 304, 1576-1583.

  11. Ling W, Hillhouse M, Domier C, Doraimaini G, Hunter J, Thomas C, Jenkins J, Hasson A, Annon J, Saxon A, Selzer J, Boverman J, Bilang R. (2009). Buprenorphine tapering schedule and illicit opioid use. Addiction, 104, 236-265.

  12. Torrington M, Domier C, Hillhouse M, Ling W. (2007). Buprenorphine 101: Treating opioid dependence with buprenorphine in an office-based setting. Journal of Addictive Diseases, Vol.26 (3), 93-99.

  13. Ling W, Rawson R, Shoptaw S. (2006), Management of Methamphetamine Abuse and Dependence, Current Science, 8:345-354.

  14. Ling W, Amass L, Shoptaw S, Annon J, Hillhouse M, Babcock D, Brigham G, Harrer J, Reid M, Muir J, Buchan B, Orr D, Woody G, Krejci J, Ziedonis D, Buprenorphine Study Protocol Group. (2005). A multi-center randomized trial of buprenorphine-naloxone versus clonodine for opioid detoxification: findings from the National Institute on Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network, Addiction; 100, 1090-1100.

  15. Wesson DR, Ling W. Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS) (2003). Journal of Psychoactive Drugs:35(2); 253-259.

Last updated - 01/27/2014

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