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 research projects have included investigations of medications for the treatment of opioid, cocaine, methamphetamine, and cannabis use disorders, opioid-induced hyperalgesia, and treatment of pain in opioid-maintained patients. 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 most recently completed a multi-site clinical trial using a medication combination of extended-release naltrexone with daily bupropion for the treatment of methamphetamine use disorders. This project used a novel stepped approach for and enhanced methods for confirming medication adherence including daily dosing videos captured with Smartphones sent by study participants to the study team. 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, 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. PMID: 16042639.

  2. Ling W, Rawson R, Shoptaw S. (2006). Management of methamphetamine abuse and dependence. Curr Psychiatry Rep, 8, 345-354. PMID:16968614

  3. Ling, W., Hillhouse, M. Domier, C., Doraimani, G., Hunter, J., Thomas, C., Jenkins, J., Hasson, A., Annon, J., Saxon, A., Selzer, J., Boverman, J., & Bilangi, R. (2009). Buprenorphine tapering schedule and illicit opioid use. Addiction, 104, 256-265. PMCID: PMC3150159.

  4. 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 PMCID: PMC2853172.

  5. 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. PMID: 20940383.

  6. 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.

  7. Ling W, Mooney L, Wu LT. (2012). Advances in opioid antagonist treatment for opioid addiction. Psychiatr Clin North Am, 35, 297-308. PMID: 22640757.

  8. Ling W, Hillhouse M, Jenkins J, Miotto K, Torrington M, Chapleo C. (2012). Comparisons of analgesic potency and side effects of buprenorphine and buprenorphine with ultra-low-dose naloxone. J Addict Med, 6, 118-123. PMID: 22475985.

  9. Ling W, Shoptaw S, Hillhouse M, Bholat MA, Charuvastra C, Heinzerling K, Chim D, Annon J, Dowling PT, Doraimani G. (2012) Double-blind placebo-controlled evaluation of the PROMETA™ protocol for methamphetamine dependence. Addiction, 107, 361-369. PMID: 22082089.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Ling, W., Hillhouse, M., Ang, A., Jenkins, J., & Fahey, J. (2013). Comparison of Behavioral Treatment Conditions in Buprenorphine Maintenance. Addiction, 108, 1788-1798. PMID: 23734858

  13. Tai B, Saxon AJ, Ling W. (2013). Medication-assisted therapy for opioid addiction. J Food Drug Anal, 21(4):S13-S15.

  14. Ling W, Wu LT. (2013). Prescription drug overdose: between patients and their doctors. Subst Abuse Rehabil, 9;4:1-2.

  15. Ling W, Chang L, Hillhouse M, Ang A, Striebel J, Jenkins J, Hernandez J, Olaer M, Mooney L, Reed S, Fukaya E, Kogachi S, Alicata D, Holmes N, Esagoff A. (2014). Sustained-release methylphenidate in a randomized trial of treatment of methamphetamine use disorder. Addiction. 109(9):1489-500.

Last updated - 03/23/2015

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