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National Institute on Drug Abuse

6001 Executive Blvd Rm 5213
Bethesda, MD 20892-0001
(301) 443-1124
Services Offered:
Voluntary Health Organization
National Institute on Drug Abuse serves Bethesda, MD
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  • General Information
  • Description
    About My Business
    Executive Summary

    For the past three decades, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has led the way in supporting research to prevent and treat drug abuse and addiction and mitigate the impact of their consequences, which include the spread of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. To confront the most pressing aspects of this complex disease and to tackle its underlying causes, our strategic approach is necessarily a multipronged one. It takes advantage of research programs in basic, clinical, and translational sciences. This includes genetics, functional neuroimaging, social neuroscience, medication and behavioral therapies, prevention, and health services, including effectiveness and cost-effectiveness research. Our burgeoning portfolio has given us a large and growing body of knowledge that informs our strategic directions for the future. These directions are grouped into four major goal areas, summarized in the sections that follow:
    • Prevention
    • Treatment
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Crosscutting Priorities
    About My Services

    Strategic goal: To prevent the initiation of drug use and the escalation to addiction in those who have already initiated use.

    Our prevention research has led to today's improved understanding of addiction and has positioned NIDA to build upon solid epidemiological findings and new insights from genetics and neuroscience. Findings have revealed myriad contributors to addiction and the involvement of multiple brain circuits in addiction processes. A major goal of our efforts is to better understand why some people become addicted while others do not. Our prevention efforts encompass both illicit and licit drugs, such as nicotine and prescription medications. We support research that strives to identify the factors that put people at increased risk of drug abuse or protect them from it. Results will lead to more effective counterstrategies, particularly to prevent young people from ever using drugs in the first place. We are applying modern technologies (e.g., genetics and brain imaging tools) to our prevention studies and are devising creative and targeted communications strategies to encourage their use.

    NIDA's Prevention Objectives Include:
    • To identify the characteristics and patterns of drug abuse;
    • To understand how genes, environment, and development influence the various risk and protective factors for drug abuse.;
    • To improve and expand our understanding of basic neurobiology as it relates to the brain circuitry underlying drug abuse and addiction; and
    • To apply this knowledge toward the development of more effective strategies to prevent people from ever taking drugs and from progressing to addiction if they do.


    Strategic goal: To develop successful treatments for drug abuse and addiction and improve treatment accessibility and implementation.

    Given the complex interactions of biological, social, environmental, and developmental factors that underlie drug abuse and addiction, NIDA acknowledges the need to take a "whole systems" approach to treating this disease. We are well-positioned to capitalize on recent discoveries that have uncovered an expanded range of possible brain targets that affect craving, euphoria, motivation, learning, memory, and inhibitory control—key contributors to addiction and relapse. To bring about more customized treatments, our comprehensive therapeutic research portfolio pushes for more effective medication and behavioral therapies. Innovative approaches that consider genetic variation, comorbid conditions (e.g., mental illness, chronic pain), and the addicted person's changing needs over time will usher in promising medications to counteract drug-induced changes in the brain and enhance behavioral therapies. Effectiveness research helps us optimize strategies for disseminating and implementing research-based treatments in health care and criminal justice settings. This objective requires that we continue to strengthen our productive partnerships with treatment practitioners, state substance abuse programs, and other Federal agencies to move proven treatments into clinical practice at the community level.

    NIDA's Treatment Objectives Include:
    • To develop effective medications and behavioral interventions to treat drug abuse and addiction and to prevent relapse;
    • To develop treatments for drug abuse and addiction in association with comorbid conditions;
    • To develop the knowledge that leads to personalized or customized treatments; and
    • To translate research-based treatments to the community.


    Strategic goal: To diminish the spread of drug abuse-related human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and minimize the associated health and social consequences, including acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

    Drug abuse continues to be a major vector for the spread of HIV/AIDS through its connection with other risky behaviors, such as needle sharing and unprotected sex. Our research advances the less-acknowledged link between drug abuse
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