Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) or “addiction” is the fastest-growing health and wellbeing threat in western society. Abuse of drugs, including illicit/illegal drugs, alcohol and prescription opioid- painkillers exacts more than $740 billion annually in costs. More specifically, every day in the US more than 125 people die of an opioid overdose, and excessive alcohol use kills an additional 250. Currently, the only therapeutics designed to treat addiction either (1) block the rewarding effects of drugs and show poor compliance (e.g., naltrexone for alcoholism) or (2) use a less “dangerous” drug as a substitute (e.g. methadone/buprenorphine for opioid abuse). Addiction is a disease of the brain in which cells and circuits are altered from what is “normal.” Recovering addicts remain at risk for relapse for months/years/decades, indicating that drug-induced changes in the brain continue to lie-in-wait.
The Center for Neuroscience’s Substance Abuse Research Program fosters a new approach to team science and research in SUDs to underscore the relevance of memory, decision making, brain development and co-morbid neurological disorders to addiction and to translate our findings into a new therapeutic development pipeline to treat SUDs. Support from generous donors and friends will help our nationally and internationally recognized neuroscience experts to make substantial discoveries that will improve individual and public health.
Senior Director of Development