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NIH 1998 Almanac/The Organization/NIDA/      

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Mission


The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) provides national leadership for research on drug abuse and addiction. Through its extramural research program and its Division of Intramural Research in Baltimore, NIDA supports studies on the biological, social, behavioral and neuro-scientific bases of drug abuse as well as its causes, prevention, and treatment. In addition, NIDA supports research training, career development, public education and research dissemination in these areas. Through grants and contracts to investigators at research institutions around the country and overseas, NIDA supports research and training on:

  • the neurobiological, behavioral, and social mechanisms underlying drug abuse and addiction;
  • specific biomedical and behavioral effects of drugs of abuse, including marijuana, heroin, and cocaine, on the body and brain;
  • effective prevention and treatment approaches, including a broad research program designed to develop new treatment medications and behavioral therapies for drug addiction;
  • the causes and consequences of drug abuse, including impact on society and morbidity and mortality in selected populations, e.g., ethnic minorities, youth, women;
  • the relationship of drug use to problem behaviors and psychosocial outcomes such as mental illness, unemployment, low socioeconomic status, violence;
  • biomedical, behavioral, and social factors associated with vulnerability/invulnerability to drug abuse and addiction;
  • the relationship of drug abuse to the acquisition, transmission, and clinical course of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other diseases and the development of effective prevention/intervention strategies;
  • the relationship of drug abuse to cultural and ethical issues such as discrimination;
  • the mechanisms of pain and the search for nonaddictive analgesics; and
  • tobacco and nicotine addiction.

NIDA's intramural research program is located in Baltimore, Md. Originally known as the Addiction Research Center, IRP conducts multidisciplinary research on basic biological and behavioral mechanisms that underly drug abuse and addiction, including its causes and adverse consequences. Research is also supported on treatments for drug addiction and HIV transmission by those who inject drugs. Studies range from molecular to laboratory research with animals to clinical studies with human volunteers. The program employs the latest technology-- including positron emission tomography--to study the action of drugs in the human brain and transgenic species to better understand the role genes in drug abuse. The intramural program also serves as a national and international training center for young investigators in the drug abuse field.


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National Institutes of Health