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Addiction Science: From Molecules to Managed Care

Addiction usually begins in adolescence, thus early prevention is critical.

Addiction is a Developmental Disease - graph shows first time dependence peaks for alcohol and cannabis at 17-18 years tobacco spikes at 18, 24 and 28 years

This image illustrates the age at which drug dependence is first diagnosed, which for tobacco, alcohol and marijuana, is typically in adolescence or early adulthood. Much of the research supported by NIDA is aimed at preventing drug use from ever starting. This research ranges from highly complex molecular and imaging studies to devising effective messages that “speak” to young people.

This page was last updated July 2008

Featured Publication

Featured Publication

Drugs, Brains, and Behavior - The Science of Addiction

As a result of scientific research, we know that addiction is a disease that affects both brain and behavior.

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