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Brief Description

Drug addiction is a complex illness characterized by intense and, at times, uncontrollable drug craving, along with compulsive drug seeking and use that persist even in the face of devastating consequences. While the path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs, over time a person's ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised, and seeking and consuming the drug becomes compulsive. Learn more

Featured Publications

Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide Cover

Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide

Published January 2014. Revised January 2014.
Presents research-based principles of adolescent substance use disorder treatment; covers treatment for a variety of drugs including, illicit and prescription drugs, alcohol, and tobacco; presents settings and evidence-based approaches unique to treating adolescents.

Publication Cover

Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What To Ask

Published December 2011. Revised June 2013.
Offers guidance in seeking drug abuse treatment and lists five questions to ask when searching for a treatment program. En Español

Publication Cover

Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)

Published October 1999. Revised December 2012.
Presents research-based principles of addiction treatment for a variety of drugs, including nicotine, alcohol, and illicit and prescription drugs, that can inform drug treatment programs and services. En Español

Publication Cover

Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations - A Research-Based Guide

Published September 2006. Revised January 2012.
Presents research-based principles of addiction treatment that can inform drug treatment programs and services in the criminal justice setting.

Scientist with testtube

Medications Development at NIDA (Topics in Brief)

Revised November 2011.
Offers an update on the research strategy underway in the push to develop effective addiction medications, including currently approved drugs, new compounds, and vaccines.

Related Resources

Other Resources

Past information on many drugs of abuse is available on our Archives site.

This page was last updated January 2014

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    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.

    Featured Publication

    Featured Publication

    Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What To Ask

    Offers guidance in seeking drug abuse treatment and lists five questions to ask when searching for a treatment program.

    Blending Initiative

    blending logo

    Formed with SAMHSA to reduce the gap between research results and treatment.