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Background on Health Disparities

In 2000, NIDA established a Strategic Plan on Reducing and Ultimately Eliminating Health Disparities. The plan set forth NIDA's relevant goals to eliminate health disparities by (1) improving understanding of the incidence and causes of drug abuse and addiction in all racial/ethnic groups by recognizing diversity, (2) strengthening and expanding the community and research infrastructure for conducting research with racial/ethnic populations, (3) improving prevention and treatment for racial/ethnic groups at highest risk for addiction and medical consequences of drug use and addiction, and (4) disseminating information on drug use and the disease of addiction in racial/ethnic communities identifying best approaches to prevention and treatment.

The Special Populations Office (SPO) coordinates NIDA's health disparities efforts. The SPO works to stimulate and encourage research that will lead to more drug abuse and addiction prevention and treatment approaches for health disparity populations, increase the number of scholars engaged in addiction research from groups underrepresented in science, and prepare researchers to better address health disparities related to drug abuse and addiction.