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NIDA

2016-2020 NIDA Strategic Plan

Objective 2.2: Develop and test innovative prevention interventions that target mechanisms underlying risk factors

Changes in technology and the social media landscape are presenting new opportunities to deliver innovative prevention interventions. In addition, the accumulating basic science of biological, environmental, and developmental interactions underlying substance use and addiction, combined with our increasing understanding of the mechanisms underlying behavior change and intervention effectiveness, will allow researchers to develop and test prevention interventions targeted to the mechanisms underlying risk and resilience for drug use and related disorders. For example, child maltreatment is one of the most powerful environmental risk factors for SUDs and other behavioral disorders.84 The development of interventions that identify and address the consequences of child abuse and neglect may offer effective prevention for a large population of vulnerable individuals. This objective includes integrating discoveries from the basic biological, behavioral, and social sciences to develop and test innovative preventive interventions that specifically target underlying mechanisms in drug abuse risk.

Priorities within this objective include developing and testing prevention interventions for known high-risk and vulnerable populations and for subgroups for which research gaps exist (e.g., older adults), and developing interventions to address emerging drug trends and drug use practices (e.g., e-cigarettes, synthetic drugs, dabbing) that have unique characteristics or confer unique risks. Novel intervention approaches, adaptive designs, and other methods for optimizing interventions at the individual and community level are also needed.

Approaches

  • Integrate discoveries from the basic biological, behavioral, and social sciences to develop and test innovative preventive interventions that specifically target the underlying mechanisms of drug abuse risk and other related problems
  • Build on developmental research to maximize the effectiveness of interventions at different critical developmental stages and transitions from infancy to adulthood
  • Explore the potential of technology-based methods for delivering prevention interventions, such as smartphones, video games, and social media
  • Develop and test effective preventive interventions targeted to factors underlying common comorbidities including mental illness, behavioral problems, and pain
  • Develop and test preventive interventions for implementation in diverse clinical settings including emergency departments, primary care, hospital inpatient settings, high school and college health centers, and community coalitions