Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction
Advancing Addiction Science and Practical Solutions

Leading the Search for Scientific Solutions

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Human brain x-ray 3D illustration.

To address all aspects of drug use and its harmful consequences, NIDA's research program ranges from basic studies of the addicted brain and behavior to clinical strategies and health services research. NIDA's research program develops prevention and treatment approaches and ensures they work in real-world settings. As part of this goal, NIDA is committed to research that addresses the vulnerabilities and health differences that exist among ethnic minorities or that stem from gender differences.

Bringing Science to Real-World Settings

  • Clinical Trials Network (CTN) – CTN "road tests" research-based drug use treatments in community treatment programs around the country.
  • Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Studies (CJ-DATS) (Archives) – Led by NIDA, CJ-DATS is a network of research centers, in partnership with criminal justice professionals, drug use treatment providers, and federal agencies, responsible for developing integrated treatment approaches for criminal justice offenders and testing them at multiple sites throughout the Nation.
  • The HEALing Communities Study (HCS) – Led by NIDA and funded through the NIH HEAL InitiativeSM, HCS is testing the impact of an integrated set of evidence-based practices across health care, behavioral health, justice, and other community-based settings. The goal of the study is to reduce opioid-related overdose deaths by 40 percent over the course of three years. Research sites are partnering with 67 communities highly affected by the opioid crisis in four states to measure the impact of these efforts.
  • The Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN) – Led by NIDA and funded through the NIH HEAL InitiativeSM, JCOIN is a network of research institutions and centers established to study approaches to increase high-quality care for people with opioid misuse and OUD in justice settings. JCOIN will test strategies to expand effective treatment and care in partnership with local and state justice systems and community-based treatment providers.
  • The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study – ABCD is the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States. The study is following more than 11,000 healthy children ages nine to 10 and will follow them into early adulthood to observe brain growth. 

Sharing Free Information With the Public

NIDA increases the impact of its research on addiction by sharing free information with professionals and the general public. Special initiatives are intended for researchers, clinicians, educators, students, and parents. Please visit https://drugpubs.drugabuse.gov.

NIDA's Special Initiatives for Students, Teachers, and Parents

Special Initiative for Clinicians

NIDAMED  A collection of resources for health professionals on the causes and consequences of drug use and addiction, and advances in pain management.

Publications on Prevention and Treatment Principles

Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents: A Research-Based Guide for Parents, Educators, and Community Leaders – NIDA’s research-based guide for preventing drug use among children and adolescents provides principles based on effective drug-prevention research and includes answers to questions on risk and protective factors as well as on community planning and implementation

Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide – This guide summarizes principles of effective treatment, answers common questions, and describes types of treatment, providing examples of scientifically based and tested treatment components

Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide – This guide discusses the urgency of treating substance use disorders in teenagers, answers common questions about how young people are treated for drug problems, and describes effective research-based treatment approaches

Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations: A Research-Based GuideNIDA's research-based guide for treating criminal justice-involved people with addiction provides essential treatment principles and includes answers to frequently asked questions as well as resource information.

For more information: All NIDA publications are available at www.drugabuse.gov. Some publications are also available in print, free of charge.

To order a publication in print, call the DRUGPubs Research Dissemination Center at 1–877–NIH–NIDA or go to drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. Watch NIDA videos (NIDA TV) at: www.drugabuse.gov/nida-tv.