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Strategic Plan

Strategic Direction:

Promote basic research that applies state-of-the-art science and technologies to advance our understanding of the mechanisms mediating drug abuse and addiction:

Goal 1:  Validate targets and develop ligands to accelerate pharmacotherapy for drug addiction.

  • Isolate target receptors and endogenous ligands
  • Validate and/or test targets
  • Develop molecular entities, ligands and probes
  • Develop and validate behavioral screens to identify or predict treatment response
  • Support computational modeling for target validation and ligand development

Goal 2:  Determine the molecular and cellular basis of vulnerability to addiction.

  • Identify genes and genetic variations
  • Identify epigenetic and non-coding regulators of gene expression
  • Use systems approaches to understand molecular and cellular interactions
  • Identify molecular determinants of HIV latency modified by drugs of abuse

Goal 3:  Identify the neural circuits underlying drug addiction and their functional properties.

  • Determine the interactions  of drug exposure , development,  and microenvironment  in shaping neural circuits
  • Map primary and compensatory connections and functional adaptations in neural circuits that arise from repeated intermittent exposure to and withdrawal from abused drugs
  • Identify the drug-related glia-neuronal adaptations that arise from repeated intermittent exposure to and withdrawal from drugs

Goal 4:  Identify behavioral processes that underlie drug abuse and addiction.

  • Identify how environmental variables and behavioral phenotypes influence risk and protection
  • Develop paradigms that model the complexity of human addiction
  • Develop interventions to change behavioral trajectories of abuse and addiction
  • Examine neurobiological correlates and mechanisms of abuse-related behaviors

Goal 5:  Promote cross-cutting NIDA priorities.

  • HIV/drug abuse interactions
  • Chronic pain
  • Sex/gender differences
  • Enhance training and career development opportunities


We assume the responsibility of reporting annually (May/June):

  • Number of grants funded that support each of the goals
  • List of publications that address each of the goals
  • Summary of significant findings and activities that mark progress toward the goals


This page was last updated August 30, 2012.

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.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health

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Questions for our staff? E-mail information@nida.nih.gov or call 301-443-1124 (240-221-4007 en español).

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