In 2008, an estimated 22.2 million persons aged 12 or older, nearly 9% of the population in that age range, were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year (Figure).* There are more deaths, illness, and disabilities from substance abuse than from any other preventable health condition. Today, one in four deaths is attributable to alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use.**
But there is hope. Many of the brightest minds in science are conducting breakthrough research to change those statistics.
In the “Meet the Researcher” series, the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) and the ATTC Network have partnered to introduce you to some of the scientists working hard to make an impact in the lives of individuals battling the disease of addiction. Each quarter, RSA and the ATTC Network will profile a researcher whose work has made a difference in our lives. These profiles will be featured in the ATTC Network publication, ATTC Messenger, on the ATTC Network website, and on the RSA website.
Kathleen Grant, Ph.D. is a senior scientist, and chief of the neuroscience division at the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC), as well as a professor in the department of behavioral neurosciences at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). Dr. Grant recently won the RSA Begleiter Excellence in Research Award at the Research Society on Alcoholism’s annual meeting in June 2013 in Orlando, Florida.
“We have all the pieces to understand and change the course of alcohol addiction.”
Dr. George F. Koob is a professor and chair of the Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders at The Scripps Research Institute. Dr. Koob won the RSA Marlatt Mentorship Award at the Research Society on Alcoholism’s annual meeting in June 2012 in San Francisco, California.
“Substance use disorders – addiction and alcoholism – are treatable diseases and their treatment will save enormously on human suffering and health care costs.”
Floyd E. Bloom, M.D. is professor emeritus at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. He was chairman emeritus of the department of neuropharmacology at The Scripps Research Institute, past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, former president of the Society for Neuroscience and of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, former editor-in-chief of Science (1995-2000), director of behavioral neurobiology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and chief of the Laboratory of Neuropharmacology of the National Institute of Mental Health.
“There are many open questions in defining how and why individuals choose to experiment with addictive drugs, and why some succumb to the addiction and others choose not to.
John C. Crabbe, Ph.D., is a professor of behavioral neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University, a senior research career scientist at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, and the director of the Portland Alcohol Research Center. Dr. Crabbe recently won the RSA Seixas Award at the Research Society on Alcoholism’s annual meeting in June 2012 in San Francisco, California. Read More
"A happy scientist is a productive scientist.”
Richard Saitz, M.D., MPH, is a professor
of medicine and epidemiology at Boston University, and also primary care physician and director of the Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit in the Section of General Internal Medicine at Boston Medical Center. Dr. Saitz recently won the RSA Distinguished Researcher Award at the Research Society on Alcoholism's annual meeting in June 2012 in San Francisco, California.
"Addiction specialty care should be no different than getting care for a heart condition or depression."
Marisa Silveri, Ph.D., is assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and director of the Neurodevelopmental Laboratory on Addictions and Mental Health at McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate.
"What could be more fascinating to study than the biology of the brain? To me, nothing."
Marlene Oscar Berman, Ph.D., winner of the Henri Begleiter Excellence in Research Award at the Research Society on Alcoholism's annual meeting in June 2011.
“…I discovered … the powerful influence that a mentor relationship can have on future growth, creativity, and development”
Clive Harper, M.D., FRCPA, winner of the 2009 RSA Begleiter Research Award
“It is critical for us to take our research out of our laboratories and apply the lessons to health programs.”
Edith V. Sullivan, Ph.D.
"One finding that surprised me when comparing level of impairment across domains of cognitive functions was the profound problem that even persons in long-term recovery from alcoholism exhibited in their ability to stand still."
Danielle M. Dick, Ph.D.
"I was struck and saddened by the revolving door aspect of mental-health treatment... It made me very interested in basic research. I felt like if I could understand the basic processes that lead up to the development of the disorder, I could help prevent these debilitating conditions and potentially improve people's lives."
R. Adron Harris, Ph.D., M. June and J. Virgil Waggoner Professor
"All of therapeutics, all of medicine, is built on basic science research."
Arthur Cederbaum, Ph.D.
"While all organs can be damaged by long
term alcohol abuse, the liver is the most susceptible."
Learn about leaders in the addiction treatment and recovery services field by checking out more profiles.
*Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2009). Results from the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-36, HHS Publication No. SMA 09-4434). Rockville, MD.
**National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved Dec. 31, 2009 at http://www.drugabuse.gov/consequences/mortality/.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are the views of the those profiled and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ATTC Network, SAMHSA/CSAT or any other part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).