remains one of the greatest challenges on the public health agenda. The lives lost, families devastated and communities imperiled are a vivid reminder of the immense hold that licit and illicit drugs and alcohol have on our society. Given the rates of lifetime prevalence for alcoholism (20%) and drug abuse/dependence (7%), we will each encounter drug abuse or its consequences (e.g., crime, traffic accident) during our lives. In 2005, the national costs of addiction topped $357.4 billion, exceeding the economic impact of stroke, diabetes and heart disease combined. In Texas alone, the costs associated with drug and alcohol abuse was $26 billion in 2004 and 37% of the state's budget was spent on addressing alcohol and drug abuse related problems. A greater understanding of the biology of chemical abuse is necessary to provide enhanced prevention, diagnostic, and treatment services, which will not only improve health, but save lives and money as well.
The Center for Addiction Research is striving to build effective collaborations among scientists with the varying expertise required to advance our understanding of the science of addiction. The CAR is composed of faculty across the UTMB campus with interests in addiction research and education, including faculty from the School of Medicine, School of Nursing and Institute of Medical Humanities, and has become a coordinating force for translational research in addiction based on a strategy of developing and nurturing opportunities for interdisciplinary investigations and training of new investigators in translational science. Our consortium is unified around creating new diagnostic and treatment approaches, including new target medications, and moving our research from the bench to the bedside with the ultimate goal to improve lives. The Center has two important goals relating to community outreach and education. The CAR disseminates evidence-based knowledge on addiction and related disorders to academic and professional communities and collaborates with community providers to encourage provider and patient involvement in education, prevention and clinical research efforts. The CAR also functions as an advisory resource, promoting the utilization of science in the formulation of policies and the development of consortiums and programs at all levels - national, state and local.
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Kathryn A. Cunningham, PhD
Director, Center for Addiction Research
Chauncey Leake Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology