WelcomeCenter for Addiction Research



Kathryn Cunningham, PhD
ear Colleagues, Drug overdose deaths, misuse, and substance use disorders (SUDs) constitute a major, high-impact health problem in the U.S. Drug overdose deaths claimed a reported 88,990 people in the United States in the 12-month period ending in October 2020; up by ~21% vs. the previous year (provisional data). The Covid-19 pandemic erupted into the midst of the drug overdose crisis with 20% of respondents diagnosed with SUDs reporting a consequent increase in substance use, a likely contributor to the increasing drug overdose deaths. The drug overdose crisis emphasizes that drug misuse and SUDs persist as great challenges on the public health agenda, and that we must continue to invest innovative thought, intellectual prowess, and disruptive strategies to address this crisis. There is no question that SUDs constitute a major, high-impact worldwide health problem. The loss of human potential is tremendous; drug misuse and SUDs radically alters the course of lives. Our field benefits from the engagement of multidisciplinary teams. We provide nascent scientists with the knowledge base, technical expertise, and professional skills needed to advance mechanistic knowledge in SUDs and related medical disorders and to move these advances toward new therapeutic approaches for treatment.


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 SUDs. The CAR is composed of faculty across the UTMB campus with interests in SUD 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 SUD 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 SUDs 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 consortium's and programs at all levels - national, state and local.

Welcome to our site!


Kathryn A. Cunningham, PhD
Director, Center for Addiction Research
Chauncey Leake Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology

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