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Addiction. 2011 Jun;106(6):1052-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.02995.x. Epub 2010 Jun 21.

Addiction research centres and the nurturing of creativity: the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

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  • 1The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892-1108, USA.


The aim of this paper is to present a concise account of the history, mission, structure and some recent achievements of the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Created by the US Congress 40 years ago, the NIAAA has evolved from an entity charged mainly with building a national system of alcoholism treatment services to one with responsibility for developing, nurturing and supporting the biomedical and behavioral science foundation necessary to reduce the significant domestic and global public health impact of alcohol use disorders. The NIAAA is unique in that it functions both as a funding agency, supporting research at universities and other external, or 'extramural' research institutions, and is also a research institution itself, where alcohol research is carried out in-house, or 'intramurally'. Of a $450.2 million 2009 Congressional Appropriation, approximately 90% was devoted toward the former and approximately 10% towards the latter objective. The current NIAAA Strategic Plan builds on a new organizing principle for long-range research planning, based on a life-span perspective that recognizes that human biology and behavior continue to change throughout life and changes occurring throughout the life-span affect individuals' drinking patterns as well as the decisions they may make to change their drinking habits or to seek help for alcohol use problems. Within this framework, major efforts are currently being devoted to educating practitioners on clinically useful, science-based assessment and treatment methods that exist today, and development of personalized new treatments for tomorrow.

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