Substance abuse prevention is the intervention with the greatest impact on drug addiction, says Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health. “Addiction is a disease that is fully preventable,” Volkow says.
Watch Nora Volkow discuss research that indicates drug addiction is a disease that can be stopped before it starts:
Scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse have identified effective interventions with young populations to help prevent risky behaviors before drug abuse occurs. Researchers are also studying older teens who are already using drugs to find ways to prevent further abuse or addiction.
“We know that substance abuse and addiction have a very important social component because access of drugs determines whether a person will take them or not,” Volkow says. “But we also know that genes are very, very important in determining who will become addicted and who will abuse drugs in a given environment.”
Volkow says research priorities include the translation of evidence-based findings into better drug abuse prevention with greater access.
“As a nation, we must found the infrastructure to be able to do prevention such that you don’t have young people abusing substances and becoming addicted,” she says.
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