Why have a government agency to regulate the food we eat (the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and an agency to help protect our health (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)? These agencies are important in helping make rules, spread messages, and monitor things that affect Americans to make sure that we all stay healthy. The Government continues to add agencies that help to regulate and monitor health. In 1974, it created the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to study, fund research, and spread the word about the science behind drug abuse and addiction.
As SBB has explained in many past posts, addiction is complicated. Like other mental disorders—such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia—addiction is a chronic disease that can last a lifetime without proper treatment. And, addiction not only affects the addicted person, but also their family members and friends.
The goal of having a national agency that supports drug abuse research is to help prevent drug abuse and addiction. The more research we have to prove that addiction is a dangerous and lifelong brain disease, the more able we are to reduce the devastating effects that drug abuse has on individuals, their families and communities, and society as a whole.
NIDA's goal is to give people scientific knowledge about the dangers of drug abuse. Therefore, NIDA continues to explore how drugs work in the brain and body, and to develop and test new approaches to treatment and prevention. The first step is taken by researchers; the next step is up to you. How will you use this knowledge?
Over the years, NIDA has made its research available to many different audiences. In 2003, NIDA launched the NIDA for Teens Web site, which now hosts the Sara Bellum Blog (uh-hum), and other great tools, including Choose Your Path, which is an interactive video that asks you to make choices about prescription drug abuse, then see where those choices lead. Check out some other great resources that NIDA provides for students and young adults.