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The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse is a national nonprofit research and policy organization focused on improving the understanding, prevention and treatment of substance use and addiction. Founded in 1992 by former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Joseph A. Califano, Jr, our interdisciplinary experts collaborate with others to promote effective policies and practices. We conduct and synthesize research, inform and guide the public, evaluate and improve healthcare, and analyze and recommend policies on substance use and addiction.
Major advances in neuroscience, brain imaging and behavioral research show that addiction can be thought of as a complex brain disease affecting behavior. However, it is often viewed as a moral failing due to lack of willpower, and therefore, not treated as a medical illness. Those living with addiction, and their families, often feel isolated in their struggle to understand the disease and find effective treatment. This is due in part to the shame and stigma attached to addiction and to the separation of most treatment from mainstream health care practice.
Conducts & Synthesizes Research
We conduct research to contribute to the knowledge base about substance use, addictive behaviors, and addictions and to inform science-based policy and practice recommendations.
Informs & Guides the Public
We serve as an expert source of information, translating and disseminating comprehensible messages about substance use and addiction. We educate families about the link between early use and addiction and encourage parents to raise substance-free children.
Evaluates & Improves Healthcare
We work with various stakeholders to promote the health and access to services for those at risk for or suffering from addiction. We facilitate local and national change in healthcare practice and emphasize the implementation of evidence-based practices.
Analyzes & Recommends Policy
We inform stakeholders of the cost of substance use and addiction and the savings and effectiveness of prevention and treatment. We make recommendations on health, justice, education and regulatory policies in the hopes of reducing substance use and addiction.