costs of addiction, after discussing the various reports, the IOM Board on Neuroscience and Behavioral Health (NBH) decided to examine this theme more closely, to assess the impact of the public perception about addiction research on the recruitment of talented young investigators into the field, and to examine specific career pathways in addiction research.
In July 1995, the IOM formed the Committee to Identify Strategies to Raise the Profile of Substance Abuse and Alcoholism Research with sponsorship from the W.M. Keck Foundation of Los Angeles. The major goals of the study were to identify strategies to increase the visibility of the important contributions of research on addiction, identify factors that may encourage and discourage the entry and career longevity of talented researchers in the field, and suggest ways to reduce any disincentives found.
The committee identified six areas that present challenges in the research and public arenas and developed strategies to address these challenges. These areas include:
integrative and collaborative research,
opportunities for education and training,
funding stability and adequacy,
public misunderstanding of addiction,
Where possible, the committee drew upon published literature and previous studies. However, given the limited literature on barriers to drug addiction research, the committee also sought information from experts within the field, government reports and agencies, professional organizations, and questionnaires sent to administrators, foundations, and accreditation organizations. In addition, the committee sponsored a workshop focused heavily on identifying existing barriers and discussing possible strategies to overcome them (Appendix A). Participants included junior and senior researchers inside and outside the field, administrators, policymakers, and representatives of industry and private foundations (Appendix B). The workshop included two plenary lectures (Appendixes C and D).
This report is the result of the committee's deliberations and represents an attempt to outline the challenges and opportunities in addiction research in a way that will be understandable to a somewhat different audience than previous IOM/NRC reports. Thus, this report is aimed at primary and secondary school educators and students, legislative aides and elected officials at all levels, and the media, as well as at college and early graduate students, graduate and medical school curricula developers, and federal agencies and foundations that fund training programs in the biomedical sciences.