Drug abuse is a significant health-related problem and novel preventive intervention strategies are needed to address this problem. The Center for Drug Abuse Translation (CDART) is a prevention center responding to the NIDA Center of Excellence (PA-10-189). CDART proposes to determine the biologically-based facets of personality that increase risk for drug abuse and to test different preventive interventions that target these multiple risk-related facets. The central theme of CDART is that: (1) sensation seeking involves the reward relevant dopamine system and is most closely related to initiation of use; (2) disinhibition involves the inhibition-relevant prefrontal cortex and is most closely relatd to escalation of use; and (3) urgency, or mood-based rash action, involves the stress-relevant amygdala and is most closely related to problem use. CDART hypothesizes that prevention interventions may be maximally effective if they are tailored specifically to these risk-related facets. Three integrated research projects are proposed; one will use laboratory rats and two will use college students transitioning from adolescence to young adulthood. Using neurochemical and electrophysiological techniques in rats, as well as neuroimaging techniques in humans, the basic neural mechanisms that mediate these different risk-related facets will be assessed. Humans varying in risk-related facets also will be tested for their response to drugs of abuse under controlled laboratory conditions. This basic research will be translated into the application of prevention in small-scale efficacy trials. An especially innovative aspect of the proposed work is that it will test the hypothesis that individuals high in urgency will be more responsive to an intervention that promotes emotional self-regulation (i.e., mindfulness training) relative to an intervention tailored to high sensation seekers. In addition to the specific researc proposed in the 3 research projects, an administrative core, a statistics/psychometrics core and a training/pilot program core will further synergize the projects. An outreach component also is proposed to enhance the bi-directional transfer of information between basic scientists and prevention practitioners. The long-range goal is to improve the design and implementation of targeted anti-drug preventive interventions.

Public Health Relevance

This research is relevant to public health because drug abuse continues to be a major preventable disorder. Intervening early in life, prior to the beginning of dysfunctional drug intake, would have life-long positive health consequences, thus reducing health costs and the likelihood of early death. CENTERS CHARACTERISTICS:

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Specialized Center (P50)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDA1)
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Lloyd, Jacqueline
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University of Kentucky
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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