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Addiction, the Brain, and Evidence-Based Treatment

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2012
10 pages
This video and accompanying transcript of a presentation at the NIJ Research for the Real World Seminar features a discussion by Redonna Chandler that highlights the neurobiology of addiction and efforts in drug abuse treatment that are currently underway at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
Drug addiction is portrayed as primarily a brain disease that produces certain feelings and behaviors that often have adverse consequences for the drug user and those who depend on the user for rational and responsible behaviors. The hallmark of addictive disorders is the compulsive and continued use of drugs even in the face of associated adverse consequences. The presentation explains how the brain is altered and changed by repeated exposure to certain drugs, which in turn leads to the users' inability to stop using even though they may want to stop for their own benefit and the benefit of others. The presentation then turns to treatment, with attention to how the criminal justice system manages drug abusers. The presenter supports the use of drug courts, which emphasize intensive supervision in a monitored treatment regimen that matches a person's needs. The presentation concludes with a discussion of the importance of medication-assisted treatment, which has been effective in reducing addiction to a number of substances, including alcohol and opiates.

Date Published: March 1, 2012