One outcome of the flood of attention to the opioid crisis is that it is starting to sway the perception of addiction towards the concept it is a disease, suffered by patients, rather than a behavior, exhibited by individuals who make choices. NIH’s NIDA sees that as extra motivation to push translational science, and has set a goal to discover 15 new drug targets over a year.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is launching the Step Up for Substance Use Disorders initiative, the latest of a series of mechanisms it has applied to translate addiction research.
The initiative aims to de-risk academic projects and move them towards clinical development in a step-by-step fashion by providing incremental funding for key experiments that would either advance or kill the programs.
NIDA’s focus on translation is a deviation from the standard NIH model, but director Nora Volkow is breaking from the mold because translation is where government funding is needed the most.