NIAAA/NIDA Merger News
On Friday November 16, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director, Dr. Francis Collins, announced that NIH will support a trans-NIH substance use, abuse, and addiction functional integration, enhancing NIH Institute and Center (IC) collaborations around this important scientific and public health topic. This approach is being taken in place of founding a new NIH Institute on addiction—which would have included a merger of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and addiction-related research from other NIH Institutes.
The functional integration is a collaborative framework that will draw on the past 2 years of collaboration among the NIH ICs on substance use, abuse, and addiction-related research. Already, NIAAA and NIDA have made significant progress toward integrating their intramural research programs in substance use, abuse, and addiction, including the appointment of a single Clinical Director for NIAAA and NIDA and moving toward the establishment of a joint genetics intramural research program and a common optogenetics lab. In addition, NIAAA and NIDA will have a joint council meeting each year. By pooling resources and expertise, the functional integration will identify cross-cutting areas of research and confront challenges faced by multiple ICs.
Over the past 2 years, NIH also has engaged in a serious effort to identify new opportunities in substance use, abuse, and addiction-related research and public health needs that currently are not being pursued across NIH. Exceptional feedback from stakeholders was provided through NIH’s Scientific Strategic Plan Request for Information, a public Web meeting, and additional stakeholder meetings. The resulting draft plan will be a starting point for the functional integration leadership. The NIAAA and NIDA Councils and the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) will meet on December 13 to discuss the functional integration. This is an open meeting and more information can be found at http://feedback.nih.gov/index.php/suaa/nih_suaa_integration/.