We need a paradigm shift in addiction research!

October 2, 2015

Tell NIH to implement a phase out plan for animal addiction studies.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced the establishment of a landmark study to investigate the effects of substance abuse on the adolescent brain.

Using only human subjects and non-invasive research methods, the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study will follow 10,000 children, beginning at ages 9 to 10, to track their exposure to a variety to substances including nicotine, marijuana and alcohol. As they follow this population, scientists will examine the effect of these substances on the brain’s development and function.


Image Credit: National Institutes of Health

The ABCD study will be administered through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a division of NIH, through 13 grants awarded to research institutions across the U.S.

Modern, non-invasive research methods have proven invaluable to demonstrating the effects of substances on the human brain. For example, using magnetic resonance imaging scientists uncovered a decline in neocortical brain volume in teens who engaged in heavy drinking.

But despite this and other advances in studying human substance abuse, tens of millions of dollars continue to be poured into animal experiments, purportedly to study the problem of human addiction.

Please join CAARE in telling NIH to support only human-relevant experiments.

Monkeys, rats and mice are used in drug studies that pump substances into their bodies through implanted catheters and force them to go through addiction, withdrawal, extensive behavioral tasks, and death.


Last year NIDA granted $12 million to the University of Chicago to establish a national center for the purpose of increasing research into the genetics of drug abuse in rats.

Calling it a “rat revival” because it uses genetically manipulated rats in place of mice, the five year study will addict rats to cocaine, nicotine, methamphetamines, oxycodone and other drugs. Researchers will experiment on 5,000 animals before killing them for tissue samples.


Animal addiction research flies in the face of the latest technologies which allow researchers to directly and non-invasively study the human brain, including Genome Wide Associated Studies, which have been used extensively to determine genetic influences on human conditions.

It goes against the underpinnings of precision medicine, a growing field that demonstrates how the best drugs and treatments are based on each individual’s genetic makeup.

NIDA has just announced that it is reorganizing to increase efficiency, including a greater focus on clinical neuroscience.

Join CAARE in contacting NIH and NIDA to ask that the reorganization effort include a stated goal and plan to move away from animal experiments and shift to human-based research.


Please speak up to let NIH know that inflicting suffering on thousands of animals in drug studies is unscientific, inhumane and unjustifiable.

Citizens for Alternatives to Animal Research (CAARE), is working to reduce animal suffering by disseminating information about the power and progress of research without animals.  Please donate to support CAARE’s work.

Showing 1 reaction

  • Caterina Caligiuri
    posted about this on Facebook 2015-10-02 14:46:33 -0400
    We need a paradigm shift in addiction research!