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NIDA Grants Will Fill Research Gaps on Stress and Drug Use

For Release October 1, 2003

10 Grants Total $7.6 Million over 5 Years

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, today announced it has awarded 10 grants to study the relationship between chronic stress, repeated stressors, and brain mechanisms that affect drug-use behaviors. The grants total $7.6 million over a period of 5 years.

"Stress can alter a person's physiology and contribute to the development of such illnesses as hypertension, diabetes, and addiction," says Dr. Nora D. Volkow, NIDA Director. "Stress also is an exceptionally powerful trigger for relapse in drug abusers, even after long periods of abstinence. The new grants we have awarded can extend our knowledge about the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the interaction between stress, drug abuse, and the behavioral changes that occur in the different phases of the addiction process."

The stress response is the body's attempt to protect itself from emotional or physical pressure, or danger. It is controlled by a highly complex integrated network that involves the central nervous system, the adrenal system, the immune system, and the cardiovascular system. Prolonged reactions to stress could include a response to a major life event, such as death, divorce, or losing a job; physical trauma, such as an accident or assault; or extended exposure to tense work or home situations. Some people also experience post-traumatic stress disorder, an anxiety disorder that can develop following exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal.

NIDA has an extensive research portfolio that encompasses the role stress can play in the initiation of drug use and in relapse to drug use. But some of these newly funded studies can enhance the field by bringing in scientists whose background research on stress and neurobiology has not yet addressed issues related to drug abuse. "We expect the cross-translational effect of this practice will be to bring new and fresh perspectives to the study of stress and its relation to drug abuse and addiction," says Dr. Volkow.

The grantees are:

  • Charles Chavkin, University of Washington, Seattle, $1,351,500.00 over 5 years
    Opioid Mediation of Stress-Potentiated Cocaine Response.
    DA 16898-01
  • Mary F. Dallman, University of California (San Francisco), $1,198,868.00 over 4 years
    Chronic Stress Intensifies Incentive Relativity.
  • Bryan K. Yamamoto, Boston University School of Medicine, $1,283,554.00 over 4 years
    Chronic Stress and MDMA Neurotoxicity.
    DA 16866-01
  • Kathryn A. Cunningham, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, $363,459.00 over 3 years.
    Targeted Proteomics of Stress and Addiction.
    DA 16905-01
  • Cecilia J. Hilliard, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, $787,500.00 over 3 years
    Brain Endocannabinoids and Chronic Stress.
    DA 16967-01
  • David M. Lyons, Stanford University, Stanford, California, $735,588.00 over 3 years
    Early Chronic Stress and Prefrontal Development.
    DA 16902-01
  • Paul E. Gold, University of Illinois (Champaign), $1,178,960.00 over 4 years
    Stress Effects on the Balance Between Memory Systems.
    DA 16951-01
  • Leslie Matuszewich, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, $144,325.00 over 2 years
    Impact of Stress on Cocaine Withdrawal Behaviors.
    DA 16947-01
  • Barry L. Jacobs, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, $158,000.00 over 2 years
    Marijuana and Cytokine Actions on Rat Brain Mitogenesis.
    DA 16976-01
  • Theodore C. Friedman, Charles R. Drew University School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California, $427,500.00 over 3 years
    Chronic Nicotine's Activation of the HPA Axis.
    DA 16867-01

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and further information on NIDA research can be found on the NIDA web site at

For more information about any item in this Release:

  • Contact: Blair Gately

    Contacto en Español:
    Sara Rosario

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