Addiction is a Growing Epidemic

Scripps Research is a world leader in the biomedical science of alcoholism, addiction and the brain.

Our neuroscientists are mapping the brain and investigating its complex mechanisms.

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By understanding the healthy brain, our scientists are learning to free it from addiction.

Addiction is a disease of the nervous system and repeated exposure to drugs or alcohol actually “rewires” the brain. Using cutting-edge technologies and scientific approaches, Scripps Research neuroscientists are working to understand both the healthy brain and the addicted brain at a molecular level. Because addiction is multifaceted, we are tackling it with multiple scientific approaches.

Our researchers are deciphering the physiological changes that drive excessive drinking and drug use and create vulnerability to relapse. We are finding effective ways to modulate the neurological effects of alcohol and drug abuse, thus minimizing the risk of overdose or death. And we are discovering how to help normalize the brain during recovery from alcoholism and addiction, thereby supporting patients on their return to wellness.

Already, we have developed promising experimental therapies for addiction. These therapeutic candidates include chemical vaccines to prevent overdoses from dangerous opioids, therapies designed to prevent addictive cravings during recovery and new pain-relieving compounds that avoid the life-threatening side effects of opioid drugs. By shining light on the underpinnings of addiction, we are discovering a brighter future for individuals and families affected by these disorders.

Addiction Feature

Our Novel Drugs Remedy Addiction

  • Reducing Overdose Risk

    A Scripps Research drug controls pain without suppressing respiration, a key factor in overdose deaths. It’s undergoing testing.

  • Help for Smokers

    To create a smoking-cessation medicine, we engineered an enzyme to break down nicotine before it reaches the brain.

  • Preventing Relapse

    A drug that erases drug-related memories helps prevent relapse in those overcoming addiction. It’s headed for clinical trials.

  • From Labs to Patients

    Our Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction combines laboratory research with clinical studies to deliver help to patients.

We are urgently seeking scientific solutions for the 21 million Americans—and billions of people worldwide—who struggle with substance addiction.

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