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The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center (ADARC) conducts multidisciplinary research on the behavioral and biological aspects of substance abuse. This approach is based on the premise that substance abuse reflects a complex interaction between the individual, the abused drugs and society. One goal of this research program is to improve understanding of the multiple determinants of drug abuse and alcoholism and to develop more effective treatment and prevention programs. A second goal is to evaluate the behavioral and biological consequences of substance abuse and dependence in clinical studies, and in preclinical models of drug abuse. A third goal is to train young scientists in research on the determinants, consequences and treatment of substance abuse in parallel clinical and preclinical studies.

The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center was founded by Jack H. Mendelson, M.D. and Nancy K. Mello, Ph.D. in 1974. The Center has been continuously funded by competitive research grants and contracts from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as by private donors. Over the past six years, NIH funds awarded to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center have averaged 23.6 percent (range 15-33 percent) of all research revenues awarded to the McLean Hospital.

The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center consists of four major laboratories, each containing several research programs:

Diagram of ADARC's Multidisciplinary Work

Diagram of ADARC's Multidisciplinary Work (click to enlarge)

An important feature of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center is that all of its component laboratories are located in the same building to facilitate communication and interaction between the scientists and postdoctoral trainees. Another advantage of the Center's organizational structure is that parallel clinical and preclinical studies can be conducted in several disciplines. The multidisciplinary research areas currently being investigated by ADARC scientists are summarized in the diagram at the right.


ADARC scientists have received a number of national and international awards for their research. These awards include the Jellinek Memorial Award for Research on Alcoholism, the Distinguished Research Award from the Research Society on Alcoholism, the Betty Ford Award from AMERSA, the Founders Award from AAPAA, the Joseph Cochin Young Investigator Award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from United States President William J. Clinton, and the Alfred Pope Young Investigator Award from the McLean Hospital.