Understanding the National Institutes of Health’s substance use prevention research portfolio
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) supports research in response to important health topics, including substance use prevention. Understanding their grant portfolio provides valuable insights into the nature of public health problems and the responses that the field undertakes. In this study, researchers at NIH analyzed over 1,000 substance use prevention grants funded from 2012 to 2017 and made suggestions of areas for future research. They extracted several variables, including the substance targeted, type of study design, and populations studied. They found that over 2 percent of the grants they studied focused on substance use prevention. Among those, most were epidemiological studies. Alcohol and nicotine were the two most studied substances, but the amount of marijuana research increased during that period, as well. Studies of special populations such as college students and the military mainly focused on alcohol, while studies of pregnant women focused on nicotine. The paper, “Substance use prevention research funded by the NIH,” was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. It was published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.