Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

  • Jennifer PellowskiEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_659-2

Basic Information

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) is part of the National Institutes of Health and focuses on research associated with the causes, treatment, and prevention of alcoholism. NIAAA became the leading federal agency to address alcoholism as a public health problem after the passage of the Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Act of 1970. Also referred to as the Hughes Act of 1970, this legislation established NIAAA as part of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Since its conception, NIAAA has been at the forefront of alcohol-related research starting with its investigation of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) at a time when many scientists and physicians doubted its existence. In 1977, it held the first national FASD research conference, which highlighted epidemiological and clinical research and led to the issue of the first FASD government health advisory. Since then, their research has expanded to include the genetics of alcoholism, benefits of alcohol consumption, neurological examinations of the impact of alcohol, and improving health care and treatment of those that suffer from alcohol abuse and alcoholism as well as other topics.

It conducts and funds internal and external research studies. NIAAA focuses on multidisciplinary efforts including epigenetics, neuroscience, public health, epidemiology, genetics, and public policy. It also acts to relay information to clinicians, patients, policymakers, and the general public in an accessible manner. Notable projects include Project MATCH and Project COMBINE, which have developed new ways of approaching treatment and therapy for those suffering from alcoholism. Additional studies have also identified targeted populations, specifically pregnant women and youth, and subsequently focused research efforts to highlight specific needs of these populations to increase prevention. In addition to internal research, NIAAA also provides financial and other forms of support to researchers through requests for applications (RFAs) and program announcements (PAs) as well as through other small grants.

In conjunction with the goal of conducting and supporting research, the NIAAA also works to disseminate this newly found information including providing information to the general public through pamphlets and brochures as well as educational training programs. NIAAA also sponsors several public health programs that range in topics and targeted populations from pregnant women to youth and young adults.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

5635 Fishers Lane, MSC 9304

Bethesda, MD 20892-9304

URL: http://www.niaaa.nih.gov

Major Impact on the Field

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is the largest funder of research concerning alcoholism and alcohol-related problems in the United States. It is a keystone of alcohol abuse and alcoholism research and provides leadership in the dissemination of information for clinicians, patients, and the general public. The NIAAA acts to bridge the gap between research and the community at large through educational programs and changes in public policy.


References and Further Readings

  1. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2011). About NIAAA. Retrieved 14 Feb 2011, from National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/AboutNIAAA/Pages/default.aspx.
  2. National Institutes of Health Office of the Director. (1998). National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Important events in NIAAA history. Retrieved 14 Feb 2011, from NIH Almanac 1998: http://www.nih.gov/about/almanac/archive/1998/organization/niaaa/history.html.
  3. Thomas, J. D., Warren, K. R., & Hewitt, B. G. (2010). Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: From research to policy. Alcohol Research and Health, 33, 118–126.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Warren, K. R., & Hewitt, B. G. (2010). NIAAA: Advancing alcohol research for 40 years. Alcohol Research and Health, 33, 5–17.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Behavioral and Social SciencesBrown University School of Public HealthProvidenceUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Steven A. Safren
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA