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As reported under "breaking news" last week, the federal panel looking at a merger between the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has recommended dissolving both institutes and creating a new institute on addictions (see ADAW, Sept. 20). This week we will cover the details of the recommendation, made by the Substance Use, Abuse, and Addiction (SUAA) Working Group to the Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB), established to look at reorganizing the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
"Merger" is a misnomer, because the new institute will not just be a sum of the NIDA and NIAAA portfolios. Some current NIDA and NIAAA grantees may have to go to other institutes to continue their research. And some researchers funded by other institutes--not NIDA or NIAAA--may find themselves writing grants for the new addictions institute.
Under the recommendation, "all relevant addiction research portfolios" from NIDA and NIAAA and other NIH institutes would be integrated into the new addictions institute. "Funding for existing research should not be supplanted or reduced, but rather, relocated so that addiction-related programs are funded out of the addiction institute to achieve better integration and synergy across substance-and behavior-addiction research fields."
The reference to "behavior-addiction" is telling, because it signals that research into food, gambling, and other …