Substance abuse

Substance abuse has come to refer to the overindulgence in and dependence of a drug or other chemical leading to effects that are detrimental to the individual's physical and mental health, or the welfare of others. The disorder is characterized by a pattern of continued pathological use of a medication, non-medically indicated drug or toxin, that results in repeated adverse social consequences related to drug use, such as failure to meet work, family, or school obligations, interpersonal conflicts, or legal problems. There are on-going debates as to the exact distinctions between substance abuse and substance dependence, but current practice standard distinguishes between the two by defining substance dependence in terms of physiological and behavioral symptoms of substance use, and substance abuse in terms of the social consequences of substance use. Substance abuse may lead to addiction or substance dependence. Medically, physiologic dependence requires the development of tolerance leading to withdrawal symptoms. Both abuse and dependence are distinct from addiction which involves a compulsion to continue using the substance despite the negative consequences, and may or may not involve chemical dependency. Dependence almost always implies abuse, but abuse frequently occurs without dependence, particularly when an individual first begins to abuse a substance. Dependence involves physiological processes while substance abuse reflects a complex interaction between the individual, the abused substance and society.

Progress in the Management of Opiate Use Disorders

Psychiatry Grand Rounds


Progress in the Management of Opiate Use Disorders

Karen A Miotto, MD

Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA


NEW--Podcast Preview available on the website,


Event detail
12 Jan 2010 - 11:00 - 12:30


Training Program in Addiction Health Services

The UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs (ISAP) offers training to predoctoral and postdoctoral PHD and MD fellows.  The two-year research training program, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research  Training Grant (T32 DAO7272-21), combines a core research methodology curriculum with hands-on training opportunities in a diverse group of research and clinical settings.  Training is organized to address core issues and methodology within a health services research context.

The ISAP training program exposes trainees to a broad variety of drug abuse research studies and settings and allows trainees to select an area of focus for research that is supported by faculty mentoring.  The program provides access to varied research environments; training in diverse research methods, both qualitative and quantitative; strong training in statistical applications, including longitudinal modeling; and access to leading researchers in substance abuse treatment and related areas at UCLA and the surrounding Los Angeles community.  The training program funds fellowships for two predoctoral and three postdoctoral trainees each year.

Eligible candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.  Postdoctoral trainees must have an MD or PhD at the time of admission; predoctoral trainees must be a current graduate student at UCLA working in public health, social welfare, psychology, anthropology, sociology, criminology, or a related field.  Stipend levels are commensurate with National Institutes of Health NRSA awards.  In addition, all trainees receive funds for travel and research project supplies; postdocs also receive health benefits and predocs receive partial support for tuition.

To apply, send a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and two letters of reference.  Graduate students, in addition to the above, please send a copy of your transcripts.  Applications will be accepted until positions are filled.

Executive Committee:  Christen E. Grella (Director), David Farabee, Yih-Ing Hser, Debra A. Murphy. 

For more information, contact Kira Jeter at; phone: 310-267-5417.

Center for Addictive Behaviors

Our mission is to discover fundamental mechanisms that link addictive disorders (drug abuse and smoking) and their behaviors with neurochemical phenotype and genotype in healthy individuals and in those who suffer from neuropsychiatric diseases. The Center’s work focuses along 2 major lines:

  • Research on the biological basis of addictive disorders
  • Development of new probes for noninvasive imaging, including methods to visualize gene expression.

Spread among the West Los Angeles Veteran’s Administration, the UCLA Semel Institute & Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital, and the Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, the Center for Addictive Behaviors (CAB), utilizes cutting-edge noninvasive in vivo imaging techniques in its research. With 2 separate cyclotrons, a positron emission tomograph (PET) and microPET scanner, and a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner at its disposal, our group remains at the forefront of drug addiction behavioral research.

In addition to our research, the center delivers a variety of courses in drug addiction and abuse, including training in transaltional research on drug abuse.

Edythe London, Ph.D.
Aim to discover fundamental mechanisms that link addictive disorders and their behaviors with neurochemical phenotype and genotype i

UCLA Completes Six-Year Evaluation of California's Proposition 36, Recommends Program Improvements and Addresses Funding Issues

This is the final report of a six-year independent, statewide evaluation of the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act (SACPA), also known as Proposition 36, which was passed by California voters

The 'Model Minority' Myth

The Asian American community, long stereotyped as the overachieving model minority, in truth struggles with the same problems of substance abuse and addictive behavior as other populations.