New Duke center will study causes of teen substance abuse

Jun. 25, 2013 @ 05:49 PM

The National Institute on Drug Abuse gave a five-year, $6.7 million grant to fund the new Duke University Center for the Study of Adolescent Risk and Resilience, which will focus on the biology and behavior behind teen drinking and drug use, according to a Duke news release.

Nearly half of U.S. students have used an illicit drug by the 12th grade, and each year alcohol-related incidents kill about 5,000 children and teens and send nearly 200,000 to the emergency room, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The new center will be part of Duke’s Center for Child and Family Policy. Rick Hoyle, a Duke professor of psychology and neuroscience and associate director of the family policy center, will lead the effort.

“Marijuana and alcohol use are not going down, so clearly we need new data on what causes people to use,” Hoyle said in a statement. “That will give us clues on how to intervene in ways that encourage them not to use.”

The new center will emphasize the relationship between self-regulation and substance use during high school, as well as use brain imaging data to enhance existing research.

The new center is planning a guest speaker series starting in the spring of 2014 and a conference on the value of self-regulation in adolescence, according to the release. The center also plans to offer competitive grants for Duke faculty.