This week, NIDA released our strategic plan for FY 2022-2026. Strategic planning is a process all NIH Institutes perform every five years, to take stock of the current state of research and set priorities that are ambitious but achievable to advance an Institute’s particular mission.
Drug addiction and overdose deaths are among the most pressing health crises of our times. NIDA’s new plan reflects our commitment to advancing all aspects of addiction science in the service of improving public health. It corrals the breadth of research we support—from basic neuroscience and pharmacology to epidemiology and prevention to therapeutics development and implementation, to research on the delivery of addiction treatment and other services—while remaining flexible and responsive to scientific innovations as well as to the rapidly shifting drug use and addiction landscape. Our plan for the next five years also prioritizes research that is informed by people with lived experience of addiction in themselves or their families, to best meet the needs of those most directly impacted by our science.
NIDA’s 2022-2026 Strategic Plan has five priority scientific areas:
- Understand Drugs, the Brain, and Behavior
- Develop and Test Novel Prevention, Treatment, Harm Reduction, and Recovery Support Strategies
- Accelerate Research on the Intersection of Substance Use, HIV, and Related Comorbidities
- Improve the Implementation of Evidence-Based Strategies in Real-World Settings
- Translate Research into Innovative Health Applications
Within each Priority Scientific Area, goals reflect targeted areas of emphasis to speed progress toward achieving our mission, as well as key focus areas that reflect specific research opportunities and other initiatives NIDA will undertake. Additionally, the plan describes seven cross-cutting themes that apply across the five priority areas:
- Train the Next Generation of Scientists
- Identify and Develop Approaches to Reduce Stigma
- Understand Sex, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Differences
- Identify and Develop Approaches to Reduce Health Disparities
- Understand Interactions Between Substance Use, HIV, and other Comorbidities
- Leverage Data Science and Analytics to Understand Real-World Complexity
- Develop Personalized Interventions Informed by People with Lived Experience
The new strategic plan, which was developed with input from NIDA’s advisory council and the public, helps ensure that NIDA will continue to advance all domains of addiction science and disseminate new knowledge in ways that are measurable and that will have the greatest impact on people’s lives. The rapidly shifting drug landscape and the devastation of the drug overdose epidemic have enhanced public interest and drawn greater investment in our science, and it is our responsibility to help direct that investment in the most effective, equitable, and wise manner to prevent and treat drug addiction and its consequences.
NIDA’s FY 2022-2026 Strategic Plan is a living document and a vital roadmap for our Institute and our field, and I thank all the NIDA staff and leadership who contributed to crafting it.