TRAC aims to be the leading organization in providing science-based prevention, intervention and treatment to make addictive behaviors a preventable disease.
Addictive behaviors, such as problematic substance use, gambling, and uncontrollable eating, are highly common, associated with a wide array of negative consequences at a human (e.g., physical disease, mental illness), and financial level of analysis (e.g., incarceration, impaired work and educational performance), as well as represent a major, contributing factor to health disparities across the nation, including Houston, Texas. Moreover, many forms of addictive behaviors are alarmingly difficult to change, and in other instances, steadily on the rise.
Addictive behaviors tend to start early in the lifespan (e.g., adolescence or early adulthood), often are correlated with negative life circumstances (e.g., life stress), and frequently have cross-generational effects (e.g., fetal alcohol syndrome, secondhand smoke, domestic violence). Additionally, addictive behavior does not present or affect all people in the same way, making decisions as to how to assess and treat it extremely challenging.
Who we are
The Texas Research on Addiction Consortium (TRAC) at the University of Houston is a multidisciplinary team of researchers interested in the epigenetic, biochemical, neuropsychological, behavioral, social and environmental factors that impact the development and perpetuation of addiction. The team has a lifespan approach - recognizing that problems of addiction emerge for the first time during adolescence and young adulthood; that addiction may arise from early life experiences; and that maintaining addiction free is a lifelong effort. The collaborative spirit of the team and its strong local ties make it uniquely poised to translate basic research findings from the lab bench into effective intervention strategies that can be brought to Houston’s diverse community.
Who we impact
Many persons struggling with addiction lack access to evidenced-based care, and others, especially those in the lower socioeconomic strata and racial minorities, lack any practically-reasonable care options at all. Also, evidenced-based prevention programs for addictive behaviors are rare, and even when available, infrequently implemented in our schools, institutions, and businesses. Thus, despite addictive behavior being a leading source of preventable disease and disability, its impact is actively present, growing in certain instances, and will certainly remain a major healthcare priority for the United States and the world. Houston is no exception to the impact of addiction, and in fact, has some of our nation’s highest rates of use for certain substances (e.g., tobacco, crack/cocaine) and most notable instances of health disparity (e.g., low-socioeconomic, crime afflicted neighborhoods).