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Drug Abuse Researchers Get Career Jump Start at UHNational Institute on Drug Abuse Provides $1.5 Million to Develop New Scholars

September 14, 2009 - Houston - Drug use and abuse is a national health and social policy concern.  Still, the number of researchers examining the root causes of drug abuse in various populations remains few.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has granted $1.5 million to the University of Houston Center for Drug and Social Policy Research (CDSPR) to create a program that will develop new researchers. The funds will be available over the next five years.

"What this grant does is help develop the capacity of those young investigators who are interested in pursuing careers in drug research to meet this very serious public health problem," said Avelardo Valdez, professor and director of the CDSPR.

The funds will create the Interdisciplinary Research Training Institute on Hispanic Drug Abuse. The education program has three goals: provide educational training opportunities for new researchers, implement a mentoring plan to support new researchers and create a network of professionals in the field of Hispanic drug research.

"Their research will inform those who work in drug prevention and intervention programs and policies. Understanding what drugs are being used and by whom allows us to target prevention and intervention programs for specific populations as opposed to one-size-fits-all," Valdez said.

Young scholars will be paired with mentors in their chosen fields. Those experts will come from faculty at the University of Houston and other institutions in Texas and other states. The mentors will guide the scholars for two years to help them publish their research and write research grants."

"There will be five cohorts of scholars," Valdez said. "The first group will be selected by summer 2010. They'll have training from us. They'll have guidance from their mentors. They'll meet other young researchers. This should prepare them to establish independent research careers."

The CDSPR develops and disseminates new knowledge on drug abuse and related social problems from a multidisciplinary perspective. Housed in the UH Graduate College of Social Work, faculty from a wide range of disciplines collaborate on intellectual and scientific research studies focused on understanding the social and health consequences of drug use and the development of public policies that address the problem of drug abuse.

For more information on the UH Center for Drug and Social Policy Research, visit

For more information on the UH Graduate College of Social Work, visit

For more information on the National Institute on Drug Abuse, visit.