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Substance Use Disorders and Addiction

The impact of addiction ripples beyond the individualdamaging relationships, derailing dreams, and splintering entire communities. Breaking the cycle will require expertise and ingenuity, and all of the resources behind UTHealth. 

Addiction fractures the bonds that glue society together. Families suffer because of destructive behavior, diminished health, and problems at home or work. Crime increases and contributes to our overcrowded public institutions, and the economy suffers from lost productivity.

Substance Use Disorders and Addiction

People with substance use disorders face barriers to accessing care, including negative stereotypes, stigma, and social exclusion. And when they do receive treatment, the complexity of the condition may lead to ineffective treatments that plunge individuals back into the cycle. Now, early evidence suggests that stress and social isolation caused by COVID-19 may lead to or worsen substance use disorders. Furthermore, this nationwide problem often co-occurs with other behavioral disorders.

This is what drives the extraordinary many faces of UTHealth to end the vicious cycle of addiction.

Our experts are pushing the frontiers of behavioral neuroscience and repairing shattered lives. They are creating one of the nation’s few addiction research centers able to transform discoveries into evidence-based treatments. They are confronting the opioid crisis by making treatments more accessible and effective. They are serving our communities through innovative clinics that treat drug addiction and other underlying behavioral health conditions.

Philanthropy plays a critical role in helping UTHealth better understand the causes of and effective treatments for substance use disorders. Your support of Many Faces. One Mission. can help turn the tide against substance use disorder and addiction, bringing healing and hope to our communities.

  • Often stigmatized, this growing crisis plagues Houston—and all of Texas. With the depth and breadth of our expertise, we can develop better treatments for addiction and make care more accessible for those in our communities and beyond.

    Joy M. Schmitz, PhD

    Louis A. Faillace, MD, Chair in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    Professor, Faillace Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    Director, Center for Neurobehavioral Research on Addiction

    McGovern Medical School at UTHealth

  • The Center for Neurobehavioral Research on Addiction

    With a multidisciplinary team of researchers and health practitioners, the center is a hub of expertise and discovery on substance use and addiction that develops evidence-based treatments and serves the community through an outpatient clinic. It is one of the nation’s few coordinated addiction research centers with the ability to pursue translational research ranging from genetics to clinical trials. This work includes mapping the biological mechanisms that contribute to addiction; identifying key mechanistic processes in the development of addiction treatments; and evaluating treatment efficacy using innovative clinical trial designs and statistical methods.

  • Houston Emergency Opioid Engagement System (HEROES) 

    This joint initiative between McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics aims to remove the barriers that prevent people from receiving help by bringing help to them. Composed of physicians, psychiatrists, social workers, drug counselors, peer recovery coaches, and first responders, HEROES helps people with opioid use disorder across Southeast Texas engage in treatment to improve their chances of long-term recovery.