Grant funds addiction studies

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Jackson Laboratory recently received $255,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support research on substance use disorder. The funding has been awarded through DHHS’ National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“The important work being done at The Jackson Laboratory is making great strides to conquer a disease that affects far too many families in Maine and across the country,” said Senators Susan Collins and Angus King in a joint statement. “We welcome this continued funding to help support JAX’s efforts to understand, prevent, and treat substance use disorders.”

“Time is of the essence with addiction, and support like this is crucial to advancing much-needed research,” said LuAnn Ballesteros, the laboratory’s vice president of external and government affairs.“We’re very grateful for the support of Senators Collins and King and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This is an important step in propelling our work forward to help Mainers, and people around the world impacted by addiction.”

Researchers at the laboratory are leading efforts to advance understanding of the genetic factors involved in individuals’ vulnerability to substance use disorders. They use mouse models to investigate the genetics underlying the differences in addictive behaviors.

Their work has identified genetic variants associated with addiction susceptibilities, providing vital insight into the biological basis for why some humans are at high risk for addiction.

In 2017, overdoses claimed the life of more than one Mainer per day, making this one of the top causes of death in the state. Nationally, there were more than 63,600 drug overdose deaths in 2016.

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