ADAR Editor in Chief debunks common myths on substance abuse disorder

Frontiers publishing partnerships guest post

Advances in Drug and Alcohol Research (ADAR) is a hub for new discoveries in preclinical and clinical research around drug and alcohol addiction. The journal, which joined Frontiers’ publishing partnerships community in 2021, brings together scientists and clinicians from across the globe to discuss current and new challenges in drug addiction research.

Credit: Frontiers

In this guest post, ADAR Editor in Chief Dr Emmanuel Onaivi highlights and counters some common myths about substance abuse disorder. 

Substance abuse remains a global epidemic, worsening when COVID-19 lockdowns led to increased drug and alcohol consumption, and opioid overdoses. As with mental health care more widely, to address the challenges of managing and curing addiction, it is vital to translate innovative research into patient care.

Misconceptions about substance abuse disorder have a detrimental effect on patients and their social networks. It is essential to recognize this as a serious health concern which requires appropriate intervention to address underlying factors and promote recovery. Preventing and curing drug and alcohol addiction requires a similar approach to the one used for other mental health and neurological disorders, and it is important to publicly address common myths. 

Myth: prescription drugs are not addictive 

Substance abuse can encompass a wide range of substances, including illicit drugs and alcohol, but also prescription medication if there is persistent misuse that goes beyond prescribed or responsible use. Given the recent rise in the illicit use of drugs like fentanyl, ADAR is working on a special issue on progress in opioid research and we welcome submissions related to this topic. 

Myth: policies for harm reduction such as legalization enable substance abuse 

Harm reduction policies are intended to reduce the negative consequences associated with drug use. Research over many years has consistently shown them to be effective. The legalization of cannabis, for example, has little or no impact on its increased use among teens, and cannabis may even function an exit drug for individuals prone to addiction by reducing their use of more harmful substances. 

Myth: the use of cannabis is safe during pregnancy 

Public perception of cannabis use during pregnancy often diverges from the recommendations of doctors and healthcare providers, and ADAR recently published a special issue on Substance Abuse and Early Development. 

Dr Emmanuel Onaivi is a professor at the William Paterson University in New Jersey, USA. His research focuses on the molecular biology of drug abuse, having dedicated much of his research to the effect of cannabis on humans. He edited Endocannabinoids: The Brain and Body’s Marijuana and Beyond. His pioneering research on the natural cannabis compounds produced by the human body led to several scientific advances in the field. 

About Advances in Drug and Alcohol Research (ADAR) 

ADAR is the official journal of two prominent societies, the International Narcotic Research Conference (INRC) with a 56-year track record in working to solve complications from opioid use for pain relief, and the International Drug and Alcohol Research Society (IDARS). Following ADAR’s successful transition to Frontiers in 2021, the journal is currently preparing for indexation in the PMC/PubMed listing. 

Learn more about ADAR and submit your research to a special issue

About the International Drug and Alcohol Research Society (IDARS) 

As an international scientific organization, IDARS promotes and fosters the research and collaboration of scientists around the world in the area of substance abuse and addiction. Furthermore, the organization strives to integrate research to improve treatment efforts, educate in the addiction sciences, and inform the public on the results and implications of current research. Join IDARS’ Biennial meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 29 to May 03, 2024. 

About the International Narcotics Research Conference (INRC) 

INRC is an international forum for researchers to strengthen our knowledge of opioid pharmacology and function.  The society provides a forum for sharing cutting-edge and pioneering advancements related to all disciplines of opioid research. The INRC meetings are a platform for the design of evidence-based guidelines in the constructive use of opioids for pain management and for the understanding of opioid misuse and abuse. 

About Frontiers 

Frontiers is the 3rd most cited and 6th largest research publisher. Our role is to provide the world’s scientists with a rigorous and efficient publishing experience. Scientists empower society and our mission is to accelerate scientific discovery by making science open. We place the researcher at the center of everything we do and enable the research community to develop the solutions we need to live healthy lives on a healthy planet. Powered by custom-built technology, artificial intelligence, and rigorous quality standards, our research articles have been viewed more than 2.1 billion times, reflecting the power of research that is open for all.