Research Topic

Poly-drug Abuse - the Problem with Addiction Research That's Right in Front of Us

About this Research Topic

The considerable impact of addiction has been highly visible in the news. What isn't apparent from the big headlines is that a large percentage of addicts are not single drug users but abuse and are dependent on multiple drugs. As of 2017, over 2.3 million people age 12 and older (nearly 1%) in the U.S. were ...

The considerable impact of addiction has been highly visible in the news. What isn't apparent from the big headlines is that a large percentage of addicts are not single drug users but abuse and are dependent on multiple drugs. As of 2017, over 2.3 million people age 12 and older (nearly 1%) in the U.S. were considered to meet the criteria for having both an Alcohol Use Disorder and a Substance Use Disorder. That is roughly equivalent to the rates of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine substance use disorders combined (e.g., people who only abuse one of those substances). Moreover, over 80% of adults with a diagnosable alcohol use disorder in the U.S. also use nicotine products, and rates of nicotine co-use soar to as high as 95% in methamphetamine addicts. This pattern of poly-drug abuse and dependence is observed across different classes of drugs and it's not uncommon for users to abuse multiple classes. Even so, studying addiction has generally focused on individual drugs of abuse.

The purpose of this Research Topic is to highlight the reality of poly-drug abuse as it helps frame the way that we think about and study addiction. We are seeking high-quality original preclinical and clinical submissions that focus on the use of multiple substances. Studies assessing potential therapeutics (novel pharmacotherapies, innovative treatment strategies, multi-model combined therapies) are desirable and highly relevant, even though submissions do not necessarily have to be treatment-focused. Preclinical submissions focused on mechanism (i.e., target receptors, convergent pathways, circuitry models, viral studies, knockout models, etc…) and similar clinical studies (imaging studies, genetic screening and others that are focused on the underlying mechanism) are more than welcome. Authors should consider co-abuse and poly-drug use to be broadly defined as problematic or consistent use of two or more substances, but does not need to meet the criteria for dependence on both substances. We will also consider submissions focused on the social and socioeconomic impact of poly-drug abuse. Our goal is to assemble a comprehensive and well-rounded picture of poly-drug abuse in order to shine a brighter light on this important and complicated issue.


Keywords: co-abuse, addiction, treatment, neurobiology, behavior


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

10 June 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

10 June 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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