Substance Abuse Epidemiology

The Substance Abuse Epidemiology Training Program (SAETP) began in 2012 with the objectives of training promising individuals from different disciplines to conceptualize, plan, and conduct epidemiologic research on the causes, consequences and use of treatment for substance use and substance use disorders (SUD). SAETP has a multi-level, cells-to-society, lifecourse perspective. SAETP accomplishes its objective by providing well-qualified junior scientists with a strong foundation in relevant substantive and methodological areas that will prepare them for successful careers and leadership in substance abuse epidemiology. SAETP is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Due to SAETP’s success, it has been enlarged by NIDA twice since it began.

Substance use, substance use disorders (SUD), and their associated disability, comorbidity and mortality are major public health burdens that take a huge toll on individuals and on society. Since the beginning of the present century, the prevalence of substance use, SUDs and their consequences have increased markedly. This includes opioid overdoses, transitions from opioid use to heroin and use of marijuana and related consequences. Over the same period, attitudes, prescribing practices, and many laws have changed, and these all continue to change. Investigating the relationship of these large-scale trends to individual risk and risk factors is key to informing policymakers, the public, and clinicians, as is understanding why many of those in need of treatment do not receive it, and the disparities that exist in all these areas among disadvantaged minority populations.