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Preventing Abuse & Treating Addiction, in Louisiana and Beyond

Alcohol and drug abuse take a tremendous toll on our society at many levels, and Louisiana is no exception, ranking among the highest in the nation for consumption and abuse of alcohol and drugs.

Approximately 10% of Louisiana residents have a diagnosable alcohol use disorder and 5% use illicit drugs. Outdated estimates from 1998 place the economic cost of alcoholism in Louisiana at $3 billion annually and the cost of illicit drug addiction at $193 billion per year nationally.

Dr. Patricia Molina and her team work together to find solutions to alcohol and drug addiction. Pictured (left to right) – Dr. Nicholas Gilpin, Dr. Patricia Molina, Dr. Liz Simon and Dr. Robert Siggins.

The LSU Health Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center of Excellence (ADACE) is working on a number of fronts to combat issues related to addiction and abuse. The mission of the ADACE  is to enhance the research capabilities of scientists, stimulate collaborative research efforts, and strengthen educational activities related to the biomedical aspects of alcohol and substance abuse.

ADACE researchers are studying the link between alcohol and stress, the intersection of pain and alcohol, and the behavioral effects of alcohol. A number of ADACE scientists are researching the biomedical consequences of alcohol abuse and HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS patients often abuse alcohol, which can worsen HIV/AIDS clinical outcomes. Researchers are examining the consequences of alcohol consumption on the progression of HIV/AIDS and associated opportunistic infections. These health care concerns are of particular relevance to Louisiana, which ranks high in both alcohol consumption and the number of HIV-infected citizens.

Our projects have a positive economic impact on Louisiana by reducing lost wages, as well as health care and mortality costs associated with alcohol and drug abuse.

Patricia Molina, MD, PhD,
Director of the ADACE

Dr. Patricia Molina, Director of the ADACE, and her staff also host a number of prevention and education programs for the community, including educational activities for all ages and research opportunities for Louisiana teenagers, young adults, and teachers. ADACE hosts programs for physicians, addiction treatment programs and the local judicial system aimed at helping addicts achieve long-term sobriety.

“We recently hosted an event for the public, “What Every Parent, Counselor, Teacher, and Healthcare Provider Should Know about Adolescent Alcohol Abuse,” which brought together national and local educational, medical and scientific experts to discuss the causes and effects of alcohol abuse in adolescents. More than 120 people attended the lectures which focused on alcohol abuse and binge drinking in males versus females; the long-term effects of adolescent alcohol abuse on the brain and body; genetic versus environmental causes of alcohol abuse; and how alcohol affects the brain,” Dr. Molina said. “The feedback we received was outstanding and we plan to continue these types of event in the future.”