Alcohol and drug abuse among military personnel and veterans are creating strong levels of concern among members of Congress and the Pentagon. Impacts include reduced levels of readiness, increased crime, mental health problems and suicides. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other psychological health problems are strongly linked to alcohol and substance use disorders (ASUDs). If ASUDs are not addressed in military populations facing combat stress, PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and related conditions, the current effort toward restoring overall psychological health will be compromised. New potential therapeutic targets and candidate medications can be "translated" from basic discovery using an optimized research structure. In addition, existing medications can be repositioned for use in treating ASUDs, significantly accelerating the timeline to delivery of new therapies.
The Institute for Molecular Neuroscience (IMN) program seeks to establish a network of multidisciplinary, translational research centers with the explicit goal of accelerating the delivery of new or improved treatments for ASUDS. Using FY10 funds, the IMN conducted a competitive, peer-reviewed selection process to identify, select and fund Proof-of-Principle (PoP) awards at several leading research institutions. PoP awards typically are one year pilot projects which seek to generate data in support of a specific treatment-oriented hypothesis.