Substance Use Disorder

Substance Use Research Priority Area

Visit our site for collaborating faculty, events, resources, and job opportunities. 

The Substance Use Priority Research Area (SUPRA) mission is to prevent and reduce the burdens of substance use disorders (SUDs) through conducting and translating multidisciplinary and innovative research to inform clinical services, training, public health practice and policy. UK has a vibrant substance use community of 140+ faculty members representing 11 colleges and funding of nearly $200 million in awards over last six years from NIDA, NIAAA, NIAID, NCI, FDA, PCORI, SAMHSA, CDC, the State of Kentucky, pharmaceutical and foundation support. Our breadth of research spans drug discovery, preclinical and human behavioral pharmacology, clinical trial research, etiology and biopsychosocial correlates, drug overdose prevention and surveillance, non-opioid analgesics, pregnancy and postpartum SUD, community-based research and epidemiology, policy interventions, assessment of state level treatment efforts, and health services research.




Local Relevance

  • Kentucky ranks 5th in overdose deaths.

Existing Areas of Strength

  • By External Funding 
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  • By Research Scholarship (SciVal by Elsevier, 2012-2018)
    • 1,974 articles, books and other publications
    • 19,481 citations
    • 9.9 citations/publication
    • 1.40 field-weighted citations
    • 42% of publications in top-tier journals

Research Sustainability

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Disciplinary Research Diversity

  • 41 patents
  • approximately 110 PIs leading substance abuse-related projects

current projects

Colleges, Centers & Departments Involved 



  • Short-term

    • Cohesive identity for integration, interaction, synergy and outreach 

    • Annual Substance Use Research Day

    • Web page

    • Targeted recruitment of 5-6 faculty 

    • HEAL

    • CCTS SUD optional function and D3 optional function

    • Local NIDA expansion

    • Pilot grants

    • NIAAA T32

  • Long-term
    • Increase overall funding stature at UK

    • Formal UK institute/center 

    • Substantive decrease in SUD-associated public health burden (e.g., decrease in opioid overdose). 


How to Become a Member


Sharon Walsh, Director, Center on Drug and Alcohol Research,