Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is of major public heath importance with an estimated cost to the United States of over $600 billion dollars annually in health care costs, crime, and lost productivity. Despite its devastating impact, there are still limited treatments available. State-of-the-art basic and translational studies at Mount Sinai are providing novel neuropathophysiological insights to enhance the development of new treatments to prevent and better treat addiction disorders.

Genetic and Epigenetic Basis of Drug Addiction

Addiction disorders are complex illnesses that are strongly influenced by individual genetics and environmental factors. Depending on the drug (licit and illicit), approximately 30-80% of the addiction risk is known to be heritable. There is also a significant gene x environment interaction leading to epigenetic disturbances through alterations in chromatin structure within reward regions of brain that control drug addiction vulnerability and the course of the disorder. Mount Sinai scientists are leading the field in characterizing genetic and epigenetic mechanisms associated with addiction disorders. These studies, conducted in human subjects and in animal models, hold great promise for expanded knowledge into the neurobiological underpinnings of addiction.

Scientist Involved: Alison Goate, Lakshmi A. Devi, Yasmin L. Hurd, Paul Kenny, Eric J. Nestler, Scott J. Russo, Anne Schaefer, Venetia Zachariou

Neural Circuit Basis of Drug Addiction

Revolutionizing the current insights into addiction is dependent on identifying neural circuits in the brain directly linked to specific addiction phenotypes, some of which are shared with comorbid psychiatric illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia. Mount Sinai scientists have been pioneers in using cutting edge approaches for in vivo circuit mapping including optogenetics, chemogenetics, and brain imaging of addiction-related disorders.

Scientist Involved: Rita Goldstein, Ming-Hu Han, Yasmin L. Hurd, Iliyan Ivanov, Nelly Alia-Klein, Eric J. Nestler, Scott J. Russo, Paul Slesinger

New Treatments for Drug Addiction

The strong interaction between preclinical, translational, and clinical scientists at Mount Sinai enhances the translation of findings in animal models and the human laboratory into clinical. The Mount Sinai Health System is now working with a committed team of doctors and other health care providers to promote the discovery of new diagnostic and treatment approaches.

Scientist Involved: Rita Goldstein, Abigail Herron, Yasmin L. Hurd, Iliyan Ivanov, Don Des Jarlais, Charles Perkel, Richard N. Rosenthal, Stanley Yancovitz

Contact Us

Yasmin Hurd, PhD
Phone: 212-824-9313
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Hess Center for Science and Medicine
1470 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10029

Paul Slesinger, PhD
Phone: 212-659-5993
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1425 Madison Avenue
Room 9-20C
New York, NY 10029

Schedule an Appointment

Patti Juliana, PhD
Administrative Director
Phone: 212-256-2607
Fax: 212-256-3367
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Mount Sinai Beth Israel
BIMC Addiction Treatment Services
160 Water Street
24th floor
New York, NY 10038

Paul Rinaldi, PhD
Acting Director
Phone: 212-523-6491
Fax: 212-523-8057
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Addiction Institute of New York
1000 Tenth Avenue
Suite 8C-02
New York, NY 10019