Addiction Research

Discover the latest in addiction research, from the neuroscience of substance use disorders to evidence-based treatment practices. Reports, updates, case studies and white papers are available to you at Hazelden Betty Ford’s Butler Center for Research.
Man Writing paper

Why do people become addicted to alcohol and other drugs? How effective is addiction treatment? What makes certain substances so addictive? The Butler Center for Research at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation investigates these and other questions and publishes its scientific findings in a variety of alcohol and drug addiction research papers and reports. Research topics include:

  • Evidence-based treatment practices
  • Addiction treatment outcomes
  • Addiction, psychiatry and the brain
  • Addictive substances such as prescription opioids and heroin
  • Substance abuse in youth/teens, older adults and other demographic groups such as health care or legal professionals

These research queries and findings are presented in the form of updates, white papers and case studies. In addition, the Butler Center for Research collaborates with the Recovery Advocacy team to study special-focus addiction research topics, summarized in monthly Emerging Drug Trends reports. Altogether, these studies provide the latest in addiction research for anyone interested in learning more about the neuroscience of addiction and how addiction affects individuals, families and society in general. The research also helps clinicians and health care professionals further understand, diagnose and treat drug and alcohol addiction. Learn more about each of the Butler Center's addiction research studies below.

Research Updates

Written by Butler Center for Research staff, our one-page, topic-specific summaries discuss current research on topics of interest within the drug abuse and addiction treatment field.

View our most recent updates, or view the archive at the bottom of the page.

Emerging Drug Trends Report and National Surveys

Shedding New Light on America’s No. 1 Health Problem

In collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Public Health and with support from the Butler Center for Research, the Recovery Advocacy team routinely issues research reports on emerging drug trends in America. Recovery Advocacy also commissions national surveys on attitudes, behaviors and perspectives related to substance use. From binge drinking and excessive alcohol use on college campuses, to marijuana potency concerns in an age of legalized marijuana, deeper analysis and understanding of emerging drug trends allows for greater opportunities to educate, inform and prevent misuse and deaths.

Each drug trends report explores the topic at hand, documenting the prevalence of the problem, relevant demographics, prevention and treatment options available, as well as providing insight and perspectives from thought leaders throughout the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

View the latest Emerging Drug Trends Report:

View the latest National Surveys:

About Recovery Advocacy

Our mission is to provide a trusted national voice on all issues related to addiction prevention, treatment and recovery, and to facilitate conversation among those in recovery, those still suffering and society at large. We are committed to smashing stigma, shaping public policy and educating people everywhere about the problems of addiction and the promise of recovery. Learn more about recovery advocacy and how you can make a difference.

Evidence-Based Treatment Series

To help get consumers and clinicians on the same page, the Butler Center for Research has created a series of informational summaries describing:

  • Evidence-based addiction treatment modalities
  • Distinctive levels of substance use disorder treatment
  • Specialized drug and alcohol treatment programs

Each evidence-based treatment series summary includes:

  • A definition of the therapeutic approach, level of care or specialized program
  • A discussion of applicability, usage and practice
  • A description of outcomes and efficacy
  • Research citations and related resources for more information

View the latest in this series:

Case Studies and White Papers

Written by Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation researchers and clinicians, case studies and white papers presented by the Butler Center for Research provide invaluable insight into clinical processes and complex issues related to addiction prevention, treatment and recovery. These in-depth reports examine and chronicle clinical activities, initiatives and developments as a means of informing practitioners and continually improving the quality and delivery of substance use disorder services and related resources and initiatives.

Harnessing science, love and the wisdom of lived experience, we are a force of healing and hope ​​​​​​​for families and communities affected by substance use and mental health conditions.