JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, N.I.H., EXTRAMURAL
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Environmental influence on the preclinical evaluation of substance use disorder therapeutics.

Substance use disorders (SUD) develop as a result of complex interactions between the environment, the subject, and the drug of abuse. Preclinical basic research investigating each of these tripartite components of SUD individually has resulted in advancements in our fundamental knowledge regarding the progression from drug abuse to SUD and severe drug addiction and the underlying behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms. How these complex interactions between the environment, the subject, and the drug of abuse impact the effectiveness of candidate or clinically used medications for SUD has not been as extensively investigated. The focus of this chapter will address the current state of our knowledge how these environmental, subject, and pharmacological variables have been shown to impact candidate or clinical SUD medication evaluation in preclinical research using drug self-administration procedures as the primary dependent measure. The results discussed in this chapter highlight the importance of considering environmental variables such as the schedule of reinforcement, concurrent availability of alternative nondrug reinforcers, and experimental housing conditions in the context of SUD therapeutic evaluation. The thesis of this chapter is that improved understanding of environmental variables in the context of SUD research will facilitate the utility of preclinical drug self-administration studies in the evaluation and development of candidate SUD therapeutics.

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