• Press Release

The Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai and Center on Addiction Forge Strategic Alliance to Improve Addiction Treatment

Will focus on adolescents, young adults, and their families, creating new, scalable models of care that can be disseminated nationally

  • New York, NY
  • (October 12, 2018)

More than 3 million young Americans between the ages of 12 and 25 suffer from drug addiction. Overdose deaths among young people are on the rise. To address this devastating problem, the Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai and Center on Addiction formed a strategic alliance that will invest in innovative solutions, with a current focus on opioid addiction.

The Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai and Center on Addiction understand that young people have complex needs that often go unaddressed by the U.S. addiction treatment system, which is designed for adults. Through the collaboration, leading addiction experts will work together to create innovative, scalable models for treatment, which include evidence-based screening, preventative practices, and care specifically tailored to young people with substance use disorders.

“Parents everywhere are struggling to find addiction treatment for their children. They simply don’t know where to turn,” said Joseph J. Plumeri, Executive Chair of Center on Addiction and a Mount Sinai Health System trustee. “Tragically, many of these parents will bury their children—just like I did—because they failed to find quality care. We have a moral obligation to provide kids with the highest level of addiction treatment, just like we would for any other disease.”

The Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai seeks to improve patient care, drawing on the extensive clinical footprint of the Mount Sinai Health System and the research strengths in addiction biology of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Center on Addiction is an action-oriented nonprofit focused on ending the addiction epidemic. The alliance combines Mount Sinai’s academic and clinical strengths with Center on Addiction’s 26-year legacy of groundbreaking addiction research.

“Center on Addiction’s experience and ability to guide providers in the adoption of evidence-based practices will complement the progressive research being conducted by our experts at the internationally renowned Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai, where we are expanding the biological understanding of addiction and helping to develop new treatments,” said Yasmin Hurd, PhD, Ward-Coleman Chair of Translational Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Director of the Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai. “This collaboration will result in significant breakthroughs that advance addiction research and care for young people and their families impacted by substance use disorders, which is especially important amid the largest drug epidemic in U.S. history.”

There is a pressing need to develop practical and effective models for screening and intervention for youth, because most cases of drug addiction begin with drug use before age 21. Screening for substance use during primary care visits offers an opportunity to open an essential conversation with young people and parents about substance use and share prevention messages. It can also initiate the treatment process for those with a substance use disorder. Over the next three years, alliance team members will work to develop exemplary models for effective screening and intervention in these settings.

In addition, the alliance will develop and scale treatment interventions that address the specific needs of young adults with opioid use disorders. Data show a large, new wave of young adults with opioid use disorder who are not benefiting from the most effective treatments. If not treated early, opioid use disorder can last a long time and lead to social impairments such as unemployment, crime, disability, and a high morbidity rate. Yet only a third of young adults are being treated with U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medications that are widely considered to be the gold standard for adults. According to anecdotal reports, young adults may not be entering traditional treatment programs because services are not provided in a way that appeals to them. 

To address the pressing need for more attractive and effective treatments that could prevent a lifetime of morbidity for young people, the alliance will work to develop new models for treating opioid use disorder in that group. These new models will incorporate shared decision-making regarding medications, patient preferences, the use of technology, psychosocial treatment, and family involvement in care. Scientific advances at Mount Sinai, including advanced neuroimaging modalities and other biological markers that can help to identify individuals at risk, the use of app technologies, and data on non-addictive medications, will help inform and shape new treatment and management interventions. 

Through the new strategic affiliation with the Addiction Institute of Mount Sinai, Center on Addiction is advancing its mission to ensure that no family loses a child to substance use by promoting evidence-based addiction care and making it accessible and affordable to everyone. 

“We are thrilled to be joining forces with the remarkable people from Center on Addiction who work tirelessly to safeguard youth and support families impacted by substance abuse disorders,” said Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD, Dean for Academic and Scientific Affairs, Director of The Friedman Brain Institute, and Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest integrated health systems in the country and also the largest treatment system for substance use disorders in New York, making it an ideal platform for developing new approaches to address an epidemic that is plaguing our youth today. Working together, we will draw on the shared goals, experience and expertise of two institutions that have strong reputations for addressing these devastating conditions in both the lab and in the clinic so we may stop the deep suffering so many young people and their families endure.”

The alliance officially launched on Thursday, October 11, with a kickoff panel discussion and reception at The Mount Sinai Hospital. The event, moderated by Young People in Recovery President and CEO Justin Luke Riley, featured prominent experts and advocates for addiction prevention who explored the complexities of and innovative solutions for providing treatment to young adults with addiction. 


About Center on Addiction
Center on Addiction is a science-based nonprofit focused on improving the understanding, prevention and treatment of addiction. Founded in 1992 by former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joseph A. Califano, Jr., our purpose is to find, promote and enact the necessary solutions to address America’s deadly addiction crisis. For more information, visit www.centeronaddiction.org.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with 48,000 employees working across eight hospitals, more than 400 outpatient practices, more than 600 research and clinical labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time—discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 9,000 primary and specialty care physicians and 11 free-standing joint-venture centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida. Hospitals within the System are consistently ranked by Newsweek’s® “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals, Best in State Hospitals, World Best Hospitals and Best Specialty Hospitals” and by U.S. News & World Report's® “Best Hospitals” and “Best Children’s Hospitals.” The Mount Sinai Hospital is on the U.S. News & World Report® “Best Hospitals” Honor Roll for 2024-2025.

For more information, visit https://www.mountsinai.org or find Mount Sinai on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.