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The University of Southern California Health, Emotion, & Addiction Laboratory (USC-HEAL) is a multidisciplinary team of scholars, staff, and students that supports scientific and educational activities on the intersection between health, emotion, and addiction. A broad emphasis of the laboratory is to conduct research that uncovers why some people are prone to addiction while others are not. To comprehensively address this question, it is important to examine the factors that confer risk at each stage of the addiction process, including drug use experimentation, escalation, maintenance, cessation, and relapse. To this end, the laboratory focuses on identifying novel psychosocial and biobehavioral factors that influence drug use at each stage of the addiction trajectory, with a particular emphasis on the role of emotional sources of addiction risk. Most of the work is focused on tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs. However, determinants of other addictions as well as other health-related behaviors (e.g., eating, risk-taking, exercise) are also of interest. Research conducted is transdisciplinary in nature and integrates theories and methods of behavioral science, psychopharmacology, and epidemiology.

Persistent use of tobacco and other drugs is a major risk factor for disease, death, and disability. Thus, it is important to understand the reasons why people continue to use these substances, despite knowing about their detrimental health effects. Better understanding of the factors that underlie drug addiction will lead to the development of more effective and innovative interventions. The overall goal of the USC-HEAL is to generate research findings that inform the prevention and treatment of addiction and other behavioral risk factors for disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking results in more than 400,000 premature deaths each year—about 1 in every 5 U.S. deaths.
Health, Emotion, & Addiction Laboratory
E-mail: heal@usc.edu
Supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse Grants R01-DA033296, R21 DA034768, K08-DA025041, California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program Grant 22FT-0062, and American Cancer Society Grant RSG-13-163-01
© 2014 University of Southern California
Designed by Andrew Zaw
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