That substance abuse is associated with differences in brain structure and function, and related neurocognitive impairment is undisputed. Causally informative study designs, such as the prospective, longitudinal study leveraged by Kim-Spoon et al. (2020), as well as twin and family studies, are necessary for answering vexing but critical questions about substance use and the developing brain. Investigations that seek to differentiate cause from consequence and identify the factors that initiate the cycle of addiction have the potential to transform our understanding of the development of substance use and abuse, prompt revisions to current models of addiction, guide the most strategic preventive-intervention efforts, and ultimately improve the lives of millions of affected individuals and their families.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Work on this article was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health under Award Numbers K01DA037280 and R21AA026632. The content is solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. This Commentary was invited by the Editors of the and has been subject to internal review. The author has declared that she has no competing or potential conflicts of interest. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
© 2020 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health