Overview and Function
Established by the Board of Regents in 1972, the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies (CAAS) addressed the problem of substance abuse in Alaska through educational, research, and public service programs. In its initial research endeavors, CAAS directed its efforts at understanding and reducing the extent of the substance abuse problem in Alaska. Early studies thus concentrated on epidemiological issues, while later research shifted to more focused studies, such as examining drinking patterns among Anchorage's homeless street population.
Current emphasis is on treatment evaluation studies and biobehavioral studies of substance abuse. (Ongoing research and evaluation projects are described in the "Projects" section.) CAAS's affiliation with the Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies (ICHS) has strengthened its ability to fulfill its mission. CAASs research activities are directed at actively stimulating and coordinating interdisciplinary and collaborative studies, and promoting scientific interchanges of alcohol- and drug-related information. CAAS offers an interdisciplinary minor in Addiction Studies, and is coordinating an interdisciplinary graduate program that offers a Certificate of Completion on Substance Abuse Disorders. Information about these programs is found in the Training/Eduction Section. The Center's activities thus make it a vital force within Alaska that helps reduce drinking and drug use and lessens the impact of substance abuse in the state.