Adolescence is a time of dramatic physical, emotional, and intellectual growth. During the past decade, neuroimaging techniques—which allow researchers to look at the brain in a non-invasive way—have shown that it is also a period of dramatic changes in brain structure and function.
Adolescence is known as a time of burgeoning independence, when many risk-taking behaviors emerge. Teens sometimes experiment with cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana—precisely when the developing brain is most vulnerable to the short- and long-term effects of drugs.
Collaborative Research on Addiction at NIH (CRAN) is a partnership between the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). It was created in 2013 to foster research in poly (multiple) substance use. These organizations recognized the need to understand how substance use and other experiences during adolescence influence development and determined that a large-scale, long-term study was needed to address these questions.