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About Div. 28

(Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse)
What is psychopharmacology?

What is Psychopharmacology?

Psychopharmacology is the study of the effects of drugs on behavior, combining methods of psychology and pharmacology. Psychopharmacologists carry out their duties within a number of different settings, including academia, government, private research, industry and clinical. The study of the effects of drugs on behavior has been productively examined in human as well as nonhuman populations, both within and outside the laboratory. The central theme running through the research in this division is the use of behavioral principles as they interact with the effects of pharmacological agents and environmental events.

Div. 28 History

Members and friends with suggestions of additional materials to be included in the archives, please share these materials. Contact Justin Strickland or Mark Smith with any items or questions. We thank you in advance for your help.


Explore the milestones in research on psychopharmacology, including interviews with early division presidents and a history of the study of morphine addiction in chimpanzees.

Public Archives

Past convention programs, annual reports and congressional briefings concerning the relevance of animal models of substance use and neurotoxicity testing for the safety of the American consumer.

Private Archives

Access to the archive materials contained in the Div. 28 private collection may only be approved and released by the Div. 28 president

Division Listserv History

Member Interests

Research Areas

Research Areas

  • Behavioral pharmacology of psychoactive drugs.
  • Behavioral and pharmacological treatments and drug and substance abuse.
  • Clinical psychopharmacology.
  • Neurobehavioral toxicology.
  • Neurochemical mechanisms in substance abuse and related psychiatric disorders.
  • Epidemiology of substance abuse.
  • Development of more effective drug abuse treatments.
  • Linking practices with research in addiction.
  • Prevention of substance dependence.
  • Disseminating evidence-based treatments.

Advocacy Topics

  • Research funding.
  • Substance abuse treatment.
  • Neurotoxicology.
  • Use of animals in research.
  • Education of psychologists for prescription purposes.
  • Training for substance abuse counselors.
  • Research regulations.

Basic Laboratory Research

Nonhuman Subjects

1. Neurochemical Mechanisms

  • Abused substances (e.g., alcohol, opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, tobacco).
  • Psychiatric disorders and treatment medications (e.g., anxiety, depression, psychosis).
  • Learning and memory disorders (e.g., Alzheimer’s, developmental disabilities).

2. Behavioral Pharmacology of Psychoactive Drugs

  • Alteration of sensory and motor functions.
  • Behavioral effects and toxicity.
  • Reinforcing and discriminative drug effects.
  • Animal models of psychiatric and substance abuse disorders.

3. Applied Treatment Development and Evaluation Research

  • Laboratory testing of new medications for psychiatric and substance abuse disorders.
  • Mechanism of therapeutic medication effects.
  • Medication effects on learning and performance.
  • Models for abuse liability prediction.
  • Cost effectiveness of treatment and prevention approaches.
Human Subjects

1. Clinical Treatment Evaluation

  • Drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Depression, anxiety, attention deficits, and developmental disorders.
  • Combined behavioral and pharmacological therapies.
  • Relapse prevention strategies.

2. Epidemiological Field Research

  • Prevalence of substance abuse and behavioral disorders.
  • Etiological factors.
  • Prevention strategies, development and evaluation.
  • Evaluation of co-occurring disorders.

3. Dissemination

  • Bidirectional approach which values both clinician and researcher perspectives.
  • Removing barriers to the adoption of evidence-based treatments.
Date created: 2011