The NRC mandated by law number (7) for 2010, under article 4.12 the NRC to conduct research and studies to understand and to effectively respond to addiction and under article 4.9 to develop monitoring and evaluation (surveillance programs) that stem from research.
In the context of increasing trend of drug and alcohol use in the region (World Drug Report, 2019), there is an urgent need for accurate data and information to formulate appropriate policies, develop services and conduct effective preventive interventions. Research activity on substance misuse and addictions in the Middle East Region and Arabic speaking countries, measured by publications in international journal, compared to the USA, Western Countries and Asia is reported as minimal. Addressing this gap is a priority for the NRC.
In 2017, the NRC was designated a WHO Collaborative Centre for substance use prevention and treatment of substance use disorder issues. The NRC as a research centre is a key objective and the work plan and agreed activity includes multi-centre studies, epidemiology of substance abuse, drug toxicology, and clinical research on medical/health effects of substance abuse and co-occurring infections. Contributing to regional capacity building and research output in substance use disorders is a key theme.
The Research Section at the NRC was created in 2011 and is in the process of establishing a research infrastructure within the NRC. The research agenda is derived and is in line with the overall NRC strategic plan, and can best be described as applied, clinical and translational.