The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences is the leading Indian collaborator on the cVEDA study. The Centre for Addiction Medicine at NIMHANS, Bangalore, headed by Dr Vivek Benegal (Principal Investigator for cVEDA), is the Regional Centre for the southern region, under the National Drug Deaddiction Programme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. This centre runs outpatient and inpatient services, and caters to around 100 patients per week. The center has a strong focus on research since its inception. The research directions have been shaped, both by its location as well as the research interests of the individual faculty. A major direction has been the study of the prevalence and patterns of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use in India. This has included initiating some of the first enquiries in the country, on patterns of use, economic consequences and social cost of alcohol, normative use of alcohol among women and substance use in special risk groups which have contributed to the growing acceptance of substance use especially alcohol as a critical public health problem in India. The other significant direction has been the study of genetic and neurobiological factors which underlie the susceptibility to addiction, especially in young people.
The research group for cVEDA at NIMHANS, led by Dr Benegal, has accumulated data on various endophenotypes of vulnerability to addictive disorders and other mental illnesses, including measures of brain volume, white matter integrity, cognitive functions and genetic variants associated with addiction and mental illnesses. Subjects will be drawn from among the children of this large patient cohort at this site.