Request for Information (RFI): Inviting Comments on Non-Human Animal Models of Substance Use Disorders

Notice Number: NOT-DA-19-036

Key Dates
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Response Date: July 09, 2019

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)


This notice is a time-sensitive Request for Information (RFI) inviting comments on the strengths and weaknesses of established non-human animal models of substance use disorders (SUDs).

NOTE: It is important to read this entire RFI notice to ensure an adequate response is prepared and to have a full understanding of how your response will be utilized.


The development, validation, and use of animal models that address real-world complexities of SUDs is a priority focus of NIDA’s mission. Certainly, animal models are integral to substance use/SUD research; however, no single animal model completely recapitulates human SUDs, and unappreciated limitations of current models may impede progress toward understanding, treating, and preventing SUDs. The need to examine the translational value of current animal models is underscored by recent technological advances and the development of sophisticated tools allowing for in-depth interrogation of basic biological mechanisms in behaving animals. This RFI intends to create a discourse amongst the scientific community and NIDA on the strengths and weaknesses of current non-human animal models of SUDs and to provide insight on how these models may be optimized to best reflect the human condition.

Information Requested:

NIDA seeks input from the scientific community on the following topics:

  • Current animal behavioral procedure(s)/model(s) that BEST recapitulate human substance use/SUD, including the aspect(s) of substance use/SUD (initiation of drug use, drug maintenance, pathological drug use, relapse) targeted by the/these procedure(s)/model(s)
  • Animal procedures/models of SUDs that best balance the inherent trade-offs between resources (time, cost, etc.) and complexity/ecological validity
  • Animal procedures/models of SUDs whose translational value are frequently misrepresented or overrepresented by the scientific community
  • Aspects of substance use/SUD (e.g., specific DSM criteria for SUD) that are NOT currently being modelled in animals and how current procedures/models could be adapted to overcome technical/logistic challenges and address this gap in the field

How to Submit a Response:

Responses to this RFI will be accepted through July 8, 2019.

Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically via email to:

In your email, please only respond to the above four questions and provide citations if appropriate.

Responses to this RFI are voluntary.Do not include any proprietary, classified, confidential, trade secret, or sensitive information in your response.The responses will be reviewed by NIH staff, and individual feedback will not be provided to any responder. The Government will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion. The Government reserves the right to use any submitted information on public NIH websites, in reports, in summaries of the state of the science, in any possible resultant solicitation(s), grant(s), or cooperative agreement(s), or in the development of future funding opportunity announcements.

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and shall not be construed as a solicitation, grant, or cooperative agreement, or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the NIH, or individual NIH Institutes and Centers to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. The Government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government’s use of such information. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise because of a response to this request for information or from the Government’s use of such information. NIH looks forward to your input and we hope that you will share this RFI document with your colleagues.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Jennifer Wenzel, PhD
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Telephone: 301-827-7084