Abuse liability assessment for neuropsychiatric drugs: the ‘drug discrimination’ model set-up and new protocols development

Starting date
November 1, 2007
Duration (months)
Diagnostics and Public Health
Managers or local contacts
Chiamulera Cristiano
Addictions, Neuropsychopharmacology, Abuse liability, Behavioural model, Drug development

Importance of abuse liability assessment for novel neuropsychiatric drugs and new recreational drugs.

  • To develop, validate and transfer a model for abuse liability assessment: drug discrimination, i.e. the study of discrimination of drug-induced interoceptive effects.
The discriminative stimulus induced by a substance is correlated to its subjective effects: if these are similar to those of a drug of abuse, there is a similar abuse liability.

Project’s motivations:
  • Limited expertise at National and European levels;
  • Needs of an applied research service;
  • Opportunity for innovative basic research.
Project’s phases:
  1. Methodological development in rats;
  2. Behavioural validation;
  3. Pharmacological validation;
  4. --- Technological transfer ---;
  5. Abuse liability research for new substances.
Two-year project outcome:
  • Completion development and validation;
  • Completion technological transfer;
  • Starting research activity on new recreational drugs.
  • Industrial unit: translation to scale-up for R&D;
  • Academic unit: technological know-how acquisition


Funds: assigned and managed by the department
Funds: assigned and managed by the department
Funds: assigned and managed by the department

Project participants

Marzia Di Chio
Technical-administrative staff
Title Authors Year
Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors partially generalize to nicotine discriminative stimulus effect in rats Giarola, A; Auber, Alessia; Chiamulera, Cristiano 2011


Research facilities