Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute

ADAI: Celebrating 50 Years!

ADAI Celebrating 50 Years of Substance use research, education, and dissemination

The University of Washington’s Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute (ADAI) was established by the Board of Regents in November 1973. We are celebrating our 50th anniversary this fall and will be spending our 50th year sharing our history and plans for the future with you in a variety of ways!

Let’s start with a recap of our first year: 1973!


Photos of Marlatt, Roffman, and Carlin

We began with the official name “Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Institute,” with an initial focus on program goals in three areas: research, training, and community consultation.

ADAI set up committees for each area, led by G. Alan Marlatt, PhD (research), Roger A. Roffman, MSW (training), and Albert S. Carlin, PhD (community consultation).

Staff during ADAI’s first year were:

  • G. Alan Marlatt – Acting Director and Research Coordinator
  • Roger A. Roffman – Training Coordinator
  • Albert S. Carlin – Community Technologist
  • Barry D. Caudill – Research Associate
  • Jane Ramsey – Secretary


Our small grant program kicked off right away, as we solicited research proposals from UW faculty in the “alcoholism and drug abuse” areas. Proposals were accepted in both basic and applied fields, with ADAI supplying “seed” money while encouraging grantees to seek additional support from federal or private agencies to continue their work after the first year – this program continues today!

We funded 24 projects our first year, for a total of $115,498.


In the training program, ADAI provided a centralized information and referral service for individuals seeking courses or training programs in substance use, and the department also launched a newsletter, “Nepenthe,” to share information about upcoming educational opportunities, research at ADAI and the UW, statewide drug and alcohol information, community news, and more. Nepenthe was originally edited by ADAI secretary Jane Ramsey. Find the complete digital archives of Nepenthe (28 issues) here!

Our first year also saw our first annual conference – held in July 1974. The aim of the conference was to bring together university and community individuals to engage in a discussion of topics of mutual interest.

The focus of our inaugural event was “Treatment Evaluation and Outcome Studies in Alcoholism and Drug Abuse” and featured keynote speaker Dr. Peter G. Bourne, former Assistant Director of the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention.  More than 200 people attended, from all areas of the U.S. and Canada.

Original location on 15th

In its first year, ADAI staff remained scattered around campus, however, in October 1974, the Institute finally got its own space and moved into 3937 15th Avenue NE, where it would remain until the early 2000s. The building was a two-story house with a basement that included space for the new ADAI Library, which also opened in October 1974. More on this in a future blog post!

Over the next half-century, ADAI has seen change, led change, and been changed. We’re excited to celebrate all those things with you over the coming year. If you have a memory – story, photos, seminal publication, etc. – you want to share with us, please reach out to Meg Brunner at!

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