Old Friends Meet New Friends at APA
Science Policy staff hosted two meetings of the Friends of NIDA at APA headquarters during the month of December. The first meeting, on December 6th, brought together representatives from a diverse network of organizations, many of whom had co-sponsored the group's debut event in July, a congressional briefing featuring NIDA Director Nora Volkow as the key presenter, and several new groups energized by NIDA's unenviable position at the bottom of the list of Institute funding increases at NIH for 2005 (see table of FY05 funding).
Participants discussed a range of issues, including organizational strategy and potential fundraising activities. The first meeting ended in a flurry of volunteerism to form an Executive Steering Committee, which subsequently met at APA on December 15th. At that meeting, APA Science Policy Director Geoff Mumford agreed to co-chair a subcommittee with Linda Hay Crawford, Executive Director of Therapeutic Communities of America, to plan and execute the coalition's educational briefing series on Capitol Hill. Topics may include the current status of the Clinical Trials Network, NIDA research related to integration of drug treatment within the criminal justice system, prevention and treatment of nicotine dependence, and other topics deemed to be of interest as the 109th Congressional agenda takes shape.
Other Executive Committee members will be organizing a Friends of NIDA website and will begin to work on an FY 2006 Appropriations activity timeline. (The group was chagrined to find that the ideal domain registration - www.friendsofnida.org - was already taken, so all catchy suggestions are welcome.)
The group also agreed to begin outreach to existing informal congressional networks including the Congressional Caucus to Fight and Control Methamphetamine, the Congressional Task Force on Tobacco and Health, and the Congressional Caucus on Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery.