Friends of NIDA Raise Awareness about Prescription Drug Abuse

As noted by increasing lay press coverage, the inappropriate or nonmedical use of prescription medications is a serious public health concern. An estimated 48 million people aged 12 and older, or 20 percent of the U.S. population, have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons in their lifetimes.

As noted by increasing lay press coverage, the inappropriate or nonmedical use of prescription medications is a serious public health concern. An estimated 48 million people aged 12 and older, or 20 percent of the U.S. population, have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons in their lifetimes. Young adults and elderly persons are particularly vulnerable to abuse or misuse of these drugs, which include prescription pain relievers, stimulants, sedatives, and tranquilizers.

To raise awareness of the problem, on February 23 the Friends of NIDA coalition, working in conjunction with the Congressional Caucus on Addiction, Treatment and Recovery, held a briefing entitled "Prescription Drug Abuse - An Emerging Public Health Threat."

NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow provided an overview of the institute's prescription drug abuse and treatment research portfolio. She was followed by Dr. Carol Boyd, Director of the Institute for Research on Women & Gender at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, who discussed results from her NIDA-funded research on the extent of prescription drug abuse in secondary schools and among college students. But perhaps the most poignant presentation came from Nick, a 20 year old man recovering from prescription drug and heroin addiction who told a wrenching story that brought many in the standing-room-only audience to tears. Fortunately, part of Nick's treatment includes one of NIDA's medication development success stories, buprenorphine, which he credited for relieving of him of the craving for heroin.

As always, Science Policy staff are very grateful for Congressman Jim Ramstad's support of these briefings and thank his staffer, Andrew Mckechnie, for helping with the room arrangements. Future briefings may include topics such as NIDA's developmental research portfolio, co-morbidity of substance abuse with other mental disorders, or the Clinical Trials Network.

spin-2006-02-fondinner1 Former NIDA Director Dr. Bob Dupont (left) chats with former White House Drug Czar, General Barry McCaffrey (right) at the Board of Scientific Advisors meeting.
spin-2006-02-fondinner3 Dr. Peter Bourne, Director of Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention (SAODAP) under President Carter, chats with Dr. Louis Harris, former President of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.
spin-2006-02-fondinner4 Dr. Jerome Jaffee, Director of SAODAP under President Nixon, talks to Friends of NIDA Executive Committee member Dr. Timothy Tunner, National Association of Social Workers.
spin-2006-02-fondinner7 Former Congressman Tom Bliley chats with Dr. Nora Volkow, current Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
spin-2006-02-fondinner6 Former Congressman Paul Rogers meets Dr. Volkow.
spin-2006-02-fondinner Former NIDA Director Dr. Alan Leshner chats with former Congressman Paul Rogers.
spin-2006-02-fondinner10 Former Congressman Tom Bliley chats with Friends of NIDA Executive Committee co-chair Charles O'Keeffe.