Timely Briefing on Treating Drug Addiction Engages Audience

The Friends of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) presented a briefing organized by APA on developing medications to treat drug addiction and implications for policy and practice, with speakers Nora Volkow, Director of NIDA, and Thomas McLellan, Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). The ONDCP released a National Drug Control Strategy the same day.

On May 11 the Friends of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) presented a timely briefing organized by APA, on developing medications to treat drug addiction and implications for policy and practice. 

Nora D. Volkow, MD, Director of NIDA, and A. Thomas McLellan, PhD, Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), addressed an interested audience of congressional staff members, addiction treatment professionals, and advocates.  Dr. Volkow presented (PDF, 730KB) breakthrough science supported by NIDA and explained the barriers to funding for key medication research (PDF, 170KB), including stigma of addiction as a major barrier.  Dr. McLellan, a psychological scientist, effectively depicted (PDF, 415KB) the state of drug addiction in the U.S. and illustrated the need for an improved infrastructure to deliver medications and other forms of addiction treatment.

The briefing was particularly timely as the ONDCP released a National Drug Control Strategy the same day that proposes the creation of prevention-prepared communities.  Dr. McLellan outlined this aggressive prevention strategy, which targets children and adults in what are demonstrated to be the most susceptible stages of life.  The multifaceted communication strategy involves schools, parents, law enforcement, and environmental policies.  APA applauded the ONDCP for their groundbreaking, evidence-based approach. 

Following the presentations, congressional staff members were eager to learn how Congress can act to promote medication development research and addiction treatment.  Via a lively question and answer session, one focus that materialized was the role Congress can play to incentivize pharmaceutical companies to fund research on developing medications to treat addiction.

Sponsors for May 11’s briefing included 25 scientific and professional associations as well as the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus.

Nora D. Volkow, MD

Nora D. Volkow, MD, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse

A. Thomas McLellan, PhD

A. Thomas McLellan, PhD, Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy

Charles B. O’Keeffe, MBA; Nora D. Volkow, MD; A. Thomas McLellan, PhD; William L. Dewey, PhD

From Left to Right: Charles B. O’Keeffe, MBA; Nora D. Volkow, MD;
A. Thomas McLellan, PhD; William L. Dewey, PhD