Research priorities presented at Friends of NIDA annual meeting

Representatives from 27 organizations gathered for an update from Nora D. Volkow, MD, Director of NIDA, and discussed ideas for future educational briefings

On Monday, June 28, APA's Science GRO hosted the Friends of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) annual members meeting.  Representatives from 27 organizations gathered for an update from Nora D. Volkow, MD, Director of NIDA, and discussed ideas for future educational briefings.  Dr. Volkow announced that the extra funds from AERA have provided NIDA with greater flexibility and resources, and she discussed several research priorities at NIDA.  The first priority at NIDA is prevention research - discovering what makes people more vulnerable to drug abuse and why, including genetic and environmental factors and their interaction.  Another priority is developing medications and immunotherapies as well as strategies for delivering treatments.  Dr. Volkow gave detailed updates on medications in different stages of research, including vaccines for nicotine and cocaine addiction and other promising medications for heroine and cocaine addiction.  She also emphasized the importance of addressing drug abuse as a vector of HIV transmission, and stated that 30 percent of NIDA’s budget is dedicated to HIV related research.  Lastly, Dr. Volkow expressed concern about the inability thus far to bring down the prevalence of abuse of psychotherapeutics and cited the rise in prescriptions for both opioid analgesics and stimulants.

Ideas discussed at the meeting for future educational briefings included: pain and addiction in veterans; comorbidity of nicotine addiction with other addictions and implications for treatment; drug abuse and women, children and families; and prevention science.