Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, MD, and a panel of experts spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in February to mark the transfer of the Innovators Combating Substance Abuse awards program to Johns Hopkins University and the appointment of Jack Henningfield, PhD, as its new director.
The Innovators program--founded in 2000 by the late John Slade, MD, at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey--is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Each year, it offers grants of $300,000 to people who have conducted innovative work in the field of substance abuse and drug addiction.
Last year, two of the awardees were psychologists: Carlo DiClemente, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and James O. Prochaska, PhD, director of the Cancer Prevention Research Center at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston. DiClemente and Prochaska are co-creators of the Transtheoretical Model of Change, which describes stages of change along the path from addiction to abstinence. DiClemente, who participated in the National Press Club event, says he plans to use the award to study change in cocaine addicts. Prochaska will focus on prevention and early intervention for youth alcohol and tobacco use.
Psychologist Sandra Headen, PhD, a consultant on tobacco abuse prevention in North Carolina, received the award in 2000, when Henningfield was also an awardee. At the North Carolina Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch, Headen has helped design a culturally appropriate program to reduce tobacco use among African Americans. The award, she says, provided funds to standardize and expand the program nationally.
In his keynote speech, Koop focused on the need to balance anti-drug law enforcement efforts with treatment and prevention. "We must expand greatly our efforts to help those with addictions so that getting treatment will be as easy as getting addictive drugs," he said.
Henningfield, who moderated the panel, emphasized the importance of supporting innovative approaches to substance abuse treatment and prevention.