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NIDA

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From Abuse to Addiction

NIDA Director Nora Volkow

January 2013

In previous posts I have described some of the very exciting science presented at NIDA’s mini-Convention in conjunction with the Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans in October. There was too much research to mention it all, but I will highlight one additional presentation, by Pier Vincenzo Piazza. Piazza, director of Neurocentre Magendie, a multidisciplinary neurobiology research center that is part of INSERM, France’s equivalent to the NIH, gave an invited address in a special session to promote collaborations in drug abuse and addiction research between our two countries.

The Many Faces of Glia

NIDA Director Nora Volkow

November 2012

Much exciting neuroscience research in the last few years concerns the non-neural cells called glia. Scientists once thought they mainly played a supporting role in the brain, but we are now learning that glia do much, much more. Three sessions in NIDA’s Mini-Convention at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans on October 12 showcased new research on glia with direct or indirect implications for addiction research. I want to highlight just a few of the fascinating talks I attended on this subject.

Study provides clues for designing new anti-addiction medications

Scientists are now one step closer to developing anti-addiction medications, thanks to new research that provides a better understanding of the properties of the only member of the opioid receptor family whose activation counteracts the rewarding effects of addictive drugs.


Brain Awareness Week

NIDA Director Nora Volkow

March 2012

Brain Awareness Week begins March 12th, and among many nationwide activities, NIH scientists will be teaching young people about the amazing human brain at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, MD. While we think of Brain Awareness Week as an educational opportunity for children, it is a good time to remind us all about recent advances in neuroscience, and how brain research is helping us understand, prevent, and treat drug abuse and addiction.

NIDA's Funding Priorities in Tough Fiscal Times

NIDA Director Nora Volkow

February 2012

The President’s Budget for FY13 has just been released and offers a timely opportunity to review NIDA’s funding priorities for the research we support.  To best fulfill our public health mission to “lead the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction” requires that we focus on those areas likely to produce the greatest return on the public’s investment.

Community Monitoring Systems: Tracking and Improving the Well-Being of America's Children and Adolescents

Describes community systems that monitor the well-being of children and adolescents and lists recommendations that define the next steps for creating and mentoring effective community monitoring systems.

Published: September 2007

Assessing Drug Abuse Within and Across Communities

Provides guidelines for establishing epidemiology networks to monitor and assess drug abuse patterns and trends and emerging drug problems at community and State levels.

Published: September 2006

Letter from the Director

The abuse of methamphetamine—a potent and highly addictive stimulant—remains an extremely serious problem in the United States. According to data from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), over 12 million people (4.7 percent of the population) have tried methamphetamine at least once. NSDUH also reports that approximately 1.2 million people used methamphetamine in the year leading up to the survey.

Letter from the Director

The so-called "club drug" MDMA continues to be used by millions of Americans across the country, despite evidence of its potential harmful effects. 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, or ecstasy) has gained a deceptive reputation as a "safe" drug among its users. This illegal drug, which has both stimulant and psychedelic properties, is often taken for the feelings of well-being, stimulation, and the distortions in time and sensory perceptions that it produces.

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