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NIDA in the News

May 2011


Press Releases

NIDA Raises the Curtain on Addiction
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From L-R: Bryce Pinkham, Harris Yulin, Kathleen Chalfant, and Megan Brotherton at the Boston performance

NIDA announced the launch of its Addiction Performance Project, an innovative continued medical education (CME) program designed to help primary care providers break down the stigma associated with addiction. The program includes dramatic interpretation of a family's struggle with addiction, followed by a dialogue among participants aimed to foster compassion, cooperation, and understanding for patients living with this disease. Read more ⇒ | Read media advisory ⇒ | Read press release ⇒ | Press coverage, including Clinical Psychiatry News story and video interviews of Dr. Volkow and lead actress, Blythe Danner ⇒

New Warm Line Helps Clinicians Tackle Patients' Substance Abuse
NIDA launched a free, nationwide service to help primary care providers seeking to identify and advise substance-abusing patients. The service, Physician Clinical Support System for Primary Care (PCSS-P), offers peer-to-peer mentorship and resources on incorporating screening and follow-up into regular patient care. Read more ⇒

Analysis of Opioid Prescription Practices Finds Areas of Concern
An analysis of national prescribing patterns shows that more than half of patients who received an opioid prescription in 2009 had filled another opioid prescription within the previous 30 days. This report also suggests potential opportunities for intervention aimed at reducing abuse of prescription opioids. Researchers from NIDA published results of this analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Read more ⇒ | Read the JAMA Research Letter ⇒ | Read the Commentary ⇒

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Credit: Copyright © 2011, Society for Neuroscience. All rights reserved. Photo by Joe Shymanski.

Mind Games! NIH Teaches Kids About the Power of the Human Brain
Inquisitive students and their teachers from the Washington, D.C., area explored the fascinating and multifaceted human brain at the 12th annual Brain Awareness Week celebration at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, on March 16 and 17. Over 300 students in grades 5 through 8 engaged in interactive activities sponsored by NIDA and other NIH institutes that focused on brain health and research. Read more ⇒

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Research News

Research shows that tailored smoking cessation messages increase activation in specific brain regions
Recent NIDA-funded research shows that tailored smoking cessation messages — such as [you] feel your health somewhat limits you, including even taking the stairs” — activate specific brain regions, which in turn predict whether or not the person will be smoke-free four months later. View the article ⇒

Increasing dopamine levels could improve treatment outcome for cocaine addiction
A NIDA-funded study by researchers from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons offers an interesting theory on why some patients respond better to behavioral treatments for cocaine addiction than others. Using brain imaging, this study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, demonstrates that participants who failed to respond to behavioral treatment for cocaine addiction had deficits in dopamine signaling in their brain reward centers – an observation that is consistent with previous animal studies and that may help explain increased and persistent cocaine seeking behaviors. These results suggest that combining pharmacological treatments to increase brain dopamine levels along with behavioral treatment might offer a more effective approach than behavioral treatments alone.

NIDA Looking for Partners to Advance Medicinal Treatments for Tobacco Dependence
NIDA announced a multi-stage funding opportunity to develop more effective smoking cessation medications. View the RFA ⇒

If you cannot access a journal article, please check PubMed Central (PMC) — which is the NIH free, digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature — http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/

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Other News

NIDA Publications Receive NIH Award
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Eight NIDA publications received the 2011 NIH Plain Language/Clear Communication Award. Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network, The First Decade, commemorates the 10th anniversary of NIDA’s National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN). Drugs: Shatter the Myths is a booklet for teens that responds to questions and comments about drug abuse received through NIDA’s various social media outreach efforts, including our annual “Chat Day,” the Sara Bellum Teen Blog, NIDA’s teen website, and NIDA's Twitter and Facebook pages. NIDA’s National Drug Facts Week website includes comprehensive information about a health observance week for teens that aims to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse. A Sara Bellum Blog post by Dr. Joe Frascella entitled “So…Why Do People Like Drugs?” explains why drugs are addictive. Two NIDA Notes articles also received awards: “Behavior Game Played in Primary Grades Reduces Later Drug-Related Problems” and “Computer-Based Interventions Promote Drug Abstinence”, as well as a Research Report on Marijuana Abuse. Finally, an email from Dr. Jim Bjork to his colleagues entitled “How to Enter COTR Training into ACMIS” was honored. An award ceremony will be held May 17, at which veteran Washington reporter Maggie Fox, of National Journal Group and Reuters, will be this year’s keynote speaker. Shatter the Myths brochure [PDF] ⇒

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