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NIDA TV Spotlight on Dr. Richard Spoth

NIDA Researcher, Dr. Richard Spoth of Iowa State University is interviewed by NIDA's Office of Science Policy and Communications Director, Dr. Jack Stein. Dr. Spoth shares findings about prescription drug misuse and intervention recently published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Transcript

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[Dr. Stein]: I'm Jack Stein, I'm the Director of the Office of Science Policy and Communications, here at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And I'm here with Dr. Richard Spoth of Iowa State University.

[Dr. Spoth]: Thank you.

[Dr. Stein]: Can you tell us a little bit about your article that you recently had published in the American Journal of Public Health.

[Dr. Spoth]: I'd be happy to. The recent article summarizes three studies, all of them are randomized-controlled studies. All of them examined universal intervention, that is to say intervention for general community populations. They all look at a combination of family and school based interventions. They examine the long term effects of those interventions on prescription drug misuse.

[Dr. Stein]: And what were some of the major findings that you reported on in the article?

[Dr. Spoth]: All three studies found long term positive effects of prescription drug misuse. Specifically, lifetime prescription drug misuse and we looked closely, more closely at opioid misuse. The findings showed positive outcomes ranging from six to fourteen years after the initial intervention implementation.

[Dr. Stein]: How significant a problem is prescription drug abuse amongst young people?

[Dr. Spoth]: It's becoming increasingly more significant as indicated by the Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control, it has recently been indicated it has become epidemic. There are a number of significant social, health and economic consequences of this problem misuse.

[Dr. Stein]: What are the significance of these findings to address the problem of prescription drug abuse?

[Dr. Spoth]: Unfortunately, when we looked at the literature, there was very limited research in this area specifically looking at long term effects of universal preventive interventions of the kind we examined. We examined two types of universal interventions, one is for families…they are family-focused preventive interventions, and a second is school-based interventions.

[Dr. Stein]: What are the most important things that a community leader needs to do to insure that these types of interventions can be useful?

[Dr. Spoth]: A key thing suggested by this research, is that the positive findings were a result of a sustained, quality implementation of these interventions. That occurred in part, especially in the third of the three studies, through support of a local community team. That in this case formed a partnership with a local university.

[Dr. Stein]: Thank you very much for watching today. For information on this topic please visit our website at www.drugabuse.gov.

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This page was last updated April 2013