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National Conference on Drug Abuse Prevention Research:
Presentations, Papers, and Recommendations

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Open Forum & Closing Session

Introductory Remarks

Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.
Director
National Institute on Drug Abusea


National Conference on Drug Abuse Prevention Research

This part of our program is one of two tests of whether you have done your homework assignments. Don't be nervous. This meeting is an opportunity for NIDA to hear from the scientific community and obtain help in shaping a research agenda. We want to take advantage of people's experience and try to help bring research into the community. There are five work groups, and much of the purpose of this session is to hear back from these groups.

We also hope that you took your other homework assignment seriously. Please give your comments or your marked copies of the draft manual to the people at the registration desk.

To moderate this session and to set the stage, we are fortunate to have another of the major leaders in the U.S. and international drug abuse and addiction prevention communities. He is difficult to introduce because everybody knows him. So, I have to tell you two stories.

When I first became the NIDA director, I made courtesy visits to all the leaders in the field, including this guy named Copple, who says, "I'm glad to see you because when I came to town somebody referenced some NIDA thing and I said, ‘What's a NIDA?'" Copple had only been in the field for 20 years.

I have taken that, "What's a NIDA?" as a personal challenge, and I am hoping that at least the people in this room have figured out "what's a NIDA," who we are in the process, and that we are, in fact, being useful.

The other thing I want to tell you about Jim Copple is that he has been personally responsible for providing tremendous leadership in the development of what is now a gigantic, interconnected network among coalitions in this country. In 1992 the President's Drug Advisory Council declared there should be coalitions and that there should be a mechanism to coordinate the establishment of those coalitions. They are now everywhere, and I think the data are clear that they are tremendously effective.

I also discovered, after meeting this guy, that he has a bachelor of arts degree from Eastern Nazarene College and a master of divinity degree in church history from the Nazarene Theological Seminary. This is trained leadership. I give you one of the leaders of our field, Jim Copple.


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