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Assessing the Impact of Childhood Interventions on Subsequent Drug Use Home
Assessing the Impact of Childhood Interventions
on Subsequent Drug Use
skip navigation About the Conference
Agenda
About the Conference

Research indicates that psychiatric disorders are frequently comorbid with drug use disorders, and that some childhood psychopathological conditions are associated with increased risk for drug abuse. This suggests that treating psychiatric disorders in childhood may have implications for reducing later risk for drug abuse and might serve as a potentially effective drug abuse prevention approach for some children and adolescents. However, this question has been little studied so far. Concerns also exist about childhood mental health interventions that may increase risk for subsequent drug abuse, as has been suggested by some regarding stimulant medication. Research on the effectiveness of treating psychiatric conditions associated with increased risk for drug abuse also holds potential for adding to knowledge about etiologic pathways to drug abuse. The chief aim of this meeting therefore was to lay the foundation for studying whether childhood psychiatric interventions can serve both as treatment for the childhood disorder and as a drug abuse prevention strategy for those at high risk.

The conference was held on May 23-24, 2000, at the Hotel Washington in Washington DC. Program Staff from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH, with participation of Staff from the National Institute of Mental Health, organized and sponsored this meeting, which was attended by approximately 125 researchers with background and interest potentially to work on this new area of research. The goal of encouraging and facilitating research on these questions was addressed in four sections. First, background information was presented to review current knowledge about the epidemiology, basic science, and developmental trajectories of early psychopathology and later drug abuse. Second, a range of exemplar studies currently underway were presented and discussed. Third, methodological challenges to this type of research were reviewed, and fourth, presentations and discussion about addressing practical and ethical barriers to implementing such research.

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