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National Institute on Drug Abuse News Release NIDA Media Advisory
FOR RELEASE, Thursday, October 8, 1998 Contact: Beverly Jackson or Sheryl Massaro
301-443-6245

Science and Public Confront Local Drug Abuse and Addiction Issues at Des Moines Town Meeting


Des Moines and many other parts of Iowa and the Midwest have been besieged by increases in methamphetamine abuse and addiction and serious problems with marijuana abuse. To help the Des Moines community better understand the complexities of drug abuse and addiction, and the most effective ways to prevent and treat them, a Town Meeting on Understanding Drug Abuse & Addiction - Myths vs. Reality will be held Wednesday, October 14, from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. at the Des Moines Marriott, 700 Grand Avenue. The meeting is hosted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, in collaboration with the Governor's Alliance on Substance Abuse; the Iowa Department of Public Health, Division of Substance Abuse and Health Promotion; and the Office of the Mayor, Des Moines.

Governor Terry E. Branstad, Senator Charles E. Grassley, and Congressman Greg Ganske will join NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner, one of the country's foremost experts on substance abuse, to discuss approaches for addressing local and statewide issues of drug abuse and addiction.

"We know from research that drug abuse is a preventable behavior and drug addiction is a treatable illness," says Dr. Leshner. "One of NIDA's most important goals is to help the public better understand the nature of addiction and the means to prevent and treat it. Town meetings such as this one in Des Moines enable us to share our research findings--especially those about the actions and effects of drugs on the brain--directly with the public."

The Des Moines Town Meeting is a rare opportunity for policymakers, civic leaders, the public, scientists, State officials, drug abuse prevention and treatment practitioners, health care providers, and law enforcement personnel to exchange information with NIDA staff and grantees. The meeting will be a forum for exploring ways to use research to strengthen prevention and treatment efforts in Des Moines and surrounding areas.

Key drug abuse researchers will discuss trends and patterns of drug abuse in Des Moines and throughout Iowa, community-specific problems of drug abuse and addiction, and effective drug abuse prevention and treatment strategies. In addition, participants will consider how the results of research can be used to improve local responses to the problem and shape local and statewide policy. The general public is invited and encouraged to participate in an open discussion on the problem of drug abuse in the State of Iowa and the Des Moines area.

A $25 registration fee covers the cost of the Town Meeting materials and luncheon. Registration information may be obtained from Traci Eng at Capital Consulting Corporation, 703-876-0496.

Members of the press who want to attend the Town Meeting, or to arrange an interview with Dr. Leshner or other participants, should contact the NIDA Press Office at 301-443-6245 or local contact Dale Woolery, Acting Director of the Governor's Alliance on Substance Abuse, at 515-281-3788.

NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute also carries out a variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice.

Further information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the Home Page at http://www.nida.nih.gov or through NIDA's Infofax at 1-888-NIH-NIDA (1-888-TTY-NIDA for the deaf).

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