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National Institute on Drug Abuse

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse

May, 1997

Media and Education Activities

Media Advisories

February 13, 1997: Notification that NIH Would Hold a Workshop February 19-20, 1997 at Natcher Conference Center Auditorium to Answer Questions on Medical Research on Marijuana. Presentations were made by scientists on the existing medical and scientific literature on the therapeutic utility of marijuana. The review group's conclusions will assist the NIH Director in considering actions NIH could take to fund research on the therapeutic potential of marijuana for patients with specific illnesses.

March 6, 1997: New Research-Based Guide Now Available To Help Prevent Teen Drug Use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse released on March 6, 1997 the first research-based guide to preventing young people from using drugs. The guide is entitled, "Preventing Drug Abuse Among Children and Adolescents: A Research-Based Guide".

March 10, 1997: Dallas Town Meeting to Promote Understanding and Dispel Myths About Drug Abuse and Addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health (NIDA), held a community Town Meeting in Dallas on March 24, 1997. The purpose of the Town Meeting was to discuss the problem of drug abuse in the State of Texas and in the Dallas area, and consider how the results of research could be used to improve the response to the drug problem.

March 14: Workshop to Arm Teachers With the Latest Research on Drug Addiction. Dr. Alan I. Leshner, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addressed teachers from high schools in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area during Brain Awareness Week. In the workshop entitled, "The Biology of Addiction: Your Brain on Drugs", Dr. Leshner discussed the latest research on drug abuse and addiction and current strategies for effectively treating and preventing drug addiction.

April 4, 1997: Genetic Basis Indicated for Abuse of Marijuana. Dr. Michael Lyons, Dr. Ming Tsuang, and their colleagues at Harvard Medical School in Boston have found that whether an individual has positive or negative sensations after smoking marijuana is heavily influenced by heredity. This study, funded by NIDA, was published in the April 1997 issue of the international medical journal, Addiction.

Other Press Activities

Parade Magazine Article - On February 9, 1997, "Secrets of the Brain", an article by Earl Ubell, was published in Parade Magazine which featured a section on drug addiction and quotes from NIDA Director, Dr. Alan Leshner.

Press Interest in the Dallas Town Meeting - While in Dallas, Dr. Leshner conducted several interviews with local television, radio and print media. Dr. Leshner was interviewed extensively by the Editorial staff of the Dallas Morning News, an interview that resulted in two editorials in the paper.

Journalists Workshop - Several NIDA staff made presentations to a group of journalists participating in a University of Maryland, Knight Center media workshop. Over 30 journalists from print media in large and small cities spent one day (out of a 5-day "War on Drugs" Workshop) at the Division of Intramural Research learning about various areas of research on drug abuse and addiction and touring the new brain imaging center.

CSAP Media Workshops - NIDA Press Officers, Mona Brown and Sheryl Massaro, made several presentations during CSAP's media workshops for state prevention practitioners (primarily NPN members). The workshops were held in Kansas City, MO and Baltimore, MD. The presentations dealt with updates on NIDA's media and public education activities, handling sensitive and controversial issues, and media spokespersons training.

ABC's March on Drugs - During the month of March, ABC television made a special emphasis/focus on drug abuse, particularly among youth. Throughout the month, much of NIDA's research and information was made available to writers and producers. Dr. Leshner and several other NIDA grantees were interviewed for ABC Prime Time Live's segment on teen marijuana use.

Bill Moyers' PBS Special on Addiction and Recovery - On March 26, Bill Moyers and Public Affairs Television interviewed Dr. Leshner and filmed his research-based presentation to and question/answer session with middle school children at Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring, Maryland. The Moyers team is in the production phase of a 4-hour exploration of addiction and recovery, premiering in late March 1998. The special will cover the science of addiction as well as prevention and treatment issues and will be working with NIDA and NIDA grantees throughout production.

NIDA Exhibits

Pride Conference
March 6-8, 1997
Atlanta GA
Dallas Town Meeting
March 24, 1997
Dallas, TX
Association of Minority Health Professions Schools (AMHPS)
March 26-29, 1997
Houston, TX
Society for Research in Child Development
April 3-6, 1997
Washington, D.C.
National Methadone Conference
April 13-16, 1997
Chicago, IL
International Congress of Behavioral Medicine (ICBM)
April 16-19, 1997
San Francisco, CA
American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
April 17-20
San Diego, CA

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