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The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction from the National Institute on Drug Abuse Archives of the National Institute on Drug Abuse web site
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NIDA Town Meetings

Town Meeting

Taking Science-Based Drug Abuse Information to The Community

A primary goal of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is to disseminate the results of research on preventing and treating drug abuse and addiction, so that these findings can be implemented as soon as possible into clinical application and contribute to policy making.

In 1996, NIDA initiated a new approach to achieving this goal. To augment the traditional means of disseminating research findings - publishing in scientific journals, presenting at symposia and conferences, etc. - NIDA implemented its nationwide Town Meeting program. The Town Meetings help to ensure that the most recent scientific findings are available at the local level, while at the same time providing NIDA the opportunity to learn what kind of scientific information is needed by local civic leaders and clinicians to better deal with drug problems in their communities.

Establishing Ties Across the Nation
Program Summaries for the most recent Town Meetings are available by clicking on the city name listed along side the map.

map of U.S.

Town Meeting Sites
Date Place
April 1996 Miami
April 1996 Tampa (1)
May 1996 Columbus, Ohio
October 1996 St. Louis
December 1996 San Francisco (1)
March 1997 Dallas
May 1997 Chicago
October 1997 Philadelphia
January 1998 Salt Lake City (1)
April 1998 Boston
July 1998 Roswell, New Mexico (2)
October 1998 Des Moines
October 1998 Buffalo (1)
May 1999 Atlanta
November 1999 Seattle

(1) Regional or community meeting
(2) Community meeting and international teleconference

Bridging the Great Disconnect

The Town Meetings also help to bridge what NIDA calls The Great Disconnect, the dichotomy between the public's perception about drug addiction, its prevention and treatment, and the scientific facts. In that spirit, the NIDA Town Meetings are open to all members of the community. At these one-day meetings, NIDA scientists and other experts discuss with parents, teachers, concerned citizens, physicians, social workers, civic leaders, and others, what science has taught us about drug abuse and addiction.

Forging Local Partnerships

NIDA joins with local partners at each Town Meeting location to pursue the following objectives:

  • To promote public awareness of NIDA-sponsored research and how this information can be used in addressing local drug problems
  • To hear about local needs for science-based information and materials and to have community leaders help shape NIDA's research agenda
  • To work with local organizations to facilitate dissemination of drug education materials
  • To establish ongoing ties between communities and NIDA

Partnering with mayors' and governors' offices, and with local affiliates of national organizations such as Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), ensures that each Town Meeting is tailored to meet local interests and needs. For example, the Town Meeting in Des Moines focused on methamphetamine use, a particular problem in that part of the country, while the Atlanta Town Meeting is targeting crack cocaine use, a severe problem there.

For more information about the NIDA Town Meeting program, call the NIDA Press Office at 301-443-6245.

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