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NIDA. (1996, April 1). NIDA Scientist Receives ASAM Award. Retrieved from

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April 01, 1996
Michael Mueller

Dr. Jack E. Henningfield, chief of the Clinical Pharmacology Branch of NIDA's Addiction Research Center, received the American Society of Addiction Medicine's (ASAM) Annual Award this spring. The award was conferred in Atlanta during the society's 27th Annual Medical-Scientific Conference.

Dr. Jack HenningfieldDr. Jack E. Henningfield

According to ASAM, the award was given to Dr. Henningfield "for expanding the frontiers of the field of Addiction Medicine and broadening our understanding of the addictive process, through research and innovation." Specifically, it recognizes his contributions in the areas of understanding nicotine dependence and preventing tobacco use among children and adolescents.

"This is a great honor because ASAM has taken a leading role in drug addiction research and treatment," says Dr. Henningfield. "The award acknowledges the importance of the study of nicotine dependence, an area of research strongly supported by NIDA, in explaining the physical and chemical basis of addiction. As our research at ARC illustrates, nicotine and cocaine have important commonalities at that level."

Dr. Henningfield, a recognized international expert in nicotine research, has investigated drug addiction for 25 years. His studies have played a key role in identifying the biological basis of nicotine addiction, which was fundamental to establishing that nicotine is an addictive drug. In addition, Dr. Henningfield's research has yielded important information about the links between tobacco use and other drug abuse.

Dr. Henningfield's findings have important implications for young people and emphasize the need to stop the addictive process early.

In 1994, Dr. Henningfield and Dr. Neal Benowitz, a NIDA-funded researcher at the University of California at San Francisco, published an article in The New England Journal of Medicine that proposed a national strategy for reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes over a period of 10 to 15 years, eventually reaching a level that is "essentially nonaddictive." With levels that low, there would not be enough nicotine in cigarettes to support addiction, said the researchers.

In 1977, Dr. Henningfield received his Ph.D. in psychology, with a subspecialty in psychopharmacology, at the University of Minnesota. Since then, he has worked with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and the Behavioral Pharmacology Unit at Baltimore City Hospitals.

Dr. Henningfield joined NIDA's Addiction Research Center in 1980. He has advised three surgeon generals and two Food and Drug Administration commissioners on NIDA research findings on nicotine addiction.