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Association News
NIDA Director Describes Power Of Prevention
Psychiatric News
Volume 39 Number 11 page 25-25

Nora Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told APA's Board of Trustees that there has been an 11 percent decline in drug abuse among teenagers in the last two years.FIG1

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NIDA Director Nora Volkow, M.D., tells APA's Trustees that one of her priorities is to gain parity coverage of substance abuse. 

She reported the results of the 2003 Monitoring the Future Study during the Board's meeting at APA's annual meeting in New York City last month.

The decline in drug use by eighth, 10th, and 12th graders over the past two years translates into 400,000 fewer teen drug users over two years. The Monitoring the Future Study is one of three major surveys sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services that provide data on substance use among youth. Its Web site is<http://monitoringthefuture.org>.

Volkow also reported that lifetime and current use of cigarettes declined among eighth, 10th, and 12th graders between 2001 and 2003, and lifetime alcohol use by all three grades of students also declined over the same time period.

"What this shows is that prevention works, and it shows the power of collaboration when agencies work together," Volkow said.

But she added that the good news is also mixed with some more worrisome trends: abuse of prescription drugs—especially opiate analgesics—is on the rise.

She also said that psychiatry has an important role to play in identifying and treating people with an addiction problem. "A significant portion of your mentally ill patients has an addiction," Volkow said.

She outlined three priorities for the future: parity coverage of substance abuse, motivating pharmaceutical companies to take an interest in developing drugs for addiction treatment, and translation of basic research on addiction into day-to-day care. ▪

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NIDA Director Nora Volkow, M.D., tells APA's Trustees that one of her priorities is to gain parity coverage of substance abuse. 

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