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
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
"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. ▪