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Buprenorphine Development Team Honored

Members of the Buprenorphine Development TeamMembers of the buprenorphine development team in NIDA's Division of Treatment Research and Development with Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala. From left to right: Mr. Robert Walsh, Dr. James Terrill, Dr. Richard Hawks, Mr. Lee Cummings, Dr. Nora Chiang, Secretary Shalala, Ms. Liza Gorgon, Dr. Moo Park, Mr. Joel Egertson, and Dr. Frank Vocci.

NIDA staff who contributed to the development of buprenorphine, a medication for treating addiction to heroin and other opiates, were honored at the annual Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Honor Awards Ceremony in May. The research team was presented with the Secretary's Award for Distinguished Service, which is given each year for service that significantly advances the Department's mission and goals. HHS Secretary Donna Shalala presented the award, which cited the group's "outstanding performance in the development of buprenorphine products as treatment agents for opiate dependence." Dr. Nora Chiang accepted the award on behalf of the research group from NIDA's Division of Treatment Research and Development. Other members of the team were Dr. Peter Bridge, Mr. Lee Cummings, Mr. Joel Egertson, Ms. Liza Gorgon, Dr. Richard Hawks, Dr. Susan Herbert, Dr. James Hill, Dr. Deborah Leiderman, Dr. Moo Park, Dr. Betty Tai, Dr. James Terrill, Mr. Robert Walsh, and Division Director Dr. Frank Vocci.

Buprenorphine is awaiting FDA approval for use. "This is terrific recognition for a group that has done a truly outstanding job bringing to near-release the first new medication for opiate addiction in nearly a decade," said NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner. "It will be a very important addition to the clinical toolbox that will aid hundreds of thousands of individuals, their families, and their communities."