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Spotlight on Reality of Drug Abuse and Addiction: Seventh Annual PRISM Awards

Los Angeles was host to the 7th annual PRISM Awards, held on May 8 and presented by the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. (EIC), in partnership with NIDA and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The awards honor accurate portrayals of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use and addiction in television, feature film, music, and comic book entertainment.

NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Actor Andy Dick, and Dr. Drew NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D., at the 7th PRISM Awards ceremony with Actor Andy Dick (center) and Dr. Drew Pinsky, a physician and public personality known as "Dr. Drew." Mr. Dick stars as Owen Kronsky on the ABC sitcom "Less Than Perfect" and is shown accepting a PRISM Award for the "E! True Hollywood Story: Andy Dick" special. The special focuses on Mr. Dick's rebellious personality and turbulent life, emphasizing his past substance abuse and ongoing recovery. Dr. Drew hosts a web site which counsels young people on health and social issues, including substance abuse and addiction. He is an on-camera commentator for the CBS reality show "Big Brother" and co-hosted the MTV show and syndicated radio show "Loveline."

Actor James Woods received the PRISM Heritage Award, presented for performances in productions dealing with addiction themes released before the inception of the PRISM Awards in 1997. He was acknowledged for his Emmy Award-winning performance in "My Name is Bill W.," in which he played the role of the Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder. Woods also was recognized for his depiction of a successful businessman's descent into drug addiction and insanity in "The Boost." Past PRISM Heritage Awards have gone to Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia for "When a Man Loves a Woman" and Michael Keaton and Kathy Baker for "Clean and Sober."

Dick Askin, Tribune Entertainment Company President and CEO, won the Larry Stewart Leadership and Inspiration Award. Acknowledging leadership and inspiration by example, the award is named in memory of writer/producer/director Larry Stewart, a founding Board Director of EIC and a forefather in EIC's efforts to collaborate with the entertainment industry in accurately depicting health and social issues. Askin oversees all television program development, production, and distribution activities of Tribune's content and has been active in EIC since 1990, including his current seat on EIC's Board of Trustees. As a board member, Askin was instrumental in bringing the PRISM Awards to television. Past Larry Stewart Award recipients include actors Martin Sheen and Michelle Lee.

For the first time since the awards were launched, individual actors were recognized for outstanding performances. Val Kilmer, Neve Campbell, Bernie Mac, John Spencer, Tim Matheson, and Noah Wyle were honored in the following categories:

  • Kilmer: Performance in a Theatrical Feature Film, "Salton Sea";
  • Campbell: Performance in a TV Movie or Miniseries, "Last Call";
  • Mac: Performance in a Comedy Series, "The Bernie Mac Show";
  • Matheson and Spencer (tied): Performance in a Drama Series Episode, "The West Wing"; and
  • Wyle: Performance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline, "E.R."

The feature film "Skins" was honored, as were "E.R.," "The Bernie Mac Show," "Yes Dear," "The Young and the Restless," "Strong Medicine," "Behind the Music: Aerosmith," "The E! True Hollywood Story: Andy Dick," "Flipped and Wasted," "Ozzy and Drix," and the documentary, "Sudden Impact: The Ripple Effects of Drunk Driving." In the Music Recording category, Kenny Chesney ("The Good Stuff") and Ivan Neville ("Ode to 5 a.m.") shared the award. Honoring a film not yet released but playing the festival circuit, the PRISM Film Festival Award was given to "Never Get Outta the Boat." "Cat Woman" was the winner in the Comic Book category.