NIDA, CADCA Team for Public Education
NIDA is partnering with the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) to raise public awareness about the effects of drug abuse on children and adolescents. One product of the collaboration, the Practical Theorist series of manuals, presents current, research-based knowledge on drug abuse in a concise format and suggests strategies for using the data to build drug-free communities.
The latest release in the series, Practical Theorist 5: Marijuana Abuse: Using Science for an Effective Community Response, was timed to correspond with opening of the schools in fall 2003. "A new school year means a highly vulnerable population, students in elementary and secondary schools, will be introduced to new teachers, new classes, and--unfortunately--the temptation to abuse drugs," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "Through the NIDA-CADCA collaboration, we're producing easily understandable scientific information to help parents, teachers, and others in the community guide young people toward positive life choices."
Practical Theorist 5 describes the scope of the Nation's marijuana problem; summarizes the latest research on marijuana's effects on the brain, , and everyday functioning; and suggests how community anti-drug coalitions can move to address this growing problem. The booklet provides the factual ammunition to fire back at myths such as "Marijuana is harmless," and "It's not addictive."
Information about the Practical Theorist and other CADCA publications is available at 800-54-CADCA. Fact sheets on the health effects of marijuana and other drugs of abuse can be found on the NIDA Web site.
Research Award Inaugurated at Neuroscience Conference
The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) and the Jacob P. Waletzky Memorial Foundation chose NIDA's "Frontiers in Addiction Research" symposium, held November 7, 2003 in New Orleans with the Society's annual conference, as the forum to announce the first recipient of the Jacob P. Waletzky Memorial Award for Innovative Research in Drug Addiction and Alcoholism.
The Award was presented to Dr. Pier Piazza, a behavioral neuroendocrinologist with INSERM, the French national institute for medical research at the University of Bordeaux. His work focuses on neurobiological factors that contribute to differences in individual vulnerability to the rewarding properties of drugs and the effects of stress on drug addiction.
The award was established in memory of writer Jacob Waletzky, who died at age 29 of cocaine-induced cardiac arrhythmia after relapsing to cocaine use. Waletzky's parents, psychiatrists active in drug abuse treatment, formed a memorial foundation that established the $25,000 award. "The goal of the Waletzky Award is to encourage innovative research into the neurobiology of drug addiction and alcoholism," said SfN President Dr. Huda Akil, presenter of the award. "Jacob Waletzky's parents endowed this award in the conviction that neurobiological advances in addiction research will lead to more effective treatment and a cure. NIDA's interest in inviting the Waletzky awardee to give a presentation at this satellite symposium underscores the importance of this award at the national and international levels."
NIDA's "mini-convention" will be an annual event at SfN meetings, said Dr. Timothy Condon, Deputy Director of NIDA. "We are pleased to be an integral part of the field of neuroscience and of the Society's annual meetings. This year, our full day of presentations included 30 speakers and 70 scientific poster presentations, reflecting the critical role of drug abuse and addiction research in this field," he said. "And we are honored that the Society allowed our convention to serve as the forum for the first annual Waletzky lecture."