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Eighth Annual PRISM Awards Honor Accurate Depiction of Drug, Alcohol Issues in Film, TV, Music

Accurate depictions of drug and alcohol abuse in film, TV, and music were the focus as NIDA and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation joined the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) in presenting the eighth annual PRISM Awards at the Hollywood Palladium.

The awards honor the entertainment industry for serious treatment of destructive social issues. In a Capitol Hill Premiere of the awards, held for the fifth consecutive year, leaders of Congress and of national organizations addressing substance abuse celebrated the entertainment industry's achievements in tackling this difficult subject. The awards were broadcast nationally by the FX Network, a Fox Entertainment Group basic cable network reaching 79 million homes.

Teens and Drugs on the Big Screen

Two films that focused on teen drug abuse received awards. City of God, winner of the Theatrical Feature Film PRISM Award, is set in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. It chronicles the harsh fate of young people trapped in a gang culture of drugs, poverty, crime, violence, and death. City of God, directed by Fernando Meirelles, is a Miramax Films production.

Thirteen—a graphic depiction of two girls' foray into an adolescence marked by alcohol, drugs, and sex—earned several awards, including a Theatrical Feature Film PRISM Commendation. The film captured award-winning performances by Evan Rachel Wood (PRISM Award for Performance in a Theatrical Feature Film) and Holly Hunter and Nikki Reed (PRISM Commendations). The film was directed by Catherine Hardwicke and produced by Fox Searchlight Pictures and Working Title Films.

 NIDA Deputy Director Timothy Condon, NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, and former NIDA Director Alan I. LeshnerFrom left: NIDA Deputy Director Timothy Condon, NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, and former NIDA Director Alan I. Leshner attended the PRISM Awards Capitol Hill Premiere.

At the Capitol Hill Premiere, NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow said, "We view these nominations as vehicles to put familiar and authentic faces on drug and alcohol abuse and addiction." The public is well served by storylines that draw on knowledge developed through NIDA research to accurately convey the complexity of drug abuse issues, she added.

A new award category, the PRISM President's Award, recognizes an entertainment industry project that not only raises awareness of substance abuse but leaves behind a legacy. Receiving this new award was Songs of Hope and Recovery for Everyone (SHARE), a Nashville project featuring nearly 20 country musicians and supported by many others in the country music industry. Some of those contributing to the production of SHARE are in recovery, others have observed friends and loved ones suffer through substance abuse and work through recovery.

Nomination Tallies

Film and television studios were invited to submit thematically appropriate works for consideration; the EIC then nominated five submissions for each award category. Leading the major studios and production companies in nominations was 20th Century Fox, with 11 nominations. Paramount had nine nominations; Universal, eight; Warner Bros., six; and David E. Kelley Productions and Steven Bochco Productions had three nominations each. Lions Gate, Carsey Werner Mandabach, Wolf Films, Greenblatt Janollari, John Wells Productions, Hallmark Entertainment, LMNO Productions, Acme Productions, and Tannenbaum Co. each received two nominations, and Miramax Films had one nomination.

In television, Lifetime earned 11 nominations, followed by ABC with nine; NBC, eight; CBS and E! Entertainment, six each; Discovery Channel, four; HBO, MTV, and Showtime, three each; UPN, two; and FOX, MSNBC, AMC, and ESPN with one nomination apiece.

"We're encouraged by the increase in the number of television programs and movies that have addressed substance abuse issues during 2003," says Brian Dyak, EIC president and CEO. Dyak noted that the PRISM nominations not only reflect some of the most important issues threatening society, but also the determination of the entertainment industry to act responsibly when dealing with these topics.

Advisory Council Welcomes New Members

The National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse (NACDA) introduced six new members at its February meeting. Leaving the Council after fulfilling their terms were Dr. James Smith, Dr. David Rosenbloom, Dr. Steven Hayes, and Dr. A. Thomas McLellan.

The Council serves a crucial role in advising NIDA to identify, review, and support scientific research of the highest caliber. Its 18-person membership—12 experts in scientific fields and 6 knowledgeable members of the general public, as well as ex officio members who provide liaison with other Government entities—provides a valuable and unique source of consultation.

New Council Members

Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Ph.D., is the Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Child Development and Education at Teachers College and the College of Physicians & Surgeons at Columbia University. She codirects the National Center for Children and Families and the Columbia University Institute of Child and Family Policy. Dr. Brooks- Gunn's specialty is policy-oriented research focusing on family and community influences on the development of children and youth. Dr. Brooks-Gunn also conducts research on transitional periods in childhood and adolescence, focusing on school, family, and biological transitions in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

Bankole Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., is a William and Marguerite S. Wurzbach Distinguished Professor as well as the Deputy Chair for Research and Chief of the Division of Alcohol and Drug Addiction at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. His primary area of research expertise is the psychopharmacology of addictive medications. A board-certified psychiatrist, Professor Johnson is the Principal Investigator on NIH-funded research studies using neuroimaging and molecular genetic techniques. His clinical expertise is in addiction, biological, and forensic psychiatry.

Herbert D. Kleber, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Division on Substance Abuse at the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, a division he cofounded with his late wife, Dr. Marian Fischman, in 1992. In addition to serving on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, Dr. Kleber is a Fellow in several professional associations, including the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, and the American College of Neuropsychopharmaoclogy.

Thomas E. Lucking, Ed.S., is a consultant who specializes in system design and organizational development for community-based behavioral care systems. In the past decade, he has worked with substance abuse systems in 27 States. Recently, Mr. Lucking helped facilitate the consolidation of State departments and provider organizations, enhancing the efficiency and capability of all parties in treating persons with multiple disorders. Before becoming a consultant, Mr. Lucking was director of a nonprofit organization that became the largest provider of substance abuse treatment in western Michigan.

Patricia Isbell Ordorica, M.D., is the Associate Chief of Staff for Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences at the Central Florida Veterans Administration Healthcare System, where she leads an interdisciplinary clinical, training, and research enterprise committed to innovations in treatment and scientific discovery. She is also President of the National Association of VA Psychiatrists in Administration and Leadership and a nationally recognized expert in addictive disorders. In addition, Dr. Ordorica is a consultant to the Roskamp Institute, where her research interests include genomic and proteomic approaches in drug abuse research.

Linda Porrino, Ph.D., is Professor, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, where she conducts research on the long-term effects of chronic drug use in humans and animal models. She also serves as Director of the Neuroimaging Laboratory. Dr. Porrino's research interests include the use of brain imaging methods to visualize the effects of substances of abuse on structure and function in the central nervous system and to relate those effects to the behavioral changes that accompany the use of these substances. She is also interested in the use of brain imaging techniques to evaluate the functional consequences of lesions of dopaminergic systems and the evaluation of the effects of pharmacological and surgical replacement therapies in animal models of dopamine deficiency.