Prescription Drug Abuse:
An Emerging Public Health Threat

A Congressional Briefing Sponsored by The Friends OF NIDA
In conjunction with The Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus

Thursday, February 23, 2006

On February 23, The Friends of NIDA Coalition sponsored a Congressional briefing titled, "Prescription Drug Abuse - An Emerging Public Health Threat." The briefing was very well attended by Congressional staff and constituent group representatives, and featured as speakers were NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow; Dr. Carol Boyd, Director, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan; and Nick, a young man in recovery from prescription drug abuse.

Dr. Volkow reviewed the extent of the prescription drug abuse problem in the United States; the impact nonmedical use of prescription drugs has on the brain; and NIDA's agenda to further research and understand all of these issues to help develop prevention and treatment approaches. Dr. Boyd focused her presentation on surveys regarding the nonmedical use of prescription drugs by secondary and college students.

Nick, a young man in recovery from prescription drug abuse, courageously told his compelling story of becoming addicted to Vicodin and OxyContin. He noted that over time, he also became addicted to heroin and found that he no longer recognized his life. Nick also spent time in the criminal justice system and was at one point pronounced dead in an emergency room. At that point, Nick said that he chose to muster his strength to dedicate himself to a treatment regimen that included the medication buprenorphine as an adjunct to counseling. Since then, Nick said that he is growing stronger every day and is appreciative of the opportunity to be an active and important part of society.

Nick was asked to review for the audience core "take home messages." Nick called on a strong investment in prevention programming - from the elementary grades through high school. In addition, he explained that addiction "does not discriminate" and noted that the treatment protocols made possible through the research at NIDA literally saved his life.

NIDA fact sheet on Prescription Drug Abuse [PDF]

Dr. Boyd's presentation [PowerPoint]

Dr. Volkow's presentation [PowerPoint]

Pictures from the briefing:

Nick

Nick shares his personal story of addiction and recovery with the audience.
Carol Boyd

Dr. Carol Boyd, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Nora Volkow

Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of NIDA.
Nick and Geoff Mumford.

Nick with APA's Geoff Mumford.
Matt, Nick, Colleen, and Jacqueline.

Nick with his supporters (L-R): his brother Matt; Colleen, the Nurse Manager of his treatment program; and his Godsister Jacqueline.
Carol Boyd, Nick, and Nora Volkow

Speakers Carol Boyd, PhD; Nick; and NIDA Director Nora Volkow, MD.