Preventing Opioid Use Disorders:
Community Based Approaches that Work

A Congressional Briefing Sponsored by The Friends OF NIDA
In Conjunction with
the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus
the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force
and the Prescription Drug Abuse Caucus

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

On July 25, 2017, the Friends of the National Institute on Drug Abuse held a congressional briefing titled "Preventing Opioid Use Disorders: Community Based Approaches that Work." Nearly 120 congressional and federal agency staff, professional society representatives and others attended the session, underscoring the prevalent interest in preventing opioid use disorders and combating the opioid epidemic. Friends of NIDA hosted four speakers for this event, each of whom shared data and insightful recommendations based on their research and experience in the field.

Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Wilson Compton, M.D., M.P.E., (view his presentation here) discussed how social environment shapes the development of the brain and how adverse childhood experiences increase the likelihood of illicit drug use later in life. He recommended prevention approaches that specifically focus on elevating protective factors while reducing risk factors. He presented evidence that early childhood intervention can prevent opiate misuse later in life, and provided examples of programs that have been effective.

Richard F. Catalano, Ph.D., (view his presentation here) continued the discussion of protective and risk factors in prevention science and the proven effectiveness of many of the prevention programs that have already been implemented. Dr. Catalano presented federal spending data from the Office of National Drug Control Policy to illustrate that federal funding for prevention programs has remained low compared to spending on law enforcement and treatment. He also shared recommendations for scaling effective prevention programs and policies.

Psychologist Richard Spoth, Ph.D., (view his presentation here) demonstrated the value and critical importance of expanding evidence-based prevention programs. He provided an analysis of the reduction in both economic and societal costs that occur when effective prevention programs are implemented. His presentation concluded with a call for further action, including scaling up community systems and related workforce development.

Kathy Collier (view her presentation here) is a Prevention Program Director and the Chair of the Pennsylvania Coalition Advisory Workgroup. She presented on the efforts and success of the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services, which works to ensure that drug intervention and prevention programs are provided for citizens in an efficient and cost effective manner. Her experience working in communities on the ground gave a unique perspective to the topic of prevention efforts.

For more information about this briefing, or to become a sponsor for future Friends of NIDA briefings, please contact Cynthia Malley at

Briefing Panelists

From left to right: Compton, Collier, Catalano, Spoth