Is the NIDA turning over a new leaf?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is seeking submission of ideas from the general public on how to leverage specialized knowledge, methods, and tools from other disciplines to inform new directions in drug use and addiction research. NIDA aims to gain insights into new methods or approaches that could transform discovery in order to expand our basic understanding of drug use and addiction processes, accelerate the development of novel and more effective prevention and treatment strategies, and/or enhance our capacity to implement and improve upon evidence-based interventions.

NIDA plans to award $25,000 in total prizes for white papers that describe ideas. This challenge is being issued as part of NIDA’s strategic planning process for 2016-2020. Winning proposals may be used to guide the development of new research programs within NIDA.

Key Dates:
Submission Period ends June 30, 2015, 11:59 p.m., EST.
Judging Period begins July 1, 2015 and ends July 24, 2015.
Winners Announced August 6, 2015.

Wikipedia:  NIDA’s roots can be traced back to 1935, when a research facility (named the Addiction Research Center in 1948) was established in Lexington, Kentucky as part of a USPHS hospital. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) and National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) were created in 1972. In 1974 NIDA was established as part of the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration…

After all this time, the NIDA doesn’t have a basic understanding of drug use and addiction? How sad is that? Considering how long the NIDA has been around, and how this agency hasn’t done squat to decrease drug abuse and addiction rates, why is it still being funded? Now it needs the public to submit ideas to pursue science? The NIDA has been as big of a failure as the DEA.

As I wrote yesterday morning, NIDA has had an agenda that “focuses on prohibition and abstinence, rather than harm reduction and respect of human agency.”  So I was surprised to see this blog post yesterday in NIDA for Teens: Concerts and Drugs: Is There a Way to Reduce the Dangers? They don’t come out and endorse harm reduction, of course, but they openly discuss it…

Again, in a sane world, NIDA would be actively promoting harm reduction. But in ours, it’s a breath of fresh air just to see them acknowledge its existence.

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