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National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 8, 2008


Dorie Hightower

First Addiction Science Award to be Given to Students at International Science Fair
NIDA Teams with Scholastic to Create Award at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

This year, for the first time, three students will receive awards for exemplary projects in Addiction Science at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world’s largest science competition for high school students. The Addiction Science award is co-sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company.

"We want talented young scientists to know that the science of addiction is fascinating and complex, encompassing a wide array of research areas," said NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "We are hoping as their careers develop, they will consider contributing to this diverse and growing field."

Every year, nearly 1500 students from more than 40 countries compete in the ISEF competition, which is coordinated by the Society for Science & the Public. This year the 59th annual Intel ISEF will be held in Atlanta beginning May 11. NIDA scientists will participate as judges and the winners of the Addiction Science Awards will be announced at the awards ceremony on May 15; winners will receive cash awards.

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing yet treatable brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. The science of addiction includes any research that contributes to our understanding, the prevention, and treatment of addiction, and its health consequences.

Addiction science projects can involve a variety of scientific disciplines, including biology, neurology, psychology and medicine. Addiction scientists research the role of genetics and what makes people vulnerable to addiction, as well as the structure and function of the brain and how it is changed by drug use. They also study the behaviors that can lead to addiction; strategies that can prevent it; counseling and medication to treat it; and how our health system can get the best treatments to those who need it. Projects that focus on these scientific questions will be considered for the 2008 Addiction Science Award.

Scholastic will co-sponsor the award as part of its ongoing collaboration with NIDA. Scholastic provides age-appropriate educational information on substance abuse and the effects that drugs have on the brain for select Scholastic classroom magazines, including Science World and Super Science.

"Scholastic applauds NIDA’s ongoing efforts to bring relevant educational materials on the science of addiction and its impact on the developing brain and body to schools across the country," said David Lange, general manager, Scholastic InSchool Solutions. "Our work together in this endeavor draws consistent accolades from classroom teachers who do their best each day to educate and inspire the nation’s 50 million students."

The Intel ISEF is the world’s premiere science competition exclusively for students in grades 9–12, and annually provides a forum for more than 1,500 high school students to showcase their independent research. Each year, millions of students worldwide compete in local and school-sponsored science fairs; the winners of these events go on to participate in Intel ISEF-affiliated regional and state fairs from which the best win the opportunity to attend the Intel ISEF.

The nonprofit organization Society for Science & the Public partners with Intel — along with dozens of other corporate, academic, government and science-focused sponsors — provide support and awards for the Intel ISEF each year. This is the first series of awards given exclusively for projects that advance addiction science. NIDA has developed a special section on its Web site to help science fair entrants understand the criteria for the awards, which includes other resources on addiction science http://www.drugabuse.gov/sciencefair/.

Scholastic Corporation is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and children’s media. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs and school-based book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries, television networks and the Company’s Internet Site, www.scholastic.com.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy and improve practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at www.drugabuse.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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