NIH Press Release
National Institute on Drug Abuse

Monday, September 29, 1997

Mona W. Brown
Sheryl Massaro
(301) 443-6245

Preventing and Treating Heroin Use Is Focus of National Research Conference

HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala and General Barry McCaffrey, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, issued a challenge to over 500 attendees representing national drug abuse organizations, prevention and treatment practitioners, the media, criminal justice and law enforcement personnel, and policy makers, to use available research to respond to the changing problem of heroin use in the U.S. Speaking to over 500 participants, Secretary Shalala and General McCaffrey delivered keynote addresses at the first national research-based conference on heroin, being held September 29 and 30 at the Sheraton Washington Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The conference, Heroin Use and Addiction: A National Conference on Prevention, Treatment, and Research is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health. The conference provides a forum to examine all aspects of research on heroin use and an opportunity to develop strategies for using science to address the problem. Over the two days of the conference, a series of panels will address the changing trends and patterns of abuse, including the varying consequences of snorting, smoking, and injecting the drug; the biological and behavioral bases of addiction; the health and social consequences of heroin addiction, including its effect on the fetus and implications for HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C; and effective, science-based prevention and treatment approaches.

Other speakers include prominent researchers from around the country, Drug Enforcement Administration officials, and individuals working in the community to prevent and/or treat drug abuse and addiction and its consequences.

Dr. Alan I. Leshner, Director of NIDA, says, "It is time to take direct action to curb this growing problem of heroin use. By bringing together those working in the field and scientists who are studying heroin use and addiction, we can take a closer look at what we have learned through years of research about heroin and develop science-based approaches to address this problem."

NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world=s research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction and carries out a large variety of programs to disseminate research information. Further information on NIDA=s research and activities can be found on the NIDA Home Page at

For more information about the conference or to schedule an interview with Dr. Leshner or any of the speakers, call Mona Brown or Sheryl Massaro at the NIDA Press Office, 301-443-6245. NIDA will be staffing a press room at the conference.