News Release

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

NIDA Director Honored By French Government With Top Science Award for Addiction Research

International Inserm Award to be given in Paris December 17th.

Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, has been awarded the International Prize from the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) for her pioneering work in brain imaging and addiction science. Dr. Volkow will receive the award at a Dec. 17 ceremony at the College of France learning center in Paris.

Inserm, a government-supported biomedical research organization, is the French equivalent of the National Institutes of Health. Each year, it honors researchers for their contributions to basic and clinical research that enhance public health. Dr. Volkow's selection acknowledges her innovative imaging research showing drug addiction to be a disease of the brain that usurps the reward circuitry and leads to compulsive behaviors.

"I'm deeply honored to receive the Inserm award and gratified that the innovative tools available to addiction scientists are allowing us to literally see the effects of drug abuse and addiction on the brain," said Dr. Volkow. "What we uncover will inform more targeted and thus more effective strategies to help prevent and treat this devastating disease."

A research psychiatrist and scientist, Dr. Volkow is considered one of the world's leading specialists in the mechanisms underlying drug abuse and addiction. As NIDA's director since 2003, she leads an organization supporting most of the world’s research on drug abuse and its associated health consequences.

Along with Dr. Volkow, there were six other 2009 Inserm award winners all of France.

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 To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA's new DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or fax or email requests to 240-645-0227 or Online ordering is available at NIDA's new media guide can be found at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): 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. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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