Media Advisory

Thursday, April 19, 2007

NIDA Highlights State of the Science on Addiction and Mental Illnesses

Special Research Track at American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Conference.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, will present a special research-based program track at the American Psychiatric Association's (APA's) 160th Annual Meeting in San Diego, entitled, “The Science of Addiction: Translating New Insights into Better Psychiatric Practice.”

What: NIDA presentations will address state-of-the-art research questions including:

Why can’t addicts just stop?
Is there a link between addiction and obesity?
What does genetics tell us about the risk of addiction?
Which comes first, addiction or psychiatric disorders?
Should substance abusing offenders be given treatment in prison?

Why: Modern brain imaging technologies have revolutionized our ability to peer deep inside the human brain in order to study its various normal and diseased states. The pioneering studies demonstrating that active brain development continues well into the mid-twenties are a clear indication of the power of these new tools. Indeed, these results could help explain why the adolescent brain may be more vulnerable to the deleterious effects of abused drugs. Another good example is the discovery of commonalities between compulsive eating and drug addiction through shared neurobiological processes. At this major scientific meeting, NIDA will have a special track highlighting the translation of these new insights into psychiatric practice.

When: May 19-24, 2007.

Where: American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting
San Diego Convention Center
111 W. Harbor Dr.
San Diego, CA 92101
Press Room: 14 A/B, Mezzanine Level Highlights of the NIDA track at the APA meeting include:

  • Insights on Obesity and Drug Addiction from Brain Imaging — NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow and NIDA researcher Dr. Joseph Frascella will lead this session. This will take place Monday, May 21, from 2 to 5 p.m. in Room 5 B, Upper Level, of the San Diego Convention Center.

  • The Neurobiology of Free Will in Addictive Disorders — On Tuesday, May 22, at 11 a.m., NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow will lecture on this subject. This will take place in Ballroom 6 C/D/E/F, Upper Level, of the San Diego Convention Center.

Other NIDA-sponsored events include:

  • a workshop on gene-environment development interactions,
  • a workshop on neuroimaging research and its implications for substance abuse treatment,
  • a symposium on the adolescent brain, and
  • a symposium on prenatal nicotine exposure.

Other events of interest:

  • The Road to Equity: Marching Towards a Just Treatment of Mental Illness and Addiction in America — on Monday May 21, at 9 a.m. The Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy will speak in Ballroom 6 C/D/E/F, Upper Level, of the San Diego Convention Center.

Media interested in attending any session at the APA's annual meeting must be accredited by the APA. Reporters can pick up credentials in the APA's Press Room at the San Diego Convention Center.

For more information or to arrange an interview with NIDA staff, call NIDA press officers Dorie Hightower or Sara Rosario Wilson at 301-443-6245 or e-mail your request to

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 ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and 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

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

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®