Coalition to Promote Research


Member Organizations 


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"NSF's mission mandates attention to the entire spectrum of science. Emphasizing some sciences at the expense of others handicaps discovery and compromises innovation."

NSF Director Subra Suresh, PCAST, 1/7/11


"Clearly, drug addiction is a serious problem facing our country, and finding new medical treatments is a high priority," NIH director Francis Collins tells me. "I don't know if the critics want us to experiment with humans, or just give up on the problem of drug addiction, but we aren't going to do either."

NIH Director Francis Collins, 8/5/2010


“We are all sick because of AIDS - and we are all tested by this crisis. It is a test not only of our willingness torespond, but of our ability to look past the artificial divisions and debates that have often shaped that response. When you go to places like Africa and you see this problem up close, you realize that it's not a question of either treatment or prevention – or even what kind of prevention – it is all of the above. It is not an issue of either science or values – it is both. Yes, there must be more money spent on this disease. Bu there must also be a change in hearts and minds, in cultures and attitudes. Neither philanthropist nor scientist, neither government nor church, can solve this problem on their own - AIDS must be an all-hands-on-deck effort.”

Barack Obama, World AIDS Day Speech, Lake Forest, CA, Dec. 11, 2006

“When you look at a cursory examination of the title or an abstract [of a grant] you don’t have an idea. That’s why we have peer review...Prohibiting specific grants sets a dangerous precedent for scientific research that has progressed and advanced for decades through freedom of inquiry into a broad spectrum of subjects…second guessing peer-review in this way could compromise the fabric of our public research enterprise one thread at a time.”

Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), Chairman of the House Science Committee’s Basic Research Subcommittee on the House floor, May 2, 2007


"De-funding meritorious grants on the floor of Congress is unjustified scientific censorship. It undermines the historical strength of American science which is based on our world renowned, apolitical and transparent peer review process."     

  NIH Director Elias Zerhouni 6/23/05



"When we looked at the public-health relevance, there was no question that these projects should have been funded and should continue to be funded."

NIH Director Elias Zerhouni

The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/13/04


"I strongly urge the Members to resist the temptation to select a few grants for defunding because they do not like the sound of them based on one paragraph out of what probably was a number of pages of information. It would set a dangerous precedent and put a chill on medical research if we start to micromanage individual NIH grants.  

     This has worked well over the years. We have had enormous progress because of these grants in achieving medical knowledge and giving the public a better health care system. I do not think this body, this committee, wants to get into the process of reviewing 120,000 grants and trying to pick 40,000 out of that group for funding."

Rep. Ralph Regula -- Chairman, House

Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee,

 House floor July 11, 2003


"I have served on the subcommittee that deals with NIH for a long time, and the one thing I came to understand very quickly is that the day that we politicize NIH research, the day we decide which grants are going to be approved on the basis of a 10-minute horseback debate in the House of Representatives with 434 of the 435 Members in this place who do not even know what the grant is, that is the day we will ruin science research in this country. We have no business making political judgments about those kinds of issues."

Rep. David Obey -- Ranking Member, House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, House floor July 11, 2003


"When you look at the impact of sexually transmitted disease, you're talking about HIV/AIDS and many others that affect millions of people and their reproductive lives."

NIH Director Elias Zerhouni

USA Today, Jan. 13, 2004



"Decisions about medical research should be made by scientists, not by politicians promoting an ideological agenda.

Democratic House Leader

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, July 2003




"Here we have people saying, 'I don't like how that disease was contracted, so I don't  want to study that disease.' It's equivalent to sticking your head in the sand. It's very important that the scientific community rises up and objects to the imposition of ideology in these areas."


Alan Leshner, President  and CEO, AAAS, Washington Post, 1/19/04



“Obviously, in areas such as HIV/AIDS, it’s a sexually-transmitted disease, it’s a disease that is transmitted by injection drug use, by a variety of other mechanisms . . . we cannot avoid addressing the issues that are at the very foundation of why millions and millions of people are getting infected. 

Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, June 2, 2004


"Central to the NIH peer-review process is objective evaluation based on a proposal's scientific merit. . . Many would argue that it is the scientific objectivity of this process and the fact that scientists -- not politicians, political appointees, advocacy groups, or lobbyists -- who decide what gets funded, that is in large part responsible for the nation's world leadership in science."


 Rep. John Edward Porter -- Former Chairman, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education in JAMA September 21, 2005.






For more information about the Coalition contact:


Angela Sharpe (COSSA) at, (202) 842-3525




Karen Studwell (APA)) at, (202) 336-5585




Dear Colleagues:


As expected, the scrutiny surrounding research funded by NIH via the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) continues.  Much of the research cited by the critics of ARRA was funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).  While NIH has been working to defend the breadth of its research portfolio and the rigor of its peer review processes, there is concern that the scientific community, patients and communities affected by substance use, addiction and alcohol disorders have remained silent in the wake of attacks on this research. To ensure that the new administration and policymakers are aware of both the community support for substance use and abuse research and the NIH’s rigorous, peer-review process,  we are asking groups to send a message to those in leadership positions so that they are aware that NIH has the full support of our communities.


Your help is needed to send that message to the administration and Congress underscoring the scientific community’s support for NIH’s peer review process and for NIDA- and NIAAA-supported research, in particular.  Policymakers need to hear that the scientific community supports the broad public health mission of the NIH, the missions of NIDA and NIAAA, in addition to our support for the NIH-peer process.   For those organizations that do not interact with NIDA or NIAAA, a message reiterating your support for the peer-review process to policy makers would be helpful. 


Send letters of support to:

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius – fax 202-690-7203 or

Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes –

Rep. David Obey – fax 202-225-9476

Rep. Joe Barton – fax 202-225-3052

Rep. Greg Walden – fax 202-225-5774

Senator Tom Harkin – fax 202-224-9369

We also encourage you to have your members sign CPR's Petition to the U.S. Congress to Support Scientific Integrity.  In addition to  sharing the signatures with Congress, we will share it with the administration.

Talking Points

Substance use and abuse is costly to Americans, tearing at the fabric of our society and taking a huge financial toll on our resources. Beyond the unacceptably high rates of morbidity and mortality, substance use and abuse is often implicated in family disintegration, loss of employment, failure in school, domestic violence, child abuse, and other crimes. Placing dollar figures on the problem, smoking, alcohol and illegal drug use exact an exorbitant economic cost on our Nation, estimated at over $600 billion annually. 


Over the past three decades, NIDA-supported research has revolutionized our understanding of addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disease - knowledge that is helping to correctly situate addiction as a serious public health issue that demands strategic solutions. By supporting research that reveals how drugs affect the brain and behavior and how multiple factors influence drug abuse and its consequences, NIDA is advancing effective strategies to prevent people from ever using drugs and to treat them when they cannot stop.

Just in the past five years, research supported by NIAAA has reframed the understanding of alcohol dependence demonstrating that: 1) it is a developmental disorder that often has its roots in childhood and adolescence; 2) the highest prevalence of alcohol dependence in the U.S. general population occurs in 18-24 year olds; and  3) a large percentage of individuals with alcohol dependence are functional, and some are even leaders in society, and therefore go largely unnoticed by the healthcare system.  These findings underscore NIAAA’s opportunity to fund research that will facilitate better prediction of individuals at risk for future dependence by understanding the complex interplay between genetic, environmental, and developmental factors and to  preempt future problems by focusing research on prevention efforts on children and adolescents as well as screening and guidance to people of all ages about how drinking patterns, especially binge drinking, relate to risks for adverse health outcomes.


The recent boost in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will speed the pace of research, provide jobs, and advance the science needed to address this devastating disease. Research spanning genetic and other risk factors to neighborhood specific prevention approaches to novel medications to treat addiction to translating effective strategies to community settings, ARRA funding will help move us toward a future when substance abuse is viewed and treated in a manner similar to other medical conditions, easing the tremendous suffering that addiction brings to individuals, communities, and our society as a whole.

  • Drug abuse and addiction are a major burden to society.

  • Of all illicit drugs represented in rehab centers around the country, marijuana is most common, representing 17 percent of the people in rehab.

  • More than 18 million people ages 18 and older suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence and only 7 percent of them receive any form of treatment.

  • This includes approximately $181 billion for illicit drugs, $168 billion for tobacco, and $185 billion for alcohol.

  • Staggering as these numbers are, there are series public health—and safety—implications, which include family disintegration, loss of employment, failure in school, domestic violence, child abuse, and other crimes.

  • Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences to the individual who is addicted and to those around them.

  • Addiction is a disease that affects both brain and behavior. Research has identified many of the biological and environmental factors and is beginning to search for the genetic variations that contribute to the development and progression of the disease. Scientists use this knowledge to develop effective prevention and treatment approaches that reduce the toll drug abuse takes on individuals, families, and communities.

  • Increased understanding of the basics of addiction will empower people to make informed choices in their own lives, adopt science-based policies and programs that reduce drug abuse and addiction in their communities, and support scientific research that improves the Nation's well-being.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. Even more importantly from a public health perspective, alcohol misuse negatively affects the quality of life for millions of Americans. The World Health Organization ranks alcohol as one of the top ten causes of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in the United States.

  • A complex disorder, risk for alcohol dependence is a consequence of the interplay of multiple genes, multiple environmental factors, and the interaction of these genes and environmental factors.

  • The consequences of alcohol misuse can affect both drinkers and those around them at all stages of life, from damage due to alcohol exposure of the developing embryo, to injuries, to tissue and organ damage resulting from chronic, heavy alcohol use.

  • Alcohol health services research, a multidisciplinary field of applied research, seeks to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of services designed to reduce the public health burden of alcohol use disorders across the lifespan. It does this by examining how social factors, financing systems, service environments, organizational structures and processes, health technologies, and personal beliefs and behaviors affect access to and utilization of healthcare, the quality and cost of healthcare, and in the end our health and well-being. Ultimately the goal is to identify ways to organize, manage, finance, and deliver high-quality care consistent with developmental needs of patients and their families.




Last updated: January 12, 2011