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ABCD Study Begins Enrollment; Congressional Briefing Highlights Study’s Potential

On September 16, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the beginning of participant recruitment for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study. The project is the largest long-term study of brain development in the United States, with 19 research sites positioned around the country to examine “how childhood experiences affect brain, social, emotional, and cognitive development, including those that directly affect classroom behavior and academic success.” In addition to looking at brain development, the study will allow researchers to examine health outcomes, such as weight, growth, sleep quality, mental health, substance use, and injury. It will also let them examine life outcomes and experiences. Specifically, ABCD will follow the biological and behavioral development of more than 10,000 children beginning at ages nine and ten through adolescence and into early adulthood. Participants will be recruited over a two-year time frame via partnerships with public and private schools near the 19 sites. The de-identified dataset created by the study will be shared broadly in an effort to allow researchers to address unforeseen scientific questions.
On September 19, the Friends of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the Friends of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in cooperation with the Congressional Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus sponsored a Congressional briefing, Brain Development and Our Kids’ Future: The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study. The briefing’s speakers included: Sandra Brown (University of California, San Diego), Thomas Brock (Institute of Education Sciences), Sharon Levy (Boston Children’s Hospital), and Kevin Gray (Medical University of South Carolina). NIAAA Director George F. Koob and NIDA Director Nora Volkow served as discussants. COSSA joined 34 other organizations in cosponsoring the standing room only event. Several principal investigators attending the briefing also participated in meetings with their Congressional delegations to promote the project.
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Posted in Issue 19 (October 4), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Congressional Briefing Highlights Research for Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

On June 24, the National Prevention Science Coalition (NPSC), RTI International (a COSSA member organization), and the American Orthopsychiatry Association sponsored a Congressional briefing, Fighting the Opioid Epidemic on Multiple Fronts by Leveraging Empirical Evidence, to discuss “research-based evidence for strategies preventing, intervening, and maintaining abstinence from opiate addictions.” The briefing’s speakers included Scott Novak, RTI International; Terrence Walton, National Association of Drug Court Professionals; and Kenzie Preston, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Novak’s presentation, “Opioids in America: Opportunities for Prevention and Treatment,” addressed the scope of the United States’ opioid crisis from a scientific perspective and potential opportunities for intervention. He cautioned that the crisis goes beyond the number of overdoses and extends to HIV/AIDS, in part due to the lack of needle exchange and methadone/drug treatment programs. Novak also highlighted the role of long acting Oxycodone and prescription pain reliever misuse and the nonmedical use of prescription opioids as a risk for heroin use/abuse.

In his presentation, “America’s Most Trusted Alternative to Incarceration Is Providing Hope in the Midst of the Opiate Crisis,” Walton described the mission and activities of drugs courts, which are “special court dockets or calendars designed to treat those with substance use disorders and help them change their lives.” The courts provide a “public health response to addiction and mental illness in the justice system,” noted Walton. Citing the National Institute of Justice’s Multi-Site Adult Drug Court Study, which found that the courts significantly reduce drug use and crime, he emphasized that the courts work.

Preston described the various treatments available for opioid addictions, including behavioral therapy and medication for relapse prevention, pathways to abstinence, and NIDA-supported research designed to improve treatment in her presentation, “Treatment of Opioid-Use Disorders: Pathways to Abstinence.” She also examined the promise of mobile health technologies on the horizon, including those that measure mood and behavior, GPS, and biosensors.

COSSA is a partner of NPSC. Videos and the presentations from the session are available on NPSC’s website.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 26), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

NIDA Announces New Challenge: “Addiction Research: There’s an App for that”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced a new Challenge/Prize Competition, “Addiction Research: There’s an App for that.” The objective for the challenge is to “promote the development of innovative mobile applications (apps) for future addiction studies.” According to the notice, three prizes may be awarded: $50,000 (first place); $30,000 (second place); and $20,000 (third place).

The NIDA Challenge is enabled by the DHHS IDEA Lab program. Challenge partners include U.S. General Services Administration; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Sage Bionetworks; and Scripps Translational Science Institute.

The submission deadline is April 29, 2016. Winners will be announced in August 2016.

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Posted in Issue 21 (November 17), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

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