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NIDA

Congressional Affairs, February 2017

Prepared February 10, 2017

Hearings, Briefings, Meetings

  • Sept. 19, 2016 – The Friends of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Friends of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism collaborated to put on a congressional briefing, “Brain Development and Our Kids’ Future: The Adolescent Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study.” The briefing, presented with organizational support from the American Psychological Association, provided an overview of the ABCD Study, the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States, and discussed the implications this research will have for the health and well-being of our nation’s children.

    The discussion was co-led by NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow and NIAAA Director Dr. George F. Koob. The panelists included Sandra Brown, PhD, director of the ABCD Study Coordinating Center in San Diego California, Thomas Brock, PhD, commissioner of the National Center for Education Research at the Institute of Education Sciences, Sharon Levy, MD, MPH., director, Adolescent Substance Use Disorders Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and Kevin Gray, MD, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina.

    The slides from the briefing are available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-vqvlcdExm3dmxDY0huTWNnbk0/view and a video of the entire event is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VE-VGGmvx0I&feature=youtu.be.
  • October 6-7, 2016 – At the invitation of Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY), NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow and National Cancer Institute Acting Director Dr. Doug Lowey visited the Congressman’s district and participated in several community health events.  Dr. Volkow also used this opportunity to visit and discuss several scientific topics with the President and several scientists at the University of Kentucky, where NIDA funds a research center.
  • On January 24, NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow gave remarks as part of a Capitol Hill event titled “New Frontiers of Mental Health and Addiction.”  The meeting, organized by former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy and colleagues, gathered leading policymakers and advocates for a discussion about the future of mental health and substance use disorder policy.
  • On January 25, NIDA staff Geoffrey Laredo attended a Capitol Hill “meet and greet” with Dr. George Koob, Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  This event was organized by the Friends of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and was designed to introduce Dr. Koob to staff from various congressional offices.
  • On January 25, the Friends of the National Institute on Drug Abuse hosted its annual “all groups” meeting, an informal opportunity to meet and discuss issues with NIDA leadership.  This year, Dr. Volkow attended and was accompanied by OSPC Director Dr. Jack Stein, and OSPC Senior Advisor Geoffrey Laredo.
  • On February 1, NIDA Deputy Director Dr. Wilson Compton participated in a congressional briefing entitled “Effective Treatment for Substance Use Disorders.”  The briefing was organized by the Addiction Policy Forum, and was sponsored by the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus as well as the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic.
  • On February 6, several House Appropriations Committee members visited the NIH for a tour.  Prior to the tour itself, NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow had an opportunity to speak with Labor/HHS Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK), Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Congressman Andrew Harris (R-MD) and Full Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY).
  • On February 6, NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow participated in a Capitol Hill briefing focused on synthetic drugs, especially synthetic opioids.  Conducted by the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, the briefing focused on the pharmacological and medicinal properties of these drugs, some of the unique public health concerns they present, and challenges to treatment.  Full video of this briefing is available at https://www.c-span.org/video/?423528-1/health-care-advocates-testify-synthetic-opioids.

Legislation of Interest

It is early in the new Congress, but a few bills relevant to NIDA’s mission have been introduced.

H.R. 331 – On January 5, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the States’ Medical Marijuana Property Rights Act, to amend the Controlled Substances Act so as to exempt real property from civil forfeiture due to medical marijuana related conduct that is authorized by state law.  The bill was referred to the Committees on Energy and Commerce, and Judiciary.

H.R. 449 – On January 11, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) introduced the Synthetic Drug Awareness Act of 2017, to require the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service to submit to Congress a report on the effects on public health of the increased rate of use of synthetic drugs.  The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 664 – On January 24, Congressman David Joyce (R-OH) introduced The STOP OD (Stem the Tide of Overdose Prevalence from Opiate Drugs) Act of 2017, to prevent the abuse of opiates, to improve response and treatment for the abuse of opiates and related overdoses, and for other purposes.  The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on the Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform, and Armed Services.

H.R. 714 On January 27, Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) introduced the Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marihuana Act.  The bill, if enacted, would reschedule marijuana from a schedule 1 to a schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act. The bill would also authorize physicians to prescribe marijuana for medical use in states that allow it. Rescheduling would relieve administrative burden on scientists conducting research on marijuana.  The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 715 On January 27 Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) introduced the compassionate Access Act.  The bill, if enacted, would provide for the rescheduling of marijuana, the medical use of marijuana in accordance with state law, and the exclusion of cannabidiol from the definition of marijuana.  Rescheduling would relieve administrative burden on scientists conducting research on marijuana.  The bill was referred to the Committees on Energy and Commerce, and Judiciary.

S. 207 On January 24 Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the SALTS (Synthetic Abuse and Labeling of Toxic Substances) Act of 2017, to amend the Controlled Substances Act relating to controlled substance analogues.  The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

115th Congress NIH Appropriations and Authorizing Committees