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Addressing the Opioid Crisis Means Confronting Socioeconomic Disparities

October 2017
When we speak of addiction as a chronic disorder of the brain, it thus includes an understanding that some individuals are more susceptible to drug use and addiction than others... Read More.

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Photo of researcher working with a pipette under a hood

New Medication Formulations Could Quickly Make a Difference for Treating Opioid Addiction

August 2017
As Francis Collins and I wrote in May, NIH and NIDA are committed to an “all scientific hands on deck” effort to end the opioid crisis in America by halving the time it takes to develop new medications to treat pain and addiction and reverse overdoses. Read More.

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male student sleeping in class

The Concerning Link Between Inadequate Sleep and Adolescent Substance Use

July 2017
Children and adolescents require more sleep than adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) defines a sufficient night’s sleep for an adolescent as 8.5-9.5 hours per night. But according to data from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, just over a quarter of middle and high-school students (27.5 %) got 8 hours or more of sleep on the average night in 2015, and most got much less. Researchers have found striking links between insufficient sleep and a range of adverse outcomes in adolescents, including obesity, poor school performance, and behavioral problems including substance use. Read More.

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Journal special report screenshot

“All Scientific Hands on Deck” to End the Opioid Crisis

May 2017
In 2015, two million people had a prescription opioid use disorder and 591,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder; prescription drug misuse alone cost the nation $78.5 billion in healthcare, law enforcement, and lost productivity. But while the scope of the crisis is staggering, it is not hopeless. By Nora Volkow (Director, NIDA) and Francis Collins (Director, NIH) Read More.

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Image of woman breaking a cigarette

Smoking Cessation May Improve Behavioral Health Conditions (CRAN Blog)

May 2017
Cigarette smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States, responsible for over 480,000 deaths a year. Even though smoking has been decreasing overall, the smoking rate for persons with behavioral health conditions (mental and/or substance use disorders) is about twice that of the rest of the population. Read More.

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Oxycodone pills spilling out of a bottle

Opioid Use Disorders and Suicide: A Hidden Tragedy (Guest Blog)

April 2017
In 2015, over 33,000 Americans died from opioids—either prescription drugs or heroin or, in many cases, more powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Hidden behind the terrible epidemic of opioid overdose deaths looms the fact that many of these deaths are far from accidental. They are suicides. Guest blog by Dr. Maria Oquendo Read More.

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Image showing lethal doses of Heroin and Fentanyl

Addressing America’s Fentanyl Crisis

April 2017
Every day, 91 Americans fatally overdose on an opioid drug. It may be a prescription analgesic or heroin but increasingly it is likely to be heroin’s much more potent synthetic cousin fentanyl. In the space of only two years, fentanyl has tragically escalated the opioid crisis. Read More.

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Photo of marijuana coming out of a prescription bottle

NASEM Report Recommends Removing Barriers to Cannabis Research

February 2017
The new report is based on reviews of research on both the cannabis plant itself and its constituents, but its conclusions are substantially similar to the 1999 report: While cannabis use, particularly smoked cannabis, poses some long-term health and safety risks, there is evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids can treat certain medical conditions, which include nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, spasticity from multiple sclerosis, and pain. Read More.

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Dr. Leanna S. Wenn, Baltimore City Health Commissioner

Improving Access to Substance Use Disorder Treatment in Baltimore City (Guest Blog)

February 2017
Tackling the opioid crisis and overdose epidemic in our nation is a task that involves partnerships among stakeholders at all levels: federal, state, and local governments and other organizations and health care systems in the community. Read More.

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Image of year changing from 2016-2017

Taking Stock of NIDA’s Achievements and Looking to the Future

January 2017
The need for better substance use disorder treatments, better diagnostic methods, and better prevention strategies has never been greater. The beginning of a new year gives us an opportunity to take stock of all we have recently accomplished toward meeting these scientific goals, as well as to set our sights on the challenges facing us ahead. Read More.

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About This Blog

Dr. Nora Volkow

Here I highlight important work being done at NIDA and other news related to the science of drug abuse and addiction.
—Dr. Nora Volkow, Director

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Dr. Nora Volkow: Video Highlights

NIDA Director, Dr. Nora D. Volkow Videos

  • Charlie Rose, October 2017 - Opioid Addiction
  • National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA): Quality Talks, October 2016
    Treating Addiction Within the Health Care System
  • APA TV, May 2016
    APA TV chats with Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of NIDA to hear about her lecture on drug abuse and the opioid epidemic.
  • Kentucky Educational Television, May 2016
    One to One with Bill Goodman: Dr. Nora Volkow
  • TEDMED, January 2015
    Why do our brains get addicted?
  • The World Science Festival, May 2013
    Meet Pioneer in Science, Dr. Nora Volkow
  • Rockburn Presents, November 2012
    Dr. Nora Volkow
  • Brookhaven National Laboratory WBNL Video, October 2012
    Chemistry celebration: FDG: Contribution to Our Understanding of Addiction
  • CBS 60 Minutes, April 2012
    Hooked: Why Bad Habits Are Hard to Break 
  • Science Times, June 2011
    Dr. Nora Volkow