NIDA Boss Touts Addiction Studies

Editor's Note: Scientists looking for a crash course in effective communication of their research findings should catch Alan Leshner in action. During recent months, the personable director of the Rockville, Md.-based National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has been moderating a series of "Town Meetings" in such metropolises as Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, and Atlanta. In the keynote talk he gives on the myths and realities of drug abuse and addiction, he juxtaposes graphs and cartoons with a

Steve Bunk
Feb 1, 1998

Editor's Note: Scientists looking for a crash course in effective communication of their research findings should catch Alan Leshner in action. During recent months, the personable director of the Rockville, Md.-based National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has been moderating a series of "Town Meetings" in such metropolises as Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, and Atlanta. In the keynote talk he gives on the myths and realities of drug abuse and addiction, he juxtaposes graphs and cartoons with anecdotes, jokes, and research findings (NIDA funds more than 85 percent of the world's research on health aspects of drug abuse and addiction), keeping large audiences rapt.

Leshner supports his central message-that drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease-with such ear-catching sound bites as, "We know more about drugs in the brain that we know about anything in the brain." Listeners tend to nod in agreement when he declares, "Drugs hijack the brain."...

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