NIH Announces It Will Not Create Single Institute Devoted to Addiction

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced it will not pursue the proposed creation of a single institute devoted to substance use, abuse and addictions. The proposal would have dissolved the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and replaced it with a single body, according to the Nature News Blog.

NIH Director Francis Collins said in a statement that instead of dissolving the two institutes, he will seek their “functional integration,” along with related research in the NIH’s other institutes. NIDA has an annual budget of $1 billion, while NIAAA’s budget is $459 million, the article notes.

Citing budget uncertainties, Collins noted, “The time, energy, and resources required for a major structural reorganization are not warranted, especially given that functional integration promises to achieve equivalent scientific and public health objectives.”

In June, Collins told his committee of external advisers that leaders in the alcoholic beverage industry were concerned about the new single institute. According to the article, the industry’s opposition suggested it was not comfortable with a single body that would more closely align the public’s perception of alcohol consumption and abuse with drug addiction.

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    Michael Rizzi

    November 20, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Maybe I’m misinterpreting, but Mr. Collins’ comments in June regarding the alcoholic beverage industry suggest that commerce and special interest are trumping wisdom, science, and reality. No matter how you cut it, alcohol is an addictive and dangerous drug. This doesn’t mean it can’t be used safely and responsibly. However, I find it somewhat disconcerting that a potentially good idea can be derailed because the alcohol industry may get its feelings hurt. I wonder why they even had a say in the matter.

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    Barry Schecter

    November 19, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Please watch the video from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). It is time for the dinosaurs that made a living off the suffering of persons with addictions for too long. Drugs are not the problem; have you ever pulled the top of a weed out while weeding your lawn or garden, and known that all you got was the top. Another feeling came right behind that: that weed will grow back. Addiction is no different. You can’t just pull the top off and believe you’ve succeeded in eradicating it.

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    November 19, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    For just so long that we treat Alcohol differently than other drugs, we will continue to reap the rewards of non-committal, devisive, fifedom management that allows bureaurocrats to keep doing nothing but plan to have another meeting. Very simply, How many people do you know that can drink a case of cola while watching a Sunday afternoon football game? I don’t know any. However, when you add the drug alcohol to a beverage, it is fairly common to watch one individual consume 24 cans of alcohol laced beverage. We have been insane as a nation with our drug policy, or lack thereof.
    One Hundred years ago, all drugs were legal. Think about how much money was spent to put in place a system that monitors drug use for criminal arrest, the jails and courts that sentence and try these folks, keep them alive and cared for by us, and how effectual has this been from changing the drug culture of our society? What we’ve done is similar to the way the Republican Party allowed themselves to be pushed into a corner; no shades of grey, only black or white. So, When will we put equal resources into finding the cause and treatment of hypertension, diabetes, asthma, addiction or any other chronic disorder. There is one huge policy mistake that I hope was made by accident; only one chronic disorder is criminal. I dare say we have the least successful rates of treatment of that disorder. But the most harmful drugs are still sold over counters, legally across our nation, Alcohol and Nicotine, White Man’s Drugs. Mass murderers. They put all other drug related deaths to shame, not even in the same league. But we have cut down on the amount of Americans smoking. How? Incarceration? Nah. Education. When will we wake up?

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    R Lambroschino

    November 19, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Perhaps as fnctional integration evolves, its application to integration of mental health with substance abuse-addiction-recovery public programming can be evaluated: difficulties getting agencies as close as NIAAA and NIDA to cooperate may have something to offer when integration moves on to the bigger problem.

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