Bill reported that the 2011 federal budget cut $300 million from the prior year NIH budget, amounting to a 1% overall cut, and that the 2012 federal budget, while yet to be resolved, seems to be targeting a budget level equivalent to the 2008 NIH budget and possibly lower.
He suggested that budget cuts are occurring in part because the perception in Washington is that following the NIH budget-doubling era, NIH researchers are doing well, but researchers on the front lines know that this perception is anything but true.
Bill offered some sobering statistics to back up this assertion: the number of NIH grants awarded this past year was about 8700, down more than 26% from a 2003 peak of about 10,300; the overall grant application success rate was about 19%, down more than 38% from the 2003 peak of 30%. NIDA statistics are even more disheartening, with a recent funding success rate of about 15%, down by more than 57% versus the 2003 success rate of about 35%.
These funding cuts fly in the face of the facts that:
- each $1 spent on substance abuse treatment saves $4-7 in societal costs
- 22 million Americans (9% of the population) have substance abuse issues
- substance abuse costs US taxpayers about $600 billion/year
Friends of NIDA (FON) is another advocacy group working on behalf of NIDA’s interests. Bill noted later during the Public Policy Forum during a discussion of the NIDA/NIAAA merger, that even if NIDA is reformulated into a new NIH Institute, FON will continue to exist and simply change its name.
Ongoing activities supported by these advocacy groups include organizing CPDD Executive Committee member visits to Capitol Hill biyearly to hold information sessions with House and Senate members and staff, scientific expert congressional briefings, medications development briefings, and activities designed to foster early career development of outstanding high school students interested in addiction science careers.
Bill urged CPDD members to contact their Representatives and Senators and lobby for research funding, and to go to Washington DC to directly lobby legislators, if possible.
A review of Part 3 of the Public Policy Forum, Discussion of NIDA/NIAAA Merger, can be found here.
CPDDBLOG welcomes CPDD member’s thoughts on this issue.