Friday, June 15, 2012

CPDD 2012 Annual Meeting Public Policy Forum Highlights

LA QUINTA, CA – The College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) Public Policy Forum was held on Wednesday morning, June 13, 2012, and Co-Chaired by Dr. William Dewey from Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA) and Dr. Martin Iguchi from Georgetown University (Washington, DC).

The Forum began with a presentation by Dr. Edward Long, Vice President of Van Scoyoc Associates, Washington DC. Dr. Long described what appears to be a very grim picture of current NIH funding and future funding prospects. He noted that:

NIH purchasing power, after accounting for inflation, is equivalent to 2002 levels; there has been an effective “undoubling” of the NIH budget.

Grant application success rates are down to 18%, and numbers of awards are at 2000 levels.

An 8.4% budget cut is possible if Sequestration (cancellation of budgetary resources) occurs and discretionary budget cuts are applied; NIH-wide, this could lower application success rates to below 10% and reduce the numbers of grants funded by 2,300, or close to 25% of all new and competing grant applications. He reported that FASEB commented earlier this year (April 12, 2012) stating that “Sequestration would deal a devastating blow to medical research”.

Ed did note that a delay in budget cuts may occur, since the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has predicted that a recession will occur if the threatened cuts in discretionary programs actually occur, something everyone wants to avoid.

Next, Dr. William Dewey reported on Friends of NIDA and commented on the highly distinguished members of the Board of Directors as well as on their efforts to support NIDA. He also mentioned that when CPDD members find themselves in Washington, if they seek to lobby their legislators directly, he can work with Ed Long’s office to arrange appointments with legislative staff members within a day.

The last part of the program involved the presentation of the Martin and Toby Adler Distinguished Service Award to General Barry R. McCaffrey, U.S.A. (Retired). CPDD President Dr. Scott Lukas along with Dr. Martin Adler and Dr. Bill Dewey presented the award to General McCaffrey, who then offered an address entitled “Taking Care of America’s Veterans.”

General McCaffrey began by remarking that “Problems of returning veterans are real, significant, and resolvable.” He noted that in the most recent conflicts, the widespread use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which can cause unpredictable devastation at any time, promotes prolonged stress, which can exacerbate stress-related disorders including substance abuse.

General McCaffrey indicated that while most returning veterans come home unimpaired, that veterans face increased rates of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcoholism, substance abuse, and suicide. He also noted that underlying mental health issues or addiction disorders present in soldiers before deployment tend to increase the likelihood that problems will be present post-combat. He ended his remarks by commenting that the United States Armed Forces is the most respected institution in American society, with a 79% approval rating, and followed by stating that “We much care for our veterans. They have stepped forward to defend us”.

CPDDBLOG welcomes CPDD member’s thoughts on these issues.

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