Sunday, April 24, 2005

U.S. Senate Hearings on Methamphetamine

On Thursday Dr. Nora D. Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse testified before the U. S. Senate Labor, HHS, and Education Subcommittee Hearing on Methamphetamine abuse.

Nora D. Volkow, M.D. is the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Before assuming this position on May 1, 2003, Dr. Volkow was Associate Director for Life Sciences at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Director of Nuclear Medicine at BNL, and Director of the NIDA-Department of Energy Regional Neuroimaging Center at BNL. She was also Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook and Associate Dean for the Medical School at SUNY-Stony Brook. Dr. Volkow received her M.D. in 1981 from the National University of Mexico, in Mexico City, Mexico, and performed her residency in psychiatry at New York University.

Her main area of interest is the investigation of the mechanisms underlying the reinforcing, addictive, and toxic properties of drugs of abuse in the human brain. Dr Volkow was the first to use imaging to investigate the neurochemical changes in the human brain that occur during drug addiction. Her studies have documented a decrease in function of the dopamine system in addicted subjects that is associated with a disruption in function of frontal brain regions involved in motivation and drive. Her work has also focused on the investigation of the neurochemical mechanisms responsible for intersubject variability in response to drugs of abuse and its potential link to vulnerability to drug abuse and alcoholism.

Her testimony before the Committe is here:

Her conclusions:

In closing, I would like to say that as someone who has spent almost 25 years studying the effects of psychostimulants on the brain, I am particularly concerned about the methamphetamine problem in this country both because of its powerful addictive potential and because of its high toxicity. One of NIDA's most important goals is to translate what scientists learn from research to help the public better understand drug abuse and addiction and to develop more effective strategies for their prevention and treatment. NIDA has long supported research on methamphetamine, which is now paying off in the development of effective treatments, and it is critical that these treatments become more readily available to those who need them.

Hopefully, the Senate will take action to limit the availability of the chemical precursors that are used in Methamphetamine manufacture.

And the President must direct the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to enforce federal drug, import/export laws, and immigration laws to eradicate large Methamphetamine Labs operated by the Mexican Drug Cartels on American Soil.

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