Wake Forest Baptist Addiction Studies Program for Legislators a Success

May 16, 2011

NIDA-Funded Workshop Guides States to Integrate Science-Based Prevention and Treatments in Addiction Services with Public Policy and Legislative Agendas 

Four teams of high-level executive and legislative branch decision makers from South Dakota, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia have completed a late-April policy development workshop offered by the Addiction Studies Program for the States (ASP), which is supported by Wake Forest School of Medicine. 

ASP is an educational series funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) that brings cutting-edge, policy relevant research and other expert findings to provide policymakers with an understanding of the science that underlies drug abuse and addictions, helping state governments create policies that will be effective.

David Friedman, Ph.D., associate dean for the Office of Research and professor of Physiology and Pharmacology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, is the director and co-founder of the series, which includes partners from National Families in Action, based in Atlanta, The Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia and the National Conference on State Legislators.

"This program is an ultimate demonstration of how basic research cannot only be used to find better ways to treat patients, but also to change public policy," said Friedman.

This year's workshop was influenced by two federal health reform initiatives, the Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity Act, and the opportunities they give at the state level for funding substance use and abuse programming in the wake of serious fiscal constraints.

"If ASP is advocating for anything, it is for the need for states to address substance use and abuse, and to do so with programs shown to be effective," said Friedman.

Policymakers completed this year's ASP workshops April 28 – 30 in Washington, D.C. The workshops consisted of presentations by principal researchers and other experts on addiction. Teams also participated in break-out sessions where they discussed how to incorporate instructional content into state plans that they develop on-site with workshop facilitators. Teams can also request follow-up assistance over the phone for up to six months following the sessions to help with plan implementation.

Media Relations

Lisa Davanzo: news@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-4587

Chad Campbell: news@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-4587