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The scientific research funded and conducted by NIDA produces profound insights into the workings of the brain and the dynamic interactions between people, their environments, and substances. Many of these insights have significance well beyond the field of drug abuse, and some of them provide scientists with a sense of beauty that would be well worth pursuing for its own sake. However, we have not accomplished our institutional goal until we find ways to use our discoveries to reduce the prevalence and consequences of drug abuse and addiction.
Our challenge is to create links between the production of scientific knowledge and its application. Science & Practice Perspectives, fostering dialogue between clinicians and researchers, is one such link. Another is our Clinical Trials Network (CTN), in which university research centers and community clinics jointly design and conduct studies on important topics related to treatment.
NIDA’s annual conferences titled “Blending Clinical Practice and Research” are yet another mechanism to unite research and practice. Three past meetings have each drawn hundreds of scientists, clinicians, and policymakers to an intensive program of presentations and workshops addressing a broad range of clinical, administrative, and strategic issues. Participants received advance orientation concerning important breaking developments in the field, for example, in sessions on buprenorphine. To view a selection of some 50 session titles and visuals from those meetings, readers can go to www.drugabuse.gov/whatsnew/meetings/blending2002/presentation.html.
This year’s Blending conference, co-hosted by Wayne State University and the CTN Great Lakes Node, takes place in Detroit on September 27 and 28. Program highlights and information about registration will be posted soon on NIDA’s Web site (www.drugabuse.gov). If you find Science & Practice Perspectives interesting and useful, this meeting could be for you.