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In this issue of Science & Practice Perspectives, a dialogue between researcher Dr. Linda Chang and clinical psychiatrist Dr. Paul Linde provides a prime example of how bringing together a researcher’s conceptual framework and a skillful clinician’s understanding of clinical nuance stimulates and enriches both. Together, Chang and Linde consider whether the results to date from non-invasive brain imaging studies might support his use of certain medications with methamphetamine abusers. Ultimately, they conclude that the findings appear consistent with Linde’s use of some of the medications, raise concerns about others, and can’t strictly endorse any. Along the way, the colloquy identifies two good opportunities for research studies and appropriate messages to give patients based on imaging studies.
If Chang and Linde’s discussion exemplifies the depth of integration now occurring between research and clinical practice in drug abuse, the overall contents of the journal indicate its breadth. Topics range from clinical interventions to the challenges of making organizational changes and of laying a foundation for systemic change. The research-practice engagement evident in Perspectives reflects a broad maturity of collaborative solution-seeking in the treatment of drug abuse. To cite some examples:
There always will be some degree of divergence between research and clinical practice in the treatment of substance abuse, because the two enterprises have different natures. Communication across this gap is critical to achieve the common goal of reducing drug abuse and addiction, and their health and social consequences. The growing maturity of that communication, evident in this journal, increases hope for patients, their families, and the Nation.