NIH Director Creates Task Force for NIDA and NIAAA Consolidation
After receiving a formal recommendation by the NIH Scientific Management Review Board, NIH Director Francis Collins has asked two senior staff members to organize a task force to look at consolidating research programs on substance use, abuse and addiction into one institute.
“The formation of a single, new institute devoted to such research makes scientific sense and would enhance NIH’s efforts to address the substance abuse and addiction problems that take such a terrible toll on our society,” Collins stated in a news release.
Collins’ directive followed SMRB’s November 15, 2010, recommendation to integrate the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and other related NIH institutes and centers.
NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., and National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Director Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., have been tasked with assembling experts from within NIH to serve on the task force.
Collins said he expects the task force to produce a detailed reorganization plan by the summer of 2011. A number of scientific societies are writing Collins to ask him to consider a “core set of guiding principles” as he moves forward. These include ensuring that overall funding levels for substance use, abuse and addiction research are at least maintained in the proposed reorganization.