Experts Present at Drug Addiction Symposium

 Keith Humphreys, Ph.D.
Keith Humphreys, Ph.D., gives the keynote address at the Drug Addiction Symposium.

A panel of local and national experts fielded questions from the audience.

Lisa Brents explains her research project on differential drug interactions.

April 17, 2013 | UAMS hosted “Drug Addiction: Science & Society,” a free symposium on April 15 to teach and discuss the latest drug addiction research, treatment and policy. The symposium featured a national leader on the topic, UAMS faculty members and students and was hosted by the UAMS Translational Research Institute, the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute, the UAMS Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology and the T32 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Training Grant.

Keith Humphreys, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and health policy associate at Stanford University, gave the keynote address, “How researchers and clinicians can make better public policy for people with addictions.” Humphreys provided health policy advice to the White House during the formation of the Affordable Care Act in 2009-10.

“Public policy has an enormous impact on the lives of people with addiction,” Humphreys said. “If you are willing to invest time and learn the ropes, you can make a difference.”

After his keynote presentation, Humphreys led a panel discussion with UAMS and statewide experts including Clint Kilts, Ph.D., director of the Brain Imaging Research Center at the Psychiatric Research Institute; Carole Baxter, M.S., executive director of the Recovery Centers of Arkansas; Fran Flener, M.S., Arkansas drug director; Chris Rule, L.C.S.W., instructor in the Psychiatric Research Institute and behavioral scientist in the UAMS College of Medicine’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine; and Laura James, M.D., professor of pediatrics in the UAMS College of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics.

The panel fielded questions from the audience on topics ranging from the quality of treatment services in Arkansas to prescription drug abuse to physician screening for abuse.

The morning session featured a number of UAMS faculty members speaking on several different topics including:

  • Zachary Stowe, M.D., professor and director of the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute’s Women’s Mental Health Clinic – “Drug abuse and pregnancy: prevalence, consequences and treatment”
  • William Fantegrossi, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAMS Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology – “Emerging drugs of abuse: from the research lab, to the Internet, to anybody with a credit card number and mailbox”
  • Michael Owens, Ph.D., professor and Wilbur Mills Endowed Chair in Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention in the UAMS Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology – “Current treatments & novel immunotherapy approaches to curbing addiction”
  • Peter Crooks, Ph.D., professor and chair of the UAMS College of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences – “Development of nicotinic receptor antagonists as agents for treating nicotine addiction”
  • Brenda Booth, Ph.D., Professor in the UAMS Department of Psychiatry – “Who goes to addiction treatment and why”
  • Clint Kilts, Ph.D., director of the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute’s Brain Imaging Research Center and associate director for research – “The addicted human brain and its development”

Kilts also served as the symposium’s chief architect.

“Our purpose is to be a resource for the community as we all seek to address and solve the immense drug addiction problem,” Kilts said.

In addition to UAMS faculty members, students and staff members presented posters on research projects to those in attendance. Topics ranged from drug interactions to the risk for addiction to emerging drugs of abuse. All poster presentations were made by those in the UAMS NIDA T32 Training Grant Program, which is a five-year grant designed to prepare predoctoral and postdoctoral students to conduct translational research on the behavioral and pharmacological processes of addictive disorders and engage UAMS medical students in addiction research.

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