Top: Briefing moderator Charles O’Keeffe takes questions from the audience. Bottom: Briefing participants Drs. Michael E. Kilpatrick, Wilson M. Compton, Charles O’Keeffe, Abigail Gewirtz and Kathleen M. Carroll. (credit: Charles Votaw)Research on substance abuse among service members, veterans and their families was the focus of a March 11 congressional briefing coordinated by APA's Science Directorate Government Relations Office on behalf of the Friends of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

More than 100 congressional staff, federal agency staff and members of the science community attended the briefing, which sought to educate policy-makers about NIDA-funded initiatives and advances in the area.

Speakers included:

Michael E. Kilpatrick, MD, of the Department of Defense, who outlined the department's development of research-based methods to reduce substance abuse, as well as current programs such as resilience training used by the Army and Marine Corps.

Wilson M. Compton, MD, of NIDA, who presented the institute's research on war stressors and substance use as well as data on prevalence of substance abuse in military and veteran populations. Compton discussed how PTSD, TBI and chronic pain may contribute to vulnerability for substance use disorders.

Abigail Gewirtz, PhD, of the University of Minnesota's department of family social science and institute of child development, who presented an evaluation of After Deployment, Adaptive Parenting Tools, a web-enhanced parenting program for military families. Results at eight-month follow-up show that people who received the intervention showed lower levels of poor discipline, better couple adjustment, increased mindfulness and stronger parenting self-efficacy than those who did not have the intervention.

Kathleen M. Carroll, PhD, of the Yale University School of Medicine, who presented preliminary data on the effectiveness of Computer Based Training for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with veterans. Carroll also presented on findings that effective substance use interventions reduce co-occurring problems, including an integrative mode of PTSD and substance use disorders treatment, and discussed how to move evidence-based therapies into VA practice.

—Christine Jamieson, APA's Science Directorate,
Government Relations Office