Remember all the noise about the bad economy and how Congress was passing a "Stimulus Act" to help? The name of this bill is the "American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA)". The idea is to give stimulus money to government agencies, who can then send it out around the country to save jobs or create new ones. As a government agency, NIDA got more than $260 million through ARRA to support more research projects on drug abuse and addiction. Some of that money has already been used to support students who are working this summer in science labs around the country. Here are some other projects that ARRA money is helping with:
- In Cincinnati, 250 teenage girls will participate in a study that looks at how stress, depression, and smoking could affect bone health. Results could help educate girls about how smoking affects their bones, so that fewer girls will start.
- In New York, scientists will use NIDA's ARRA money to see if parents can be trained with online programs to help them communicate better with their teens.
- In Seattle, Washington, researchers will use ARRA money to figure out better ways to help college students hooked on marijuana to stop using the drug and focus on a healthy lifestyle instead.
- And in Augusta, Georgia, scientists like Dr. Beth NeSmith (see photo) will be looking at kidney damage caused by cocaine use.
These are just a few examples of thousands of projects that NIDA will support around the country using ARRA money. Since NIDA is just one of the 27 Institutes and Offices at the National Institutes of Health, you can imagine how many people in the U.S. are benefiting—both people working in the labs, and patients who will hopefully end up a little closer to a cure. The Sara Bellum Blog thinks that's a really "stimulating" idea.