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Drugs & Health Blog

Reflecting on Experiences as a NIDA Fall Intern

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.
Carl M. Letamendi, M.B.A., Ph.D. (ABD)

I am finishing my Ph.D. in May 2014 in a field housed under the umbrella of social sciences, called conflict analysis and resolution. The field provides the foundation and skills necessary to identify areas of conflict and resolve them without the need for taking legal action. The goal is to ensure that there is a win-win outcome for the parties in dispute.

I have always been interested in conducting research in the field of health sciences as well and had planned to attend medical school after my Ph.D. program is complete. Last fall, I had a chance to intern with NIDA, where I had a personal, professional, and academic epiphany.

Having the opportunity to intern at NIDA helped me realize what I want to study after I finish my degree program; the field of public health.

Interning at NIDA allowed me the opportunity to connect with people who are already researching what I want to research in the future and has also helped me clarify the academic path that I have to follow, which will save me nearly a decade of post-doctoral education (i.e., no medical school and residency)!

While at NIDA, I noticed that public health, specifically substance abuse in our society, causes a lot of conflict (such as relationship and family conflicts, financial conflicts, and legal conflicts). Public health also provides many avenues for research and discovery, as well as for creating tools that can help practitioners to assist people who are addicted to drugs.

If you would like to drop me a line or ask me further questions on how my internship at NIDA helped in furthering my passion for public health research, please feel free to email me at!

When drugs are used, they make you slow. The more you learn, the more you grow!

Read more blog posts from past NIDA interns: Zofia, Joanna, Yamini, Sharlett, Michael, Yvonne, Sarah, and Giselle.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


As my 20 year old continues to experiment with different drugs, i see his cognitive ability diminish a lot. The really smart sharp as a tack son i had just 3 years ago has lost alot of that brain due to his use of acid, pot (since 14) benzos ie, xanax, klonopins, and rumored methamphetamine. If only i could get through to him. If only he could see what I see. If he keeps it up he is going to wind up on disability, which is no life for a young adult. He has a young 2 year old daughter. What is it going to be for her to grow up without a father or with a father that everyone knows is mentally disabled due to his use of drugs.
Nah fam you lying