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PBS Series Examines Drug Addiction, Treatment

Commentator Bill Moyers explores drug addiction and recovery in a new 5-part series premiering Mar. 29 on PBS television stations nationwide. Moyers on Addiction: Close to Home is a comprehensive look at the science enhancing our understanding of drug addiction, prevention and treatment. The series features research, staff and grantees of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Moyers is well known for his probing documentaries on sensitive issues such as Healing and the Mind and The Great Health Care Debate.

"We are extremely glad to be part of this project," said NIDA director Dr. Alan Leshner of the Close to Home series. "NIDA's mission is to conduct research on the effects of drugs on the brain, and then to disseminate findings and educate the public about the risks of drug abuse and addiction. Our participation in this series will have a tremendous impact on furthering that goal."

Leshner was interviewed by Moyers for the series and was filmed as he spoke to a diverse group of students at Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring, Md. Leshner discusses the science that has led researchers to an understanding of drug addiction as a chronic, relapsing illness. During the Eastern Middle School segment, students candidly share their experiences and concerns about drug abuse and addiction as Leshner presents key NIDA research findings. Dr. Steve Hyman, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, is also featured in the series, talking about his addiction research.

NIDA also is part of a national outreach campaign accompanying the Moyers series. The campaign includes a variety of activities for communities, PBS stations nationwide, and national organizations to challenge outdated perceptions of addiction. NIDA's research is used in a printed viewers' guide and student guide distributed with the campaign materials.

As part of this outreach, WNET in New York has already featured Leshner in a nationwide satellite town meeting, held Feb. 26. The meeting, directed by Public Affairs Television, was an open forum with community leaders and health care professionals presenting scientific facts about drug abuse and addiction.

The local broadcast schedule on WETA/MPT for Moyers on Addiction: Close to Home is as follows: Portrait of Addiction -- Sunday, Mar. 29, 9-10 p.m.; The Hijacked Brain -- Sunday, Mar. 29, 10-11 p.m.; Changing Lives -- Monday, Mar. 30, 9-10:30 p.m.; The Next Generation -- Tuesday, Mar. 31, 9-10 p.m.; The Politics of Addiction -- Tuesday, Mar. 31, 10-11 p.m.

The series will be repeated; check local PBS listings for replays in the Washington-Baltimore area.

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