News from the Project Office
I am pleased to report new energy and interest in Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy. Our message is definitely getting through. We
have engaged not only the treatment professionals, but also judges, business leaders, and politicians who strongly support the PLNDP’s proposed new emphasis on treatment and prevention. With renewed substantial
funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The MacArthur Foundation, we have fashioned a strategic plan for the next two years of the project.
Overall, our priorities for the next phase will focus on: (1) educating the public, healthcare professionals, and policymakers about addiction as a
chronic disease, (2) promoting parity for insurance benefits for substance abuse treatment, (3) researching prevention and early intervention, particularly around adolescents, and (4) improving medical education by
working to incorporate substance abuse at all levels of training.
This newsletter is the first of a consolidating approach to keep the PLNDP Physician Associates and the PLNDP Medical Student Associates better
informed of our activities. In the past, we have had two separate newsletters; one fashioned for medical students and the other for Physician Associates. Now we have gained some efficiency by combining them and plan
to disseminate our news more often.
We have established a Strategic Planning Committee which includes members of the core PLNDP and our new outreach partners: Join Together, American
Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), American Medical Student Association (AMSA), American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ACOG), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Society of General Internal Medicine
(SGIM), and Society for Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM). This Strategic Planning Committee met at Brown University on February 17, 2000. Also in attendance were representatives from Porter-Novelli, a consulting
firm we have contracted with to provide assistance with public relations and policy affairs related to our project. Reports from several of our outreach partners are provided later in this newsletter.
On April 6th, we released the PLNDP Position Paper on Drug Policy, a report that is designed to promote the PLNDP consensus and our
recommendations for change. The report has already been sent to every member of Congress with a cover letter signed by the principle health officials of the Reagan and Clinton administration, PLNDP members Drs.
Edward Brandt, Jr. and Philip R. Lee. This report and the cover letter that accompanied it continues to make the point that we are evidence-based, not ideologically-based, and—to the extent that partisanship reigns
in the political system—we are assiduously bipartisan. The full report can be downloaded from our website http://www.plndp.org/resources. This report, including many color graphics, can be used
for a variety of educational purposes. I encourage you to visit our website and make use of it. We’re getting extremely positive feedback from everyone who has seen it.
The distribution of our third video, which was developed primarily for national cable television distribution, entitled “From Hopelessness to Healing,”
is well under way. This video combines footage from the first two videos that the project produced, “Trial Treatment and Transformation” and “Drug Addiction: The Promise of Treatment.” Working with Porter-Novelli,
we have recruited PLNDP Physician Associates nationwide to work with their local cable television network to air the video as a way of educating both the public and professionals about addiction. If you are
interested in working with us to enlist your local cable network to air this video, please contact the PLNDP National Office at 401-444-1817 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To date, we have made no concerted effort to expand the PLNDP Associates, either medical student or physician. Currently, we have several hundred PLNDP
Medical Student Associates and over 6,000 PLNDP Physician Associates, but clearly there are many others that would profit from learning about the project and having access to communications about the project
activities. I urge those of you with an interest in what we are doing to become more active and share the website with your colleagues and encourage them to sign up as an associate, in the “Keeping Informed” section
of our website http://www.plndp.org/keeping_informed.
As we begin to build collaborative relationships with other professional organizations and recruit more associates, we need a more effective mechanism
for engaging our associates in our activities. In an effort to address these concerns, we ask that you complete the enclosed card and return it to the PLNDP National Office or e-mail the information to email@example.com.
David C. Lewis, MD