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White House policy advisor talks about legalized drugs

New Orleans, LA Topics ranging from the future of addiction research and treatment to the binational implications of Mexico's decriminalization of drugs will be presented at the 10th Annual International Conference of the National Hispanic Science Network (NHSN) on Drug Abuse September 30 - October 2, 2010 at The Westin New Orleans Canal Place. The conference, hosted by LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, was organized by NHSN Chair Patricia Molina, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of Physiology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans in collaboration with Dr. Diana Martinez, from New York University, Dr. Jean Lud Cadet, from the National Institute of Health, Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola from UC Davis, and a steering committee of other international Hispanic academic scientific experts.

Nora Volkow, MD, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, is the keynote speaker of the plenary session Thursday, September 30 from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the Westin Ballroom. She will discuss how teams of researchers from different scientific disciplines can pool their expertise to accelerate new knowledge about the interplay of individual, social and environmental factors in substance abuse disorders and develop effective strategies for prevention and treatment advances.

On Saturday, October 2, from 11:15 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. in the Westin Ballroom, PBS NewsHour's Ray Suarez will moderate a panel on the binational implications of recently enacted law in Mexico to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of narcotics including cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and crystal meth. The panel, which includes Luis Astorga, PhD, Institute of Social Research, Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico, and Kevin Sabet, PhD, Special Advisor for Policy and Strategic Planning, White House Office for National Drug Control Policy, will address concerns that decriminalization may lead to increased use and addiction among Mexicans and perhaps encourage drug tourism by American users, as well as the potential to increase the transmission of infectious diseases within and between Mexico and the US.

On Friday, October 1, at 4:00 p.m. in the Westin's Terrace Room, as part of a panel Dr. Patricia Molina, who is also the Director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center of Excellence at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, will present information about how alcohol and drugs of abuse affect specific biological systems that increase HIV/AIDS progression. The full program is available online at


Contact: Leslie Capo
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

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