The CPDDblog alerts us to the fact that the Scientific Management Review Board [roster] voted 12/3 in favor of dissolving NIDA and NIAAA and create a new Substance Abuse/Addictions Institute to replace the two. In this action the SMRB was selecting from options that were developed by the Substance Use, Abuse, and Addiction (SUAA) Workgroup Charge.
My thoughts on the wisdom of creating a new Institute from the ashes of NIDA and NIAAA are pretty simple.
1-If any Institutes of the NIH are to be merged these two are at the very top of the list. Really, if these two aren't merged, there is no argument for merging Institutes.
2-From a scientific communication standpoint I really like the optics of making it very clear that alcohol is an addictive drug, just like all the others.
3-I'm not buying the "NIAAA's non-brain related portfolio (think cirrhosis) will be lost" argument one bit. Nicotine research is scattered all over the place- the NCI has a huge amount, probably even to rival NIDA's nicotine portfolio. I see no reason alcoholic cirrhosis and whatever else is of concern can't land in other ICs if not the new, yet to be named National Institute On Addictive Drugs.
4-As far as securing research funding goes, I'm not one that is frightened of this. There will be approximately the same sorts of Divisions and Branches and a whole boatload of the same POs retained. My life won't change that much.
5-It will be a big loss that Nora Volkow, current NIDA Director, cannot possibly be selected to head a new Institute. This would be too much like NIDA "winning". They have to find someone new, inevitably someone with impeccable alcohol and non-alcohol substance abuse research credentials.
What are you thinking on this folks? A no-brainer that has been frustratingly stalled by whiners from the NIAAA side? A horrible idea? The end of life as we know it?
As always DearReader, you should be aware that I have may have previously held, currently hold and/or be actively seeking to hold research funds through NIDA and/or NIAAA. I am an interested party and you should read my remarks with that in mind.