NCADDThe National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) is an educational, support, and advocacy organization with headquarters in New York City and more than 90 affiliates across America. You may download a history of the first 60 years of NCADD by clicking here.

Frank Seixas, Medical Director of NCADD (then the National Council on Alcoholism) in the 1970s, was one of my early mentors in addiction medicine. I have served on the Medical-Scientific Committee of NCADD since 2008 and was named Chair in 2014.

In 2011, I was invited to initiate and edit NCADD Addiction Medicine Update, a web column on, with the Medical-Scientific Committee as the Editorial Board. I became not only Editor but also principal writer for the column, posting about ten articles a year. You may read the Updates here or by visiting the NCADD website.

Prescription for the Nation

Most healthcare professionals promote the well-being of one individual at a time. Those who work in public health, however, promote the well-being of groups of individuals. The U.S. Public Health Service and the rest of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) promote the well-being of overlapping groups that taken altogether represent the entire population of the United States.
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ADHD—Focus on Adults

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition characterized by inattention, disorganization, and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that consistently disrupt a person’s activities and relationships. According to DSM-5 (p 32), “Inattention and disorganization entail inabil­ity to stay on task, seeming not to listen, and losing materials, at levels that are inconsistent with age or developmental level. Hyperactivity-impulsivity entails overactivity, fidgeting, in­ability to stay seated, intruding into other people’s activities, and inability to wait—symptoms that are excessive for age or developmental level.”
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Nicotine Vapor Now Regulated with Tobacco

Efforts to create electronic cigarettes date from the 1930s. The first commercially successful devices were produced in China in 2003. Electronic cigarettes were introduced to Europe in 2006 and America in 2007. In the United States, regulation of these and similar products became much more stringent in 2016.
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Unnecessary Debate: Is Addiction a Disease?

Imagine two stalwart fans of professional wrestling locked in debate. One holds that the wrestlers are athletes. The other argues that they are not athletes but entertainers, performing in a variety of theater. Both fans are thoughtful and persuasive. Notice that their disagreement is not about the physical attributes of professional wrestlers, or about what they do inside and outside the ring. Their disagreement is about how to name, or classify, the group of people who engage in professional wrestling.
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There’s No Such Thing as a Disease

Healthcare providers are charged with helping individuals who come to them with physical, emotional, and behavioral problems. As they prepare to help, providers usually follow a routine—they get to know the person and their problem(s), examine the person, and, frequently, obtain additional information such as blood tests or x-rays. Prior to recommending specific treatment, providers “make a diagnosis,” which then guides providers and patients to treatment options relevant to the problem at hand.
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From Bar to Bars: Links between Alcohol and Crime

(Mark Publicker MD coauthor)
Crimes related to illegal drugs often make headlines—seizures of substances, arrests of drug lords and dealers, and laws broken to support habits. Crimes related to alcohol are also in the news, but we may have to turn to police logs to find them. Yet alcohol is implicated in 56.6 percent of incarcerations in America, which includes 57.7 percent of inmates who committed a violent crime such as murder, forcible rape, robbery, or aggravated assault. Alcohol has more links to crime than any other single drug. (Behind Bars II: Substance Abuse and America’s Prison Population).
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Best Ways to Chill Out

We pay attention to our senses, which tell us about our bodies and the people and things around us. We notice our thoughts, movements, and feelings. In response to ailments or other concerns, we narrow our attention to particular body regions, organs, or organ systems—back, skin, or digestive tract, for example. But we rarely contemplate the smallest components of our bodies: the cells and molecules. Yet if you wish to chill out, you may want to take into account your brain cells and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)—a chemical messenger that quiets brain cells down—lest your preferred means of chilling leads to consternation rather than relaxation. Continue reading

Curbing Addiction Is Everybody’s Business

Addiction statistics are scary.  For example, excessive alcohol causes an estimated 88,000 deaths per year in the United States.  Deaths from cigarette smoke exceed 480,000 per year.  In 2013, about 100 Americans per day died from drug overdoses.  The annual cost to this country of addiction and other substance abuse—including healthcare, crime, and lost productivity—is over $600 billion.

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The Way of Recovery is Not Alone – Part 1

Addiction damages what matters most. Body, family, career, and citizenship are frequent casualties of the compulsive use of alcohol and other drugs. How human behavior becomes so self-defeating and how affected individuals change for the better has been described from many perspectives. Two sources we might expect to have differing views about recovery actually illumine the same path.
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Medications for Alcohol Addiction are Underutilized

An estimated 8.9 million Americans live at the severe end of the spectrum of alcohol use disorders. Regardless of terminology – alcohol addiction, alcohol dependence, or moderate to severe alcohol use disorder – these individuals satisfy diagnostic criteria for a potentially fatal chronic disease characterized by high post-treatment recidivism. The human and dollar costs of this situation are enormous and touch everyone; yet the magnitude of our collective response fails to match the magnitude of the problem. Continue reading