MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito and the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health (NIDA), Dr. Nora Volkow, visited West Virginia University’s (WVU) Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) along with Director Dr. Ali Rezai today.
The visit included a presentation delivered by Dr. Volkow on the national opioid crisis, namely the drug fentanyl, and an overview of “the RNI’s efforts for innovation solutions to combat Substance Use Disorder and discuss how others can support NIDA’s mission to advance science,” by Dr. Rezai.
“It is an honor to host Dr. Volkow, the NIDA team, and Senator Capito at the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute to share the progress that we are making in addiction research and treatment.” Dr. Rezai said.” Dr. Volkow spoke about the increasing need to address addiction in new and bold ways. The WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute is using innovative technology to advance the science and treatment of addiction.”
Dr. Volkow’s work involves brain imaging to “investigate how substance use affects brain functions.” Her research has documented that “changes in the dopamine system affect the functions of frontal brain regions involved with reward and self-control in addiction.”
West Virginia recorded 1,296 drug overdose deaths in 2020, most of which involved Fentanyl and Methamphetamine.
“Dr. Volkow’s work over the course of her impressive career in demonstrating the drug addiction is a brain disorder has laid the foundation for many of the research projects we are seeing here today at WVU—led by Dr. Rezai and others,” Senator Capito said. “Unfortunately, far too many of us here in West Virginia are too familiar with addiction and its consequences. Our rising overdose numbers show exactly why the work Dr. Volkow is leading at NIDA is so important to the world and to West Virginia.”