Brentwood, TN – The College on Problems of Drug Dependence held its annual Advocacy Event virtually on February 16-19, 2021. Nineteen CPDD members and representatives participated in meetings with 53 Congressional member offices—an increase from 2020 where fifteen CPDD advocates participated in 45 Congressional office meetings.

“This year’s meeting was unique due to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” shared Sandra Comer, PhD, Professor of Neurobiology (in Psychiatry), Columbia University and CPDD Public Policy Officer. “More substance use disorder professionals were available to host meetings with Congressional member offices expanding the reach of our efforts.”

During the meetings, CPDD members advocated for increased drug abuse research funding, NIDA-specific Report Language being used in the Fiscal 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill and reducing barriers to research.

Under drug and research funding, CPDD advocated for $46.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) overall and to include a proportionate increase for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). A portion was requested for targeted research on opioid misuse and addiction, development of opioid alternatives for pain management and addiction treatment. CPDD also supported the Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act to support the research enterprise in the rebuilding efforts of the pandemic. The bill was introduced in the House and Senate by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

Under reducing barriers to research, CPDD supported legislation reducing barriers to research on compounds listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. CPDD also supported legislation supporting a less cumbersome registration process for opioid and marijuana research, reducing overall wait time, costly security measures and unnecessary layers of protocol review allowing for private manufacturing and distribution of marijuana solely for the purpose of research. Two bipartisan bills would accomplish these objectives: the Medical Marijuana Research Act and the Cannabidiol Research Act.

CPDD will host the next CPDD Advocacy Event in February 2022. For more information or to become involved, contact the CPDD Executive Office by emailing