College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD), INC

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The College on Problems of Drug Dependence (Martin W. Adler, Ph.D., Executive Officer, CPDD, Department of Pharmacology, 3420 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140; 215-707-3242; is the nation's oldest organization devoted to the problem of drug use and addiction. It is an incorporated, not-for-profit, scientific organization that acts independently of both the U.S. government and the pharmaceutical industry while fostering an exchange of knowledge and resources across the academic, medical, governmental, and business communities. The CPDD is known internationally as a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for research and training in the field of drug dependence. The CPDD also offers consulting services and, along with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, supports drug-dependence testing and research at several select U.S. universities.

Among the goals of the CPDD are the following:

  1. to support, promote, and carry out Abuse-Li-Ability research and testing, both at the pre-clinical and clinical levels;
  2. to serve as advisor to both the public and private sectors, nationally and internationally;
  3. to sponsor an annual scientific meeting in fields related to drug abuse and chemical dependence.

The annual scientific meeting of the CPDD has become one of the few forums where scientists from diverse disciplines can discuss problems of drug abuse and drug dependence at a rigorous academic and scientific level.

A primary goal of the CPDD is the publication of data on the physical-dependence potential and abuse liability of Opioids, stimulants, and depressants, as well as the development of a new methodology for drug evaluation. These data provide an independent scientific evaluation of drugs that might have abuse liability. A number of scientists from various medical schools work collaboratively to assess these drugs. The data are collated in the Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry, National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD. They are discussed by the Drug Evaluation Committee of the CPDD before publication. Government agencies can use the data to help determine whether a medically useful drug should be scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act to restrict access and thus reduce possible abuse.

The contemporary CPDD originated in 1913, as the Committee on Drug Addiction of the Bureau of Social Hygiene in New York City. In 1928, the Bureau of Social Hygiene provided funds to the Division of Medical Sciences, National Research Council (NRC), of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), for the support of a chemical, pharmacological, and clinical investigation of narcotic drugs by the Committee on Drug Addiction, NRC, NAS. This research continued until World War II. From 1939 to 1947, the Committee on Drug Addiction served as an advisory group to the U.S. Public Health Service (Eddy, 1973).

The Committee on Drug Addiction was reestablished in 1947 as the Committee on Drug Addiction and Narcotics (CDAN), in the Division of Medical Sciences of the NRC, NAS. In 1965, CDAN's name was changed to the Committee on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD). The CPDD remained as an NRC, NAS committee until 1976, when it became an independent scientific organization, the Committee on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD), Inc. It was guided by a Board of Directors with the sponsorship of nine major scientific organizations (May & Jacobson, 1989). In 1991, the CPDD underwent its most recent reorganization and its name was modified to reflect its contemporary role. Now known as the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, Inc., the CPDD has become a scientific membership organization that enables its members to have a voice on issues relating to drug abuse. Sixteen institutions and professional and scientific societies are affiliated with or have liaison representation with the CPDD, including such diverse groups as the American Chemical Society, the American Medical Association, and the Food and Drug Administration.

The members of the CPDD are involved in all the aspects of the effects of drugs subject to abuseencompassing the enormous range from social, economic, and political issues through basic research in molecular biology and the study of the interaction of these drugs with specific Receptors in the central nervous system. Membership is divided into four categories: Fellows, Regular Members, Associate Members, and Student Members. In addition, corporations with an interest in the field may join as Corporate Members. The CPDD sponsors the publication of the monthly journal, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, an international journal covering the scientific, epidemiological, sociological, economic, and political aspects of substance abuse.

(See also: Drug Types ; World Health Organization Expert Committee on Drug Dependence )


Eddy, N. B. (1973). The National Research Council involvement in the opiate problem, 1928-1971. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences.

May, E. L., & Jacobson, A. E. (1989). The Committee on Problems of Drug Dependence: A legacy of the National Academy of Sciences. A historical account. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 23, 183-218.

Arthur E. Jacobson

Revised by Nancy Faerber

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College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD), INC

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College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD), INC