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Two NIH Institutes Share Emmy Award for HBO’s The Addiction Project

NIH News   National Institute on Alcohol Abuse
and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Friday, September 14, 2007

  Contact: NIAAA Press Office: 301-443-3860


Two Institutes at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been honored with the prestigious Governors Award by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for their work with HBO on the Addiction Project. "Addiction" is a 14-part documentary television series and multimedia initiative revealing the science of addiction, its treatment, recovery, and its costs to families and society.  A diverse group of people who were battling alcohol or drug addiction were featured, as well as addiction experts from around the country.  

The celebrated Governors Award is the Television Academy’s highest honor and is given to individuals or organizations committed to important social causes. HBO developed the series, which includes the documentary, independent films, and a Website, in partnership with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

“This honor reflects our commitment to effectively communicate research results to the public,” said NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, M.D.  “The multimedia nature of this project gave us the opportunity to reach out to millions of Americans with a message of hope.” HBO worked closely with NIH scientists to ensure the scientific accuracy of the documentary.


More than 13 million people saw the documentary when it aired in March 2007. Millions more have seen it through HBO, DVDs sold in bookstores and online, podcasts, Web streams, a companion book, local and national outreach parties and screenings, and prominent local and national media coverage. Much of the outreach was coordinated by addiction and recovery advocacy groups, including Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, Join Together, and Faces and Voices of Recovery with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


The award was presented in the September 8th Creative Arts Emmy ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.  In acceptance remarks, NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow said, “I want to thank the Academy for its recognition, and HBO for its vision in developing this project, which has allowed us to reach millions with our message—that addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease. It does not care if you are rich or poor, famous or unknown, a man or woman, or even a child. If science-based treatment principles are followed, addiction treatment can work, and people can reclaim their lives.”  Dr. Volkow was featured prominently in the documentary, as was Dr. Mark Willenbring, NIAAA’s director of the Division of Treatment and Recovery Research, and NIH grantees from across the country


Currently, addiction affects 23.2 million Americans—of whom only about 10 percent are receiving the treatment they need. “HBO’s Addiction Project afforded us the opportunity to directly acquaint viewers with available evidence-based medical and behavioral treatments,” said NIAAA Director Dr. Ting-Kai Li. “This is especially important for disorders that for many years were treated outside the medical mainstream.”

Each Institute has received an Emmy statuette. The Creative Arts Emmy ceremony will be televised on the E! Network on Saturday September 15th at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT.  The centerpiece documentary can still be seen on HBO's Web site,, and the DVDs and a book are available.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy and improve practice.  Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at


The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health, is the primary U.S. agency for conducting and supporting research on the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol problems and disseminates research findings to general, professional, and academic audiences. Additional alcohol research information and publications are available at


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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