May 31, 2002
Volume XXXV, No. 22



Online help for addicts

(L-R) Dr. Judi Kosterman, vice president of eGetgoing™, which leverages the Internet to provide drug and alcohol abuse treatment services; Gen. Barry McCaffrey, former director of the White House Office of Drug Control Policy and collaborator with eGetgoing; Dr. Bankole A. Johnson, director of the Southwest Texas Addiction Research and Technology Center (START) and Wurzbach Distinguished Professor in the departments of psychiatry and pharmacology; and Nancy Bowman, treasurer and past president of San Antonio Fighting Back, discuss using the new computer program as a tool to expand the reach of the START Center and San Antonio Fighting Back into the environments of more drug and alcohol abusers. Counselors will be kept up to date about cutting-edge research developments from the START Center. Dr. Johnson noted that interactive intervention may remove barriers to treatment. "There are too many people with addiction and only so few centers like ours," he said. "This allows someone to access the program at his own pace, digest the information and begin to seek help." Gen. McCaffrey, Drug Czar in the Clinton administration, pointed out the severity of the nation's drug abuse problems, noting 24 million Americans are affected. Dr. Johnson said the general was most impressed with the START Center. "The general said: How did I miss coming to a treatment center like this? It is 80 times better than the last facility I visited," Dr. Johnson said. "I told him that the foresight and vision of the Health Science Center's president, Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, and psychiatry chairman, Dr. Charles Bowden, have made the START Center a reality."