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Theater Program Helps Treat Addiction?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is trying an innovative approach to dealing with addiction -- a theater-like program called the "Addiction Performance Project."

According to a news release from the National Institutes of Health, the program is designed to help families deal with addiction, to "foster compassion, cooperation, and understanding for patients living with this disease."

Each performance begins with a dramatic reading of Act III of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey into Night," about a family devastated by addiction.

The reading is followed by a panel discussion with addiction experts, with questions and answers from the audience.

In addition to helping families, the program is also geared towards primary care physicians.

“Primary care providers can play such a vital role in screening for drug abuse, said NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. “Yet, for many providers, discussing drug abuse with their patients is beyond their comfort zone. NIDA’s Addiction Performance Project is a creative way for doctors to earn CME credit while breaking down the stigma associated with drug addiction.”

The premiere performance was this past weekend in Washington, D.C., starring Blythe Danner. There will be shows throughout this year and 2012. The next scheduled performance will be May 6 in Phoenix.

Performances are free, but seating is limited. For more information, go to

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