Skip to Main Content

Nora Volkow

Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health

Volkow, a psychiatrist by training, has spent her career advocating for the idea that addiction is a brain disease, not a moral failure — and working to reduce the shame and stigma that surrounds drug addiction. The worsening overdose crisis has given rise to a more basic goal: saving lives. Last year, the leading addiction scientist called for greater access to methadone and more research on harm reduction strategies, such as overdose prevention and the use of fentanyl test strips, that are based on the idea that abstinence is not the only worthwhile outcome of addiction treatment. Addressing addiction “requires that we not let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” she wrote. “Right now, we need all the good we can get.”



  • North Bethesda, MD


The ultimate list of leaders in life sciences.

View the List