R Street Institute names Carrie L. Wade harm reduction policy director
Carrie previously has worked at the University of Minnesota and The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, with research focused largely on the intersection of prescription opioid abuse and chronic pain in animal models of opioid self-administration.
“Carrie is the ideal person to found and spearhead our new harm reduction policy portfolio,” said R Street Institute President Eli Lehrer. “Her scientific background in the biological mechanisms of opioid addiction and interest in how public-health initiatives can prevent incidence of addiction and reduce the negative societal and personal consequences that result from drug addiction is the perfect nexus of qualities needed to lead harm reduction initiatives for decades to come.”
Carrie noted her scientific interests have focused on biological factors that contribute to the progression of addiction as a disease and how the neuroadaptations of an addicted brain can result in destructive behaviors that center around substance abuse or other risk behaviors. It is as a result of this research that she became an advocate for those who struggle with addiction or fear they are at risk for addiction.
“From a societal perspective, harm reduction practices that shift really risky behaviors to more neutral behaviors will have a large impact by decreasing disease transmission and decreasing health care costs,” she said. “However, more important to me is the impact on individuals who engage in risky behaviors. People want to be safe and welcome opportunities that decrease their chances of infectious or chronic disease, and increase their quality of life. I am very excited to work at R Street to bring awareness of harm reduction programs to the people and lawmakers that can implement them in their communities.”
Carrie received her bachelor’s in neuroscience and Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Minnesota and a master’s in public health from Johns Hopkins University. She currently lives in Falls Church, Virginia, with her cat, Mr. Smokie McSmokerson.