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National Institute on Drug Abuse

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse

February, 2000


Meetings/Conferences


NIDA's DTR&D sponsored a Symposium on HPA Axis in Psychiatric Disorders in September 1999, devoted to review of the role of HPA axis in different psychiatric disorders, including drug dependence. The reports presented showed that refractory cocaine addicts are characterized by depressed HPA axis function. Likewise, there is a cluster of psychiatric disorders, which are highly comorbid with cocaine dependence (ASP, PTSD, ADHD, atypical depression), which are also characterized by a hypofunctional HPA axis. Blunted HPA axis and stress response may represent a biological factor contributing to greater vulnerability for drug dependence or might be a biological marker of refractory stimulant dependence. These findings will be summarized in a NIDA report on stress and drug dependence.

A NIDA-sponsored symposium entitled "Early Environmental Stress and Biological Vulnerability to Drug Abuse," was held at the NeuroScience Center on September 9, 1999. The purpose of the symposium was to stimulate new research that will investigate how stress may biologically change an individual's vulnerability to abuse drugs.

On September 29-30, 1999, Dr. Walter Royal, visiting Neurologist from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Dr. Jag H. Khalsa of the Center on AIDS and Other Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse (CAMCODA), NIDA/NIH, planned, organized and conducted a workshop entitled "Metabolic Disorders in the Pathogenesis of Nervous System Damage in HIV-Infected Drug Users". A group of outstanding clinician scientists (neurologists, neuropathologists, nutritionist, and others) presented current data on and discussed the role of neuroendocrines, micronutrients, vitamins/hormones in the pathogenesis of metabolic disorders in the CNS of HIV-infected drug users and made recommendations for future research. The abstracts and the recommendations will be placed on the NIDA website soon. An executive summary will also appear in a professional journal.

On September 30-October 1, 1999, Lula Beatty chaired a meeting of the African-American Researchers and Scholars Group (AARSG). This group advises NIDA on the research needs and concerns of the African-American community.

A NIDA-sponsored symposium entitled "Brain Mechanisms Underlying Sleep and Drug Abuse", was held in Ft. Lauderdale, FL on October 21, 1999 in parallel with a related sleep symposium administered by the American Physiological Society. The purpose of the symposium was to present to the audience of mainly sleep researchers work that demonstrated the similarity between sleep research and drug abuse research.

Dr. Susan Volman, DNRB, chaired a NIDA-sponsored satellite symposium on the opening day of the Neuroscience meeting entitled "Synaptic Plasticity in Addiction and Other Changes in Behavior." The purpose of the symposium was to highlight the variety of physiological mechanisms underlying short- and long-term synaptic plasticity that can produce behavioral change under different circumstances and in different parts of the brain. The mechanisms presented included changes in neuronal connectivity, neurotransmitter sensitivity, and ion channel biophysics that alter neural circuit function as a result of development, drug use, learning, and agonistic social interactions.

Rita Liu and Roger Brown, co-chairs of the Neuroscience Work group held a Satellite Symposium at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Miami Beach, Florida entitled "NIDA Neuroscience: Current Status and Future Directions". The event was held on the evening of October 23, 1999 and consisted of a presentation by a representative of every major division at NIDA. The idea was to inform young investigators of the scope of NIDA activities and the participants of the meeting did a fine job in relating their Institute activities to some aspect of neuroscience and the grant process.

A satellite symposium chaired by Jonathan Pollock, entitled, "Model Genetic Organisms for the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior" was held at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Miami Beach on October 27, 1999. The purpose of this satellite symposium was to discuss new developments and opportunities for the analysis of the nervous system and behavior using the powerful tools of fly, worm and zebrafish genetics which may provide insight into psychiatric disorders and addiction.

Drs. Minda Lynch, DNBR/BSRB, Joe Frascella, DTR&D, Lucinda Miner, OSPC/SPB, and Lynda Erinoff, DESPR/CRB, organized a satellite symposium at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, Miami Beach, October 27, 1999. The workshop, entitled "Career Pathways in Behavioral Neuroscience" was one in a series of events on "Early Career Pathways: Opportunities for Behavioral Researchers," was hosted by the Behavioral Science Working Group during 1999. NIDA grantees Dr. Robert L. Balster and Dr. Lisa Gold delivered presentations on "mentoring and being mentored" in drug abuse research. Dr. Miner discussed the NIDA mission and mechanisms for support of research and career development. Twenty poster presentations were included from junior level NIDA supported researchers who have recruited sources of funding from pre- or post-doctoral awards, the B/START mechanism, FIRST awards or career development programs (the K mechanism). The event was well attended and many new contacts were made with young researchers interested in behavioral science.

Dr. Dave Thomas, BNRB, and Dr. Rob Caudle, University of Florida co-chaired a symposium entitled "Exciting New Advances in Pain Research and Treatment Using Receptor Internalization Technologies" held on October 28, 1999 in Miami at the annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. There was a press conference related to this meeting held on October 27, 1999. A recent report was also published on this topic by NIDA-grantee Patrick Mantyh and colleagues (Nichols, M.L., Allen, B.J. Rogers, S.D., et al., Transmission of Chronic Nociception by Spinal Neurons Expressing the Substance P Receptor, Science, (286), pp. 1558-1561, 1999.)

At the 1999 Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience held in Miami, NIDA introduced its Neuroscience at NIDA informational diskette. This web-linked 3.5" floppy diskette contained extensive information on the neuroscience program at NIDA, including contacts, program announcements and an application form. One thousand diskettes were distributed at the meeting.

NIDA held a Town Meeting in Seattle, Washington, entitled "Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction: Myths versus Reality" on November 10, 1999. NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner and NIDA researchers addressed dissemination of results of NIDA-supported research and demonstrated how these results can be used to deal with problems of drug abuse and addiction at the state and community levels.

On November 15, 1999, NIDA's Special Populations Office held a meeting of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Cooperative Agreement Program. Representatives from the four participating schools, namely North Carolina Central, Florida A & M, Howard and Morgan, met with NIDA staff (Arnold Mills, Leslie Cooper, Pushpa Thadani, Cathy Mills, Daisey Parker) from the Division of Epidemiology, Services, and Prevention Research, the Division of Treatment Research and Development, the Grants Management Branch and the Special Populations Office to discuss program progress and Phase II plans.

On December 2, 1999, NIDA and constituent organizations Join Together, National Families in Action, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry launched a "National Research and Education Initiative About Club Drugs". Among other activities, a scientific meeting on Club Drugs: Raves, Risks, and Research, was held for experts to discuss current research on these drugs.

On December 2-3, 1999, Ana Anders, Senior Advisor on Special Populations, Special Populations Office, chaired the first meeting of NIDA's Asian and Pacific Islander (API) workgroup in Bethesda, Maryland. The group's main task is to inform NIDA's Director, Dr. Alan Leshner, on issues concerning drug abuse in the API population: research gaps, information needs in the community, and research training.

NIDA hosted its Sixth Annual Constituent Conference titled, "Putting Research to Actual Use" at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia on December 5-6, 1999. NIDA Director, Dr. Alan Leshner presented the "NIDA Report Card," highlighting NIDA's past-year achievements, research findings, and specific actions taken by the Institute in response to constituent group recommendations. Dr. David Rosenbloom, Director of Join Together facilitated a group discussion among the participants regarding past-year successes in using research. Mr. Jeffrey Blodgett, Coordinator of The Alliance Project talked to participants about mobilizing the field toward action and efforts being made by The Project to serve as a focal point of coordination and resource to organizations and activists in the field. The meeting closed with a discussion facilitated by Dr. Leshner on the future directions for drug addiction research, and constituent representatives provided feedback on NIDA's Strategic Plan.

The first Retreat of the Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Centers was held at the Lansdowne Resort in Virginia, December 16-17, 1999. This was the first opportunity for the seven Center awardees to interact with each other and with NIH staff and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to plan collaborative activities.

The NIDA CTN Kick Off Meeting was held at the Neuroscience Center on November 3-4, 1999. All of the Principle Investigators, co- Principle Investigators and the Directors from the community-based treatment programs from the five awardees were invited to participate. Dr. Leshner provided an overview, vision, mission and objectives for the network. Dr. Tai, Director for NIDA's CTN office led an indepth discussion on the operational infrastructure and management plan for the Network. Dr. Vocci, Director of NIDA's Division of Treatment Research and Development presented NIDA's previous experience on multi-site medications trials. Mr. Gasparis from NIH OPRR presented NIH's human subject protection regulatory issues, Dr. Lawrance Friedman from NHBLI spoke on the new NIH guidelines on Data Safety Monitoring Board responsibilities. The first Steering Committee meeting of the CTN followed.

Mr. Richard A. Millstein, Deputy Director, NIDA, spoke at the African-American Researchers and Scholars Group meeting in Washington, DC on the Clinical Trials Network, October 1, 1999.

Mr. Richard A. Millstein, Deputy Director, NIDA, spoke on the latest research initiatives of NIDA at the Annual Fall Conference on Prevention and Treatment of the Louisiana Department of Addictions, Baton Rouge, LA on November 3, 1999.

Mr. Richard A. Millstein, Deputy Director, NIDA, met with the HBCU Recruited Scientist Cooperative Agreement University P.I.s in Rockville, MD on November 15, 1999.

Mr. Richard A. Millstein, Deputy Director, NIDA, spoke at NIDA's first Asian Pacific Islander Workgroup meeting in Rockville, MD, December 3, 1999.

Mr. Richard A. Millstein, Deputy Director, NIDA, briefed the Secretary of HHS on the findings of the 1999 Monitoring the Future Study in Washington, DC on December 9, 1999. The results were announced at a press conference by the Secretary, ONDCP Director Barry McCaffrey, NIDA Director Dr. Alan Leshner, and MTF P.I. Dr. Lloyd Johnston on December 19, 1999.

Mr. Richard A. Millstein, Deputy Director, NIDA, met with Dr. Christopher Ringwalt, Chair, Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Section of the American Public Health Association, Dr. William Butynski of the section and Ms. Donna Crane, APHA Government Liaison, Rockville, MD on December 10, 1999.

Dr. Timothy P. Condon, Associate Director, NIDA, and Director, Office of Science Policy and Communications, participated in the "Day of Dialogue Workshop" group discussion with the National Health Museum and the Dana Foundation on September 23, 1999 in New York, NY.

Dr. Timothy P. Condon made a keynote presentation, "Addiction is a Brain Disease:" Implications for Research and Practice" at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 46th Annual Meeting, October 23, 1999 in Chicago, IL.

Dr. Timothy P. Condon presented for NIDA/EIC Outreach staff "From Lab to Lens", Drug & Youth: Tragedies & Truth-The Sequel on November 8, 1999 in Los Angeles, CA.

Dr. Timothy P. Condon made a keynote presentation for Mayor Menino's Alcohol and Drug Forum, A Community Dialogue: Principles of Effective Treatment from Research to Practice, November 19, 1999 in Boston, MA.

Dr. Timothy P. Condon made a keynote presentation "Science Replacing Ideology" for the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of New York 3rd Annual Statewide Conference November 15, 1999 in Bolton Landing, NY. In addition, Dr. Jack Stein, Deputy Director, OSPC, facilitated a research to practice track at this conference featuring numerous NIDA grantees.

Dr. Timothy P. Condon conducted a workshop on "Methamphetamine and other Emerging Drug Epidemics for the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, National Leadership Forum X, Celebrating Our Past, Present and Future on December 3, 1999 in Washington, DC. Dr. Jack Stein, conducted a workshop on "The Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment" at this conference.

Dr. Timothy P. Condon participated in the PRISM 2000 Awards Nomination Review Committee held January 22-23, 2000 in Burbank, CA.

Drs. Timothy P. Condon and Jack Stein facilitated several sessions at NIDA's 6th Annual Constituent Conference held December 5-6, 1999 in Chantilly, VA.

Dr. Jack Stein, OSPC, presented a workshop, "Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction" at the Virginia Commonwealth Community Corrections Conference, November 4 in Williamsburg, VA.

Dr. Jack Stein, OSPC, facilitated a meeting on "Research to Practice" co-sponsored by NIDA and the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD), held on November 9, 1999 in Seattle, Washington, prior to a NIDA Town Meeting on November 10, 1999 in Seattle.

On October 9-11, 1999, Public Information and Liaison Branch Chief Beverly Jackson served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Partnership for Media Education in El Paso, Texas. This session explored leadership in media education and the vision for the future of media educators in the United States.

On November 7-11, 1999, Technical Writer/Editor David Anderson, Public Information and Liaison Branch, attended the American Public Health Association Conference in Chicago. He met with members of APHA alcohol, tobacco, and other drug special interest groups.

NIDA staff from the Center on AIDS and Other Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse (CAMCODA), participated in the National AIDS Minority Council's 1999 US AIDS Conference in Denver, Colorado, on November 5-8, 1999. Dr. Henry (Skip) Francis, Director, CAMCODA and Dr. Jag H. Khalsa planned, organized and conducted a seminar on: Health Care/Primary Care Access & Utilization by HIV-infected Drug Abusing High-Risk Minority Populations. A group of clinicians/scientists discussed the epidemiology of drug abuse and HIV infection; issues of access and utilization of primary care including the national and international perspectives, adherence and compliance to treatment regimens and interventions applicable to at-risk and minority populations. The abstracts will be placed on the NIDA website and a brief executive summary will be published in a professional journal.

On November 3-4, 1999, Lula Beatty, participated in a conference on "Ethnic Drinking on College Campuses" sponsored by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention in Bethesda, MD.

On September 28, 1999, Lula Beatty presented a session on drug abuse research and research careers to members in an undergraduate health careers society at the University of Maryland, College Park.

On September 20, 1999, Lula Beatty presented a session on drug abuse research opportunities for HBCUs as part of the Federal government's HBCU Week activities in Washington, DC.

In October 1999, Lula Beatty served as a reviewer for proposals submitted to Division 45 (Ethnic and Minority Affairs) for presentation at the 2000 American Psychological Association's convention.

In October 1999, Lula Beatty served as a reviewer for proposals submitted for presentation at the Head Start Research Conference.

On December 9-10, 1999, as a representative of the Special Populations Office, Arnold Mills, chaired a technical assistance workshop for faculty and staff of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Bethesda, Maryland. This workshop was designed to increase participants' knowledge of research application preparation, encourage participants to work independently while utilizing resources and increase participants' knowledge about NIDA staff, research programs and funding mechanisms available to faculty and staff from HBCUs.

Dr. Cora Lee Wetherington moderated the "Focus on Women and Drug Abuse Forum" at the annual conference of the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of New York State, Lake George, NY, November 14-17, 1999. In the forum, she gave a talk on women, gender, and drug abuse.

Dr. Jaylan Turkkan gave several tobacco use-related presentations. The first, given on November 8, 1999, was a Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco meeting co-hosted by the CDC, NIDA, NCI and RWJF entitled "Meeting on Methodology and Outcome Measures for Tobacco Use Cessation." The second, given on December 2, 1999, was a presentation of NIDA's tobacco use research portfolio to the Health Subcommittee of the United Kingdom's House of Parliament.

Dr. Frank Vocci presented the Plenary lecture, "Medications in the Pipeline" at the California Society of Addiction Medicine Meeting at Marina del Ray, California, on October 7, 1999.

Dr. Frank Vocci presented an overview on "Ibogaine" at the California Society of Addiction Medicine Meeting at Marina del Ray, California, October 9, 1999.

Dr. Frank Vocci presented Grand Rounds at the UCLA, Department of Psychiatry, California, November 2, 1999. The title of his presentation was: "Approaches to the Development of Medications for Cocaine Dependence: How Science Informs the Process."

Dr. Frank Vocci gave a presentation, "NIDA's Role in the Development of Ibogaine" at the New York University Conference on Ibogaine, November 5-6, 1999.

Dr. Frank Vocci presented a plenary lecture, "New Medications Development and Treatment" at the Town Meeting: Understanding Drug Abuse & Addiction Myths vs. Reality in Seattle, Washington, November 10, 1999. Dr. Celeste Napier of Loyola University of Chicago was a co-presenter in this session. Her presentation was titled, "Brain Targets of Drugs of Abuse."

Dr. Frank Vocci, Director of DTR&D, and Dr. Andrew Saxon of the Seattle VA Medical Center presented at a workshop "Pharmacotherapies/New Addiction Treatment Medications" at the Town Meeting: Understanding Drug Abuse & Addition Myths vs. Reality in Seattle, Washington, November 10, 1999.

Dr. Frank Vocci presented a lecture, " Medications Development in Cocaine Dependence: Role of Imaging Technologies in the Development Process" at an ACNP symposium, The Emerging Role of Imaging in CNS Drug Development, Acapulco, Mexico, December 15, 1999.

On November 9, 1999, Lisa Onken, Ph.D., DTR&D, presented an overview of NIDA's program of research on behavioral treatment in Seattle, Washington, at the meeting, "Bridging the Gap between Research Policy, and Practice," a meeting co-sponsored by NIDA and NASADAD.

On November 9, 1999, Lisa Onken, Ph.D. gave a presentation on NIDA's Behavioral Therapies Development Program to Dr. G. Alan Marlatt and his research team at the Addictive Behavior Research Center at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.

On November 5, 1999, Dorynne Czechowicz, M.D., DTR&D, chaired a symposium on Adolescent Substance Abuse at the American Society of Addiction Medicine State-of-the-Art meeting in Washington, D.C.

On June 18, 1999, Dorynne Czechowicz, M.D. participated in a planning meeting for the "Substance Abuse Regional Training Project" at the Office of Minority Health in Rockville, Maryland.

Drs. Steven Grant and Joseph Frascella, DTR&D, represented NIDA at the dedication of the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology, and they also attended a one-day symposium on pediatric neuroimaging held in conjunction with the dedication at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York, October 8-10, 1999.

Dr. Steven Grant represented NIDA at the annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society in Los Angeles, November 19-21, 1999.

Dr. Nora Chiang, DTR&D, presented the NIH Small Business funding programs (SBIR and STTR) at the annual meeting of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, November 14-18, 1999 in New Orleans, LA.

Dr. Deborah Leiderman, DTR&D, gave a presentation on Trial Design and Outcome Measures in Trials for Cocaine Dependence at a joint CPDD/NIDA/FDA meeting on Outcome Measures in Substance Abuse and Dependence, April 1999. Dr. Leiderman also co-chaired the workgroup on cocaine trial outcomes that ultimately resulted in the development of a position paper.

Dr. Meyer Glantz, DESPR, presented a paper entitled "Pathways to Drug Abuse: Predisposing and Protective Factors" to the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions (CADCA) National Leadership Forum X, Washington, D.C., December 1999. The presentation reviewed the research literature and discussed the practical prevention and treatment implications of research on the origins of drug abuse.

Dr. Elizabeth Robertson, DESPR, presented a paper at the12th Annual National Research Conference Prevention Network of the National Prevention Network in Buffalo New York on September 14, 1999. Her presentation was titled "New Directions in Prevention Research" and highlighted the need to develop greater understanding of what makes efficacious prevention strategies successful, for whom and under what conditions.

On December 9, 1999, Ms. Susan David gave a presentation at the 1999 NIH Public Education Forum on Evaluating Mass Media Campaigns. Ms. David presented seven basic questions to be considered in designing an evaluation, and used the NIDA evaluation as an example of how it can be done. Participants included 150 public information staff from NIDA and other Federal agencies.

Dr. Elizabeth Robertson participated in the "Implementation Research: Critical Issues for Future Practice meeting" at Pennsylvania State University on October 10-11, 1999. Recommendations for implementing school-based prevention programming were developed.

As part of her responsibilities on the PHS/CDC/SAMHSA Alcohol Coordinating Team, Dr. Elizabeth Robertson developed a schema for classifying interventions that will be used in the forthcoming chapter reviewing alcohol prevention programs and strategies.

Dr. Bennett Fletcher, Chief, SRB, DESPR, made a presentation at a NIDA-NASADAD-sponsored meeting in Seattle, November 9, 1999.

Dr. Jerry Flanzer, SRB, DESPR, was a keynote speaker (Substance Abuse Treatment and Services Research within ASFA (Adoption and Safe Families Act) Timelines) and workshop leader at the Third National Meeting of States: Sharing Best Practices for Safety, Permanency and Child Well-Being held September 27-28, 1999 in Key Biscayne, Florida. This is a conference led by the National Resource Center for Family Practice targeted at the chief administrators/directors of state child welfare and child protection programs and departments across the nation.

William J. Bukoski, Ph.D., DESPR, represented NIDA at the meeting of the Steering Group/Advisory Committee for the Maryland-ONDCP Partnership. Dr. Bukoski serves as NIDA's representative to the State of Maryland's Youth Drug Use Working Group. The meeting was held at ONDCP, Washington, D.C. The purpose of the meeting was to present and discuss recommendations for action submitted by the State of Maryland's Juvenile Offender, Adult Offender, and Youth Drug Use Working Groups. The meeting was co-chaired by John Carnevale, ONDCP, and Adam Gelb, Lt. Governor's Office, State of Maryland.

In October 1999, at the first meeting of the newly created Cognitive Development Society, Dr. Teri Levitin, Director, OEPR, joined Dr. Herb Weingartner from the NIDA Behavioral Sciences Research Branch to present NIDA's program on cognition. They were on a panel with several other NIH and foundation representatives interested in supporting cognitive development research.

Drs. William Grace, Deputy Director, OEPR, and Teresa Levitin, Director, OEPR, presented a poster and information session at the Society of Research Administrators in Denver, CO on October 18-19, 1999. The session, titled "Enhancing Faculty Involvement in NIH Grant Review," addressed ways in which university and sponsored projects officials could facilitate scientists' involvement in peer review.

Mr. Richard Harrison, Chief, Contracts Review Branch, participated in the annual conference of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, which was held in Minneapolis in November 1999. He participated in recruitment activities and in a workshop on NIH opportunities for employment and funding.

The OEPR and the Neuroscience Consortium Workgroup, NeuroAIDS subcommittee, co-chaired by Drs. Rita Liu and Lynda Erinoff, held a workshop on November 1, 1999 at the Neuroscience Center on "Applications of Animal Models of NeuroAIDS to Drug Abuse Research." SIV/primate, FIV/feline, SCID, and leukocyte models were discussed.

Dr. David A. Gorelick, IRP, gave an invited presentation on "Cocaine Craving and Relapse: Role of Mu Opiate Receptors," at the American Society of Addiction Medicine State of the Art Conference, Washington, D.C., November 4, 1999.


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