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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse
February, 1995


Media and Education Activities

Press Conferences/Briefings

NIDA has participated in the following Press Conferences/Briefings since the September 1994 Advisory Council meeting:

  • NIDA coordinated a press conference for the release of the 1994 Monitoring the Future Study (MTF). The data were released on December 12, 1994, by HHS Secretary Donna Shalala, ONDCP Director, Lee Brown, Education Secretary, Richard Riley and Lloyd Johnston, Principal Investigator for MTF.

  • NIDA assisted in press coverage for the November 29, 1994 opening of a NIDA-funded exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science. Dr. Leshner and Dr. David Ellis, Museum of Science Director, Dr. Steven Hyman, Director of Addictions, Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Bertha Madras, the director of the project participated in the opening ceremony. The exhibit, "Changing Your Mind: Drugs in the Brain," is a multimedia project consisting of a free-standing exhibit with artifacts and information on various aspects of drugs; a 25-minute play that describes the lives of two drug users and shows what cocaine does to the brain; and workstations with an interactive computer program that includes detailed information on neurobiology, treatment, and drug users.

  • On September 27, 1994, NIDA and the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions held a seminar for science writers. The seminar, "Understanding Addiction," featured a team of experts from NIDA and Hopkins who presented knowledge on the biological and psychological nature of addiction, including such topics as scientifically defining craving, the biology of addiction, and treating drug addiction with other drugs.

  • On September 12, 1994, NIDA held a press briefing to release findings from the National Pregnancy and Health Survey. The survey found that approximately 221,000 or 5.5 percent of the 4 million women who gave birth in 1992 had used some illicit drug during pregnancy. Dr. Alan Leshner and Dr. Loretta Finnegan spoke at the press briefing, which resulted in significant press coverage on the survey.


Media Advisories

The NIDA Press Office has issued the following Media Advisories in the past several months:
  • NIDA Releases Data on Practices of Chronic Drug Abusers (November 25, 1994) - Announcing release of the publication entitled Drug Procurement Practices of the Out-Of-Treatment Chronic Drug Abuser.

  • NIDA Issues Findings on HIV Risk Among Drug Users and their Partners (November 23, 1994) - Announcing the release of Research Monograph 143: Context of HIV Risk Among Drug Users and Their Sexual Partners.

  • NIDA Survey Examines Extent of Women's Drug Use During Pregnancy (September 6, 1994) - Announcing the release of findings from the National Pregnancy and Health Survey

  • NIDA Drug Use Surveys: Experts Seek to Improve Accuracy (August 26, 1994) - Announcing a NIDA Technical Review on "The Validity of Self-Reported Drug Use: Improving the Accuracy of Survey Estimates."

  • NIDA Symposium on 20 Years of Progress and Discovery (August 18, 1994) - Announcing a full-day symposium covering the research on the neuroscience of addiction, the nature and extent of drug addiction and abuse, and prevention and treatment of drug problems.


NIDA hosted its annual information exchange meeting with the Executive Committee of the National Prevention Network (NPN) December 1 and 2, 1994. The agenda included briefings by the NPN on committee activities and the annual research conference, and by NIDA staff on the following programs: Prevention Research Branch, Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research, Public Information Branch, and Office of Special Populations. Additionally, several hours were devoted to receiving the NPN's comments on the draft of the Prevention Research Dissemination and Application Package. The NPN also agreed to aggressively market NIDA's drug abuse and AIDS campaign materials as well as the research dissemination videos for practitioners.


The Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC) is developing culturally and linguistically appropriate drug prevention flyers for the following communities: Vietnamese, Chinese, Cambodian, Laotian, Hmong, and Thai. Each flyer (a folding postcard with a map of the appropriate country on the front) contains basic information on the health consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs of abuse.


Videos

The following videotapes have been produced and released in recent months (or are soon to be released):

  • "Drug Abuse Treatment in Prison - A New Way Out." This 27-minute video, based on NIDA supported research, presents two approaches to prison-based treatment of drug abusers in State and Federal prisons. One is a modified Therapeutic Community approach and the other is a form of cognitive therapy. Each is linked to transitional care programs in the community and stresses the importance of a continuum of care from institutionalization to freedom.

  • A shorter 10-minute version of the Prisons video has also been prepared for policymakers (e.g., legislators, corrections officials, etc.), and it will be accompanied by a companion manual. The manual will discuss such issues as cost-effectiveness and implementation.

  • "Drug Abuse and HIV - Reaching Those at Risk" is a 16-minute video, based on the outreach/intervention models developed from NIDA's National AIDS Demonstration Research. The video focuses mostly on the indigenous leader outreach model, developed at the University of Illinois at Chicago, to demonstrate the common elements of outreach and intervention with injection drug abusers who are not in treatment. NIDA plans to market it to public health, as well as drug abuse treatment providers.
    These videos are soon to be released:

  • A video on LAAM for methadone maintenance providers, clients and their families. This video will explain how LAAM works and how it can serve as an additional agonist medication to methadone in the treatment of heroin addiction.

  • A video, targeted at health care providers and child development personnel, on the effects of drug abuse on pregnant and postpartum women, their babies, and the mother-child relationship.


NIDA Exhibits


In the past several months NIDA has exhibited at the following meetings:

  • Third Annual State Development Program; December 6-8; Seattle, Washington

  • Meeting of the Association of Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA); November 17-20; Bethesda, Maryland

  • Conference of the American Public Health Association (APHA); October 30-November 3; Washington, D.C.

  • Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America's National Leadership Forum; October 27-29; Washington, D.C.

  • Annual Meeting of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW); October 19-22; Nashville, Tennessee

  • NIDA's 20th Anniversary Symposium, September 22, NIH Campus

  • Office of AIDS Research's National Minority HIV/AIDS Conference, September 15-18, Washington, D.C.

  • NIDA's Conference on Drug Addiction Research and the Health of Women, September 12-14, Tysons Corner, Virginia

  • Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, November 13-18; Miami Beach, Florida

  • NIDA's presence at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience has increased progressively over the past decade. Originally, the Institute had a small cardboard sign with "NIDA Monograph Series" written on it. This was placed on a small table in the exhibit area along with a few monographs and some program announcements. This year NIDA greeted the neuroscientists (and tropical storm "Gordon") with a 40 foot long exhibit booth, an illuminated backdrop highlighting significant NIDA research areas, a demonstration of our video series, monographs, buttons, and program announcements. In addition, there was a special NIDA Anniversary Poster Session as well as several scientific sessions specifically focused on drug abuse research.


Planned Meetings


NIDA will be co-sponsoring a workshop on sterile needles and syringes for drug users who continue injecting, on February 15 and 16, 1994 at Johns Hopkins University. The purpose of the workshop is to review issues related to this concept.

NIDA will be co-sponsoring a conference "HIV Infection in Women: Setting a New Agenda", to be held February 21-24 in Washington D.C. This represents the first national scientific meeting of its kind on HIV infection in adult and adolescent women.

On April 3-4, 1995, NIDA will be sponsoring a workshop on "HIV Disease Progression: Opioids and Immune Function." This meeting will bring together basic and clinical scientists and epidemiologists to discuss the lack of concurrence between animal data on immune effects of drugs of abuse, principally opioids, and the lack of accelerated disease progression seen in longitudinal studies of HIV infected drug abusers.

NIDA is sponsoring a satellite conference on "AIDS and Drug Abuse," which will be held at the Princess Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona, on June 9-10, 1995, prior to the opening of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence annual meeting. The purpose of the satellite conference is to bring together investigators from the biomedical and behavioral sciences to review the state of research on AIDS and drug abuse, to discuss future research priorities, and to foster scientific collaborations.

A March 8 meeting of outside consultants is planned to review the safety data and information current known about human experiences with ibogaine to advise the institute on the risks of proceeding with a Phase I study.

On March 6-7, 1994, NIDA's Behavioral Sciences Research Branch will sponsor a workshop entitled "Behavioral Sciences: New Research Directions." Participants in the workshop--fourteen eminent behavioral scientists who represent diverse areas of behavioral and cognitive science research--will be "brainstorming" about new ideas and promising research directions that relate to drug abuse.

NIDA's Prevention Research Branch and Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research will be involved in the activities of the third annual meeting of the newly formed Society of Prevention Research. The Society is a professional association of researchers and scholars engaged in the study and advancement of preventive intervention methods as applied to topics in the fields of substance use, mental health, and social behavior and is multidisciplinary in nature. This year's meeting will be in Scottsdale, Arizona on June 15-17, 1995. The deadline for submission of presentations and posters is April 1, 1995.

The National Prevention Network (NPN) will be holding its Eighth Annual Prevention Research Findings Conference at the Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington, September 10-13, 1995. Objectives for the conference include:

  1. linking state and regional alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) prevention program funders and program administrators with prevention researchers in dialogue around research-proven effective prevention efforts,

  2. assisting ATOD prevention program leaders and administrators in identifying those approaches, programs, models and strategies that can be easily adapted to their particular services areas, be they statewide, regional, national or at the local community level,

  3. focusing the attentions of both prevention researchers and prevention program administrators and funders on the needs of diverse communities in dealing with the issues around alcohol, tobacco and other drug demand reduction efforts,

  4. sharpening the awareness of both prevention researchers and prevention program administrators and funders about the need to conduct and disseminate the findings of prevention research in such a way as to respond to the needs of prevention programs and their administrators, and

  5. providing an opportunity for the country's best prevention researchers and prevention program directors to showcase their expertise in preventing ATOD problems.


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