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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse
February, 1996


International Activities


During September 1995, NIDA Director, Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D., addressed the Ministers of Health of the Region of the Americas, encouraging public health ministries in the region to include substance abuse in their agendas for action. He urged policymakers to make research, education, prevention and treatment a public health priority using international strategies and collaboration to confront the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Ministers were in Washington for the 38th Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization.

In September 1995, DEPR staff Zili Sloboda, Nicholas Kozel, Mario de la Rosa and Moira O'Brien, together with NIDA grantees and Latin American researchers from Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela participated in a planning meeting to develop a curriculum for the Andean Region Epidemiology Methods and Research Development Workshop scheduled to take place in Columbia in 1996. This project is being carried out under a Letter of Agreement with the Department of State.

NIDA's International Program is coordinating planning for a one-day satellite meeting to be held on June 22 entitled "Building International Research in the Field of Drug Abuse," to be held at the 1996 CPDD meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The meeting agenda is being planned by an international organizing group including current and alumni fellows of the Humphrey and INVEST Research Fellowship programs. Abstracts are invited from U.S. and non-U.S. scientists reporting on international collaborative research. Abstract, registration and travel award information are available through the NIDA International Program office.

Understanding Drug Addiction in the Brain, written by staff of the Medications Development Division, is being published in English, French and German by the Swiss Public Health Service. The article is based on a presentation given by Barbara H. Herman, Director, Clinical Opioid Medications Program, at the Swiss Project on Medical Prescription of Narcotics in Thun, Switzerland in November 1993.

NIDA's International Program had wide participation in the November conference of the American Methadone Treatment Association in Phoenix. At the NIDA-sponsored International Forum, attended by more than 100 participants, International Program Acting Director Patricia Needle presented a revised edition of the manual, "Methadone Maintenance Treatment: Translating Research into Policy," and moderated a panel of experts who reported on international issues in methadone maintenance treatment research. The panel included Harry Haverkos, Office on AIDS, Frank Vocci, MDD, NIDA, grantee Mary Jeanne Kreek, and methadone researchers John Caplehorn of Australia, Mark Reisinger of Belgium, and Olof Blix of Norway. The AMTA conference also included an International Plenary Session that featured presentations by Deputy Director Richard A. Millstein, Dr. Kreek and government officials from Australia, the Netherlands and Thailand.

Edward Cone and Marilyn Huestis, both of NIDA's Division of Intramural Research (DIR), participated as invited speakers in the 1995 International Conference and Workshop on Hair Analysis in Forensic Toxicology held in November 1995 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

During November, NIDA welcomed the 13 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows in Drug Abuse from Johns Hopkins University for an orientation overview of NIDA's research programs. The half day program included presentations by the Divisions of Basic Research, Clinical and Services Research and Epidemiology and Prevention Research.

Steven Gust, Office on AIDS, and NIDA grantee Sherry Deren attended the Third European Symposium on Drug Addiction and AIDS in Istanbul, Turkey, during October. Their presentations included reviews of U.S. research on the epidemiology and prevention of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS as well as NIDA's AIDS Community-Based Outreach/Intervention Research Program.

In October, Zili Sloboda, Director, DEPR, and Patricia Needle, International Program, represented NIDA at the Second International Symposium on the Economic and Social Costs of Substance Abuse. The meeting, held in Montebello, Quebec, was coordinated by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and included participants from 7 countries and a number of international organizations. Symposium participants reviewed guidelines developed at the First International Symposium and discussed ways to expand the concept of economic cost studies to the international community.

As part of the U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on Science and Technology, NIH hosted a delegation in the area of health education and promotion during October. Meyer Glantz, DEPR, and Patricia Needle, International Program, gave presentations on NIDA's prevention and education programs.

The joint U.S.-India Workshop on Behavioral and Social Research for IV Drug Abuse and HIV Prevention is now scheduled for March 1996. Supported through a Letter of Agreement with the Department of State, this collaborative scientific meeting of Indian and U.S. scientists has been organized to stimulate behavioral and social research immediately useful to the prevention of HIV/AIDS and to develop effective drug abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention interventions. A group of NIDA staff and grantees will travel to New Delhi to make presentations on behavioral and social research methodologies, and will work with Indian colleagues to finalize collaborative proposals for submission to the U.S./India Fund.

Dr. Zili Sloboda, representing the United States, attended the meeting of the European Epidemiology Experts ("The Pompidou Group") of the European Council in Strasbourg on November 7 - 9, 1995. She presented NIDA supported epidemiologic research findings and discussed the outcome of the first meeting of the International Drug Abuse Epidemiology Network held in May 1995 in Vienna, Austria.

At the invitation of the Portuguese Monitoring Center on Drug Abuse, Dr. Zili Sloboda presented a workshop on prevention programming and prevention research on November 6, 1995. As a result of her workshops and her visit to Spain, the Spanish government has provided support for the translation into Spanish and the printing of one of three of NIDA's monographs on prevention research. The remaining two monographs are also scheduled for translation.

Mr. Nicholas Kozel (DEPR) cochaired the South Asian Multi-City Epidemiology Work Group meeting held in Islamabad, Pakistan on October 30-November 1, 1995. The South Asian Work Group is composed of researchers from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Turkey and is one of a series of regional programs being developed to provide assessment and surveillance of drug abuse with the objective of integrating these regional data into a global perspective. The project is jointly funded by the U.S. Department of State and the Commonwealth Secretariat and is coordinated by staff of NIDA and the Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Richard H. Needle, Ph.D., M.P.H., gave a presentation entitled "Ethnography of HIV Risk Taking Behavior: Implications for Prevention" at the Fourth Annual Canadian Epidemiological Meeting on HIV, in Banff, Canada, December 7-9, 1995.

Dr. Peter Hartsock participated in the October 27, 1995 conference in Washington, D.C. on "Horizontal and Vertical Integration: Opportunities, Limits and the Role of Information Technology." This international conference addressed emerging strategies for health intervention and care. The conference was sponsored by the European Community in collaboration with NIH and other U.S. Federal agencies.

On December 13, 1995, Dr. Peter Hartsock participated in the first advisory committee meeting of the National Council for International Health to plan for this summer's conference on "Global Health: Future Risks, Present Needs." The conference will be held to address new and re emerging diseases.


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