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National Institute on Drug Abuse

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

February, 1999


International Activities


NIDA sponsored several international activities during the American Methadone Treatment Association meeting in New York in September 1998. An international research workgroup session, chaired by International Program Director Dr. M. Patricia Needle, attracted methadone treatment practitioners and researchers from 14 countries who discussed NIDA research on pharmacotherapies and behavioral therapies for opiate, cocaine, and methamphetamine addiction. NIDA staff participating in the session included Dr. Frank Vocci, MDD, and Drs. Robert Battjes, James Cooper, and Dorynne Czechowicz, DCSR.

The 1998-1999 Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Fellows began their study program at The Johns Hopkins University in August. There are 4 NIDA-supported Fellows in this year's group of 11 Fellows; they are Drs. Amany El Mougy, Egypt; Gabor Kelemen, Hungary; Leonardo Estacio, The Philippines; and Gennadiy Novitskiy, Russia. Other Fellows are from China, Egypt, Ghana, Myanmar, Panama, Paraguay, and Saudi Arabia. NIDA sponsored an introductory meeting October 1, 1998 in Baltimore and a NIDA research orientation meeting in Rockville on November 6, 1998 for Fellows and program staff.

On September 25, 1998, Richard A. Millstein, Deputy Director, NIDA, and Dr. M. Patricia Needle, met with Dr. Yasuhiro Suzuki, new Executive Director for Social Change and Mental Health, World Health Organization, to discuss NIDA-WHO cooperation in the area of drug abuse. Mr. Suzuki was in the Washington area for the regional WHO meeting at the Pan American Health Organization and to meet with NIH and other U.S. government officials.

NIDA welcomed Secretary Herbert Schaepe and board members Dr. Hamid Ghodse and Mrs. Elba Torres Graterol of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) on October 7, 1998 as part of their first official visit to the U.S. Attending for the United States were NIDA Deputy Director, Richard A. Millstein, Dr. James Cooper, DCSR, M. Patricia Needle, Dr. Stuart Nightingale, Associate Commissioner for Health Affairs, Food and Drug Administration, and Mr. Thomas Coony, Department of State.

On November 13, 1998, M. Patricia Needle met with Dr. B@rbel K`ster, Coordinator of International Relations of the German Federal Ministry for Education, Science, Research and Technology, to discuss a possible U.S.-German research seminar on drug abuse and related health consequences to be held in 1999.

On November 17, 1998, Dr. Peter A. Bootsma, incoming Counselor for Health and Welfare of the Royal Netherlands Embassy, visited NIDA with Mr. Herbert P. Barnard, outgoing Counselor who has worked with NIH on health issues for the past several years.

On November 22-23, 1998, Dr. Robert Battjes participated in the health services research task force meeting of the World Health Organization-NIH Joint Project on the Assessment of Disablement, held in Seattle, WA.

Dr. Robert Battjes, along with NIDA grantee Dr. Bruce Rounsaville of Yale University School of Medicine, traveled to St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia, December 4-12, 1998, visiting drug abuse treatment programs, the Pavlov State Medical University, the (national) Research Center on Addictions, and the Ministry of Health. The purpose of the visit was to gather information on drug abuse treatment within Russia and to facilitate planning for an upcoming NIDA training workshop which will be held in the St. Petersburg area in May 1999.

Ann Blanken, DEPR, made a presentation on qualitative research on drug abuse in the United States at the European Monitoring Center's seminar entitled "Qualitative Research - Knowledge for Effective Action, Lisbon, Oct. 29-31, 1998.

Ann Blanken and Elizabeth Robertson, DEPR, and M. Patricia Needle, International Program met on November 16, 1998 with representatives Kwan-Shik Min, LL.D. and K.T. Moon of the Korean anti-drug effort.

Dr. Richard Needle and Helen Cesari, CRB, organized and hosted a planning meeting for the 1999 Global Research Network on HIV Prevention in Drug-Using Populations in Rockville, MD, in October 1998. Participants included international and U.S. researchers and representatives from NIDA, the NIH Office on AIDS Research, the World Health Organization/Programme on Substance Abuse (WHO/PSA), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the DHHS Office of International and Refugee Health.

Drs. Elizabeth Robertson, Kathy Etz, and Larry Seitz, DEPR, met with Dr. Matthew Sanders, Director, Parenting and Family Support Center and Associate Professor, Clinical Psychology, University of Queensland, Australia, to discuss family-based prevention interventions in Australia and the United States on November 3, 1998. Following this, Dr. Sanders led a seminar on Positive Parenting Program, a universal, selected and indicated intervention program.

On October 20, 1998, Drs. Elizabeth Robertson and M. Patricia Needle met with a group of scientists from South America to discuss NIDA's research portfolio, international activities, and prevention programming.

Dr. Larry Seitz briefed Mr. David Teeman, Research Officer at the University of Essex Health and Social Services Institute, United Kingdom, who visited the Prevention Research Branch (PRB) on November 9, 1998 regarding NIDA's prevention research program and the many aspects of good prevention interventions. PRB also developed an itinerary for Mr. Teeman to visit with senior prevention researchers in the Washington/Baltimore metropolitan area.

Dr. Elizabeth Robertson was a member of the planning committee for the International Classification of Prevention Trials meeting, co-sponsored by NIDA and held on December 10 and 11, 1998 in Washington, D.C.

William J. Freed, Ph.D., of the Intramural Research Program, was invited to speak at the Ninth Biennial Winter Workshop on Schizophrenia in Davos, Switzerland, on "N-CAM Abnormalities in Schizophrenia".

Dr. Marilyn A. Huestis of the NIDA intramural program presented the plenary lecture at the International Congress on Clinical and Analytical Toxicology held in Liege, Belgium in October 1998, where she spoke on "Recent Advances in Human Kinetics and Disposition of Marijuana". She also was a plenary speaker for the AUSTOX meeting in Sydney, Australia where she presented three lectures entitled "Safety of Buprenorphine: Ceiling Effect for Physiologic & Subjective Measures at High Intravenous Doses", "Pharmacokinetics of Cannabinoids in Urine", and "Raising the Opiate Cutoffs".


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