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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse
May, 2001


International Activities

NIDA sponsored a seminar on Development of Drug Abuse Research Infrastructure in Latin America February 17, 2001, during the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Speakers included NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner; Dr. Steven W. Gust, Acting Director, International Program; Dr. Ivan D. Montoya, Clinical Trials Network Branch, DTR&D, discussing Colombia; Dr. Flavio Pechansky, Federal State University of Rio Grande du Sol, Brazil; Dr. Maria Elena Medina-Mora, Mexican Institute of Psychiatry; and Dr. Diana Rossi, Intercambios of Argentina. The panel members discussed how U.S. researchers and policymakers could learn from the new developments, re-emerging situations, and evolving research infrastructures in Latin America. Presenters also summarized local and regional needs for capacity building and additional international collaborative research on drug abuse.

Dr. Hem Raj Pal, India, and Dr. Fernando Wagner, Mexico, have been selected as the 2001 WHO/NIDA/CPDD International Traveling Fellows. The awards will support the researchers' collaborative visits with U.S. scientists and participation in two June 2001 scientific meetings, the NIDA-sponsored Building International Research on Drug Abuse: Children and Youth at Risk, and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) Annual Scientific Meeting. NIDA, the World Health Organization (WHO), and CPDD support the competitive International Traveling Fellowships. Dr. Pal will visit Dr. Thomas F. Babor, University of Connecticut Health Center, to discuss developing low-cost and low-intensity intervention programs. Dr. Wagner will work with Drs. Arthur Alterman and Thomas McLellan, University of Pennsylvania, on cross-national collaboration to evaluate and enhance the validity of the Addiction Severity Index for use in Mexico and other countries.

The 2000-2001 INVEST Research Fellows visited NIDA in February 2001 to learn how the Institute administers its research programs and meet with Institute staff. On March 1, 2001, Dr. Henrik Druid, Sweden, and Dr. Chuang Liu, China, met with scientists at the Intramural Research Program (IRP) in Baltimore, including Dr. Steven Goldberg, Preclinical Pharmacology Section; Dr. Marilyn Huestis, Clinical Pharmacology Branch; Dr. Alane Kimes, Neuroimaging Research Branch; Dr. Amy Newman, Medicinal Chemistry Section; and Dr. Kenzie Preston, Treatment Research Branch. At NIDA headquarters in Bethesda, Dr. Druid met with Dr. Harold Gordon, Clinical Neurobiology Branch, DTR&D, and Dr. Liu met with Dr. Steven Grant, Clinical Neurobiology Branch, DTR&D. The INVEST Fellows were joined by the 2000-2001 Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows for a seminar on the U.S. National Institutes of Health grant application process presented by the following NIDA staff members: Dr. Steven Gust, International Program, OSPC; Dr. Mark Swieter, Office of Extramural Affairs; and Dr. Cindy Miner, Science Policy Branch, OSPC. Dr. Sharon Hrynkow, Deputy Director, NIH Fogarty International Center, also presented during the seminar.

The 2001 NIDA Distinguished International Scientists have begun their international collaborations. Dr. Christian Schčtz, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Germany, is working with Dr. John Krystal, Yale School of Medicine, to prepare a research grant proposal for a pilot study of the effects of the opioid antagonist naloxone on a challenge with the NMDA antagonist memantine. Dr. Tibor Wenger, Semmelweis University, Hungary, is collaborating with Dr. Billy Martin, Virginia Commonwealth University, using immunohistochemistry to determine the anatomical relationship between cannabinoid and dopamine systems. Dr. Anton Bespalov, Pavlov Medical University, Russia, is working with Dr. Athina Markou, The Scripps Research Institute, to study the intravenous self-administration of nicotine in nicotine-dependent mice.

Two NIDA grantees and their Russian colleagues began work in April 2001 on collaborations supported by the International Competitive Design Awards for Innovative Drug Abuse and HIV/AIDS Prevention Efforts awarded by NIDA for participants in the 1999 U.S. - Russia Binational Workshop: Drug Abuse and Infectious Disease Prevention Strategies. Dr. Holly Hagan, Seattle-King County Health Department, is working on two projects; one with Dr. Natalia Doljanskaya, Ministry of Health Research Institute on Addiction, the other with Dr. Arman Karapetian, Pavlov Medical University. Dr. Kevin Haggarty, University of Washington, is collaborating with Dr. Grigory Latyshev, St. Petersburg Drug Abuse Prevention Center.

Three new brochures describe NIDA international fellowship and professional development programs. The brochures describe the program components, eligibility requirements, application procedures, deadlines, and award notification dates for INVEST Research Fellowships, NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellowships, and NIDA Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Program Awards. INVEST Research Fellowships provide one year of U.S. training for scientists from any other country who have at least two years of postdoctoral research experience. The NIDA Humphrey Fellowships offer academic course work and professional affiliations for mid-career professionals from eligible countries who hold a doctoral or master's degree and have substantial professional or research experience in drug abuse. The Distinguished Scientist Awards support collaborative efforts by veteran drug abuse researchers from any other country.

Mr. Richard A. Millstein, Deputy Director, NIDA, hosted a meeting of Andrea Muccioli, President, and Dr. Gian-Paolo Brusini, Scientific Director, San Patrignano Community, Rimini, Italy, with NIDA treatment research, services research, HIV/AIDS research, and international staff on potential collaborations, March 21, 2001, Rockville, MD.

Dr. Steven Gust led a NIDA briefing for a delegation from the Norwegian government on April 4, 2001. NIDA staff, including Dr. Eve Reider and Susan David, Prevention Research Branch, DESPR, Drs. Richard Hawks, Jack Blaine, and Steven Grant, DTR&D, and Dr. James Colliver, DESPR made presentations on NIDA's programs. The visiting delegation included Guri Ingebrigtesen, Minister of Social Affairs; Eva Jupskas, Political Advisor; Ingelin Killengreen, National Police Commissioner; Ellen Seip, Director General; Jostein Soldal, Chief of Information; and Dag Rekve, Advisor.

On February 21, 2001, Dr. Elizabeth Robertson, Prevention Research Branch, DESPR, met with Tomas Hallberg, Director, European Cities Against Drug Use to discuss similarities and differences in prevention approaches between the U.S. and Europe.

Drs. Eve Reider and Elizabeth Robertson, Prevention Research Branch, DESPR, met on April 2, 2001, with Maricel Fuentes and Carlos Valdivieso, Director, Fundacion Paz Ciudadana of Chile to discuss drug abuse and violence prevention programs in the U.S. and Chile. Chile has adopted the Life Skills Training program, primarily through the advocacy of the Fundacion.

Dr. Henry Francis, CAMCODA, and Dr. Jack Blaine, DTR&D, attended a national Chinese medical officers meeting on AIDS and drug use in Kunming, China on March 5-10, 2001 sponsored by the World AIDS Foundation. Dr. Francis gave a lecture, reviewing for the 100 participants from all the provinces in China, the medical consequences of drug use and the epidemiology of HIV, Hepatitis B and C spread associated with intravenous drug use. Dr. Blaine gave a review of all the pharmacotherapies and behavioral therapies used in substance abuse treatment and how they may be used to prevent HIV transmission or at least minimize high risk behavior for HIV infection. He also discussed the methodologies which may be most useful in medical and addiction treatment facilities. After the meetings, Drs. Francis and Blaine talked with several Chinese drug use investigators interested in applying for NIDA grants.

Dr. Eve Reider, Prevention Research Branch, DESPR, represented NIDA and presented at a conference in South Africa on March 21-22, 2001. The meeting, Youth Risk Reduction in South Africa: A Working Conference, is part of an initiative by NIDA-funded prevention researchers from Pennsylvania State University and researchers from eight universities in South Africa. The initiative involves developing a collaborative research agenda to address the issue of reducing sexual- and drug-related risk behaviors of South African youth using the prevention methodology of the NIDA-funded grants as a starting point for discussion.

Dr. Jag H. Khalsa, CAMCODA, in collaboration with Drs. Jonathan Kagan and Karin Klingman, Division of Therapeutics, National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), presented NIDA research efforts in the area of drug-drug interactions at the 2nd International Workshop on HIV Pharmacotherapy, Noordwijk, the Netherlands, April 2-4, 2001. The meeting was sponsored by Virology Education, the Netherlands, and co-sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. About 160 clinicians and scientists attended the meeting, which featured presentations on various aspects of pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics of interactions among the various classes of antiretroviral drugs. The organizers welcomed the NIH participation and will add a new section on interactions among drugs of abuse and medications used in the treatment of drug addiction (such as methadone, LAAM, or buprenorphine) and co-occurring infections (such as HIV) at the next international workshop, scheduled for April 2002 in the United States, probably either in Baltimore or Washington, DC.

Dr. Jean Lud Cadet gave a presentation entitled "Free Radicals, Neuronal Apoptosis, and Activation of Multiple Transduction Pathways" at the Pucon Neurotoxicity meeting held in Chile, March 15-19, 2001.


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