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

Media and Education Activities


Several of NIDA's products won awards in the first NIH Plain Language Awards. Walking a Good Path, a 2001 calendar and artcard promoting it, won superior plain language product (Sheryl Massaro, OSPC). NIDA NOTES 15(5) (David Anderson, OSPC), Mind Over Matter (teacher's guide, magazine, posters, and web site) (Dr. Cathrine Sasek, OSPC) and the Office of Extramural Affairs Frequently Asked Questions pages on the NIDA website (Dr. Teresa Levitin, OEA and Dr. William C. Grace, OEA) won honorable mentions.

The NIDA web site was selected for the National Science Teachers Association sciLINKS, and the web address will be included in textbooks.

The NIDA web site received the Recognized by Award for providing useful mental health content.

Press Releases

January 2001 - NIDA NewsScan

  • Teen Marijuana Use Can Lead to Anxiety, Depression, or Aggression
  • New Treatment Approach for Marijuana Dependence
  • Blocking Morphine Receptor Prevents Tolerance-But Not Dependence-From Developing in Mice
  • Neonatal Stress in Rats Increases Vulnerability to Cocaine Use Later in Life

As a result of NewsScan promotion, coverage appeared in Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly.

January 17, 2001 - New Research Expands Understanding of Treatment for ADHD. Although methylphenidate (Ritalin) is the most frequently prescribed drug for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), its mechanism of action and its effects on the human brain have been poorly understood. In an article in the January 12, 2001, online issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers have for the first time assessed the effects of therapeutic doses of oral Ritalin on the levels of dopamine in the human brain. Dopamine imbalances appear to be closely related to ADHD symptoms. Coverage of this publication appeared in Newsday (New York, NY), and The Hindu (India's national newspaper).

January 30, 2001 - African American Teens at Greater Risk of Tobacco Addiction. For African American teens who smoke, culturally-appropriate evaluation of nicotine dependence is an important part of cessation treatment, according to a study published in the December 2000 issue of the Journal of the National Medical Association. This study clarifies some of the distinguishing characteristics of tobacco addiction among adolescent African Americans. Coverage of this publication appeared in Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, Join Together Online, and Reuters Health.

January 31, 2001 - Research Shows TV PSAs Effective in Reducing Teen Marijuana Use. Researchers have demonstrated that television public service announcements (PSAs) designed for and targeted to specific teen personality-types can significantly reduce their marijuana use. In a study published in the February 2001 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, researchers report that PSAs with an anti-marijuana use message resulted in at least a 26.7 percent drop in the use of that drug among the targeted teen population. Coverage of this publication appeared in Join Together Online, and Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly.

February 1, 2001 - Dopamine Receptors Implicated in Obesity. A deficiency of dopamine in the brain may explain why some individuals engage in pathological overeating, resulting in severe obesity, according to a study published in the February 3, 2001, Lancet. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that acts in the brain and helps regulate feelings of pleasure and modulates the rewarding properties of food. Coverage of this publication appeared in US News & World Report, Time, Newsday, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Washington Times, The Denver Post and other media outlets.

March 1, 2001 - Methamphetamine Abuse Leads to Long-Lasting Changes in the Human Brain that are Linked to Impaired Coordination and Memory. Methamphetamine, a highly addictive stimulant drug, whose abuse has reached epidemic proportions in many parts of the United States, causes long-term changes in the human brain that are associated with impaired memory and motor coordination, according to a study published in the March 2001 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry. Researchers found that these effects are seen even in methamphetamine addicts who have been off the drug for 10 months or more. A second study by the same research group reveals additional long-lasting brain changes caused by the drug, including an unexpected increase in cellular activity in certain areas of the brain. Coverage of this publication appeared in Reuters Health, CBS HealthWatch, HealthScout, WebMD,,, The New York Times, USA Today, The Seattle Times, Investor's Business Daily and other media outlets.

March 2001-NIDA NewsScan

  • Incentive to Work Helps to Keep Addicts Drug Free
  • NIDA Premieres New Web Site
  • NIDA Announces RFA for Tools to Generate Genetically-Altered Mice
  • Upcoming Events

As a result of NewsScan promotion, coverage appeared in Join Together Online and Substance Abuse Funding News.

March 7, 2001 - Study Confirms Gender Differences in Progression from HIV to AIDS. Despite Differences in "Viral Load," Men and Women Develop AIDS at the Same Rate. (Joint press release with NIAID.) During the first years of HIV infection, women have significantly lower amounts of the virus in their blood than do men, according to one of the largest studies ever to examine gender-specific differences of HIV infection. Despite their lower initial viral levels, women suffer the loss of immune cells and develop AIDS just as swiftly as men. The findings, reported in the March 8, 2001, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, lend further support to recent changes in the criteria used to help doctors tailor anti-HIV drug therapy to delay the onset of AIDS. Coverage of this publication appeared in The Associated Press, Reuters Health, The Washington Times, The Boston Globe, and other media outlets.

March 14, 2001 - Scientists Identify Process That Plays Key Role in Brain Changes Involved in Cocaine Addiction. Researchers supported by NIDA identified a process in the brain that may underlie addiction to cocaine and other drugs of abuse. Their research indicates that repeated exposure to cocaine causes a change at the level of gene expression that leads to altered levels of a specific brain protein called cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5). The Cdk5-related process leads to changes in brain cells that are thought to play a role in cocaine addiction. The March 15, 2001, issue of Nature reports the findings. Coverage of this publication appeared in Join Together Online and Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly.

March 19, 2001 - NIDA NewsScan

  • Study Finds That Methamphetamine Use Can Increase Stroke-Related Brain Damage
  • Study Examines Link Between Dopamine Receptor and Curtailing Cue-induced Craving for Cocaine
  • Nicotine Causes Degeneration in Brain's "Weak Link" for Addictive Drugs
  • Brain Hormone That Helps Regulate Food Intake May Dampen Drug Craving: Finding Exploits Possible Relationship Between Addiction and Eating Disorders
  • NIDA Joins in Recognizing National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week in March
  • Upcoming Events

April 10, 2001 - NIDA and Partners Announce National Initiative on Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse. NIDA and several national organizations announced a public health initiative to raise awareness about recent trends in the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs in the United States. The initiative seeks to inform the public, physicians, pharmacists, and others about the misuse and abuse of medications and promote additional research on the subject. Joining with NIDA are AARP, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Pharmaceutical Association, the National Council on Patient Information and Education, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Coverage of this event appeared in Associated Press, WebMD, CBS Healthwatch, The Washington Times, USA Today, Reuters Health, Detroit News, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Chicago Tribune, Scripps Howard News Service, and United Press International.

Opinion Pieces

February 2001, - Article by Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"Addiction Results from Biochemical Process"


Articles of Interest

December 30, 2000, The Associated Press-Interview of Frank Vocci, Ph.D.-"Heroin Addiction Rising Amid Too Little Treatment"

January 2, 2001, The Washington Post-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"To Get Healthier, Learn From a Drug Addict"

January 3, 2001, The Philadelphia Inquirer-Interview of Charles Sharp, Ph.D.-"Laughing Gas Use and Deaths Are on the Rise"

January 10, 2001, CBS HealthWatch-Interview with Jerry Frankenheim, Ph.D.- "'Party Drug' Has Deadly Effects Even Without Alcohol"

January 16, 2001, of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"How Ecstasy Works" (3-part series on ecstasy)

January 21, 2001, The New York Times Magazine-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"The Pursuit of Ecstasy"

January 23, 2001, The New York Times-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"Doctors Don't Always Address Drug Abuse" (this Associated Press article also appeared in The Record [Bergen County, NJ], Join Together Online, The Philadelphia Inquirer)

January 24, 2001, Sacramento Bee-Interview of Jean Lud Cadet, M.D.-"Meth More Dangerous Than Expected, Study Says"

February 2001, Current Health 2-Interview of Jack Stein, Ph.D.-"Stimulants: Fast Track to Disaster"

February 5, 2001, US News & World Report-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"Cracking Down on Ecstasy"

February 7, 2001, of Timothy P. Condon, Ph.D.-"Beating an Addiction to Meth" (Part of an online series "Meth's Deadly Buzz: America's Home-Grown Drug Epidemic")

February 9, 2001, HealthScout-Interview with Jerry Frankenheim, Ph.D.-"Kicking Club Drug is No Kick"

February 11, 2001, The New York Times Magazine-Letter to the Editor by Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"Experiencing Ecstasy"

February 12, 2001, NewsWeek-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"Fighting Addiction: Special Report"

February 21, 2001, University Wire-Interview of Roy Wise, Ph.D.-"Genes May Determine Addiction"

February 28, 2001, The Wall Street Journal-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"Would Marijuana Be OK by Prescription If You Didn't Get High?"

March 7, 2001, JAMA-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"Talking with Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D., National Institute on Drug Abuse Director"

March 9, 2001, Reuters Health-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"Substance Abuse Number One Health Problem in US"

March 13, 2001, The New York Times-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"Scientists Test Hallucinogens for Mental Ills"

March 15, 2001, The Washington Post-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"In Senate Debate on Drugs, 'Traffic' Moves Minds"

March 15, 2001, The Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT)-Interview of Glen Hanson, Ph.D.-"Utah Center Seeks Answers on How to Treat Addictions"

March 19, 2001, Time-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"Who's Feeling No Pain? The Latest Trendy Drugs Are Old-Fashioned Painkillers. They're Chic, Mellowing and Way Addictive"

March 19, 2001, The Associated Press-Interview of Wallace B. Pickworth, Ph.D.-"Study: Bidis as Addictive as Regular Cigarettes"

March 27, 2001, The Associated Press-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"Study Fights 'Crack Baby' Perception" (NIDA-funded research; coverage also appeared in HealthScout, The Washington Post, The Boston Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsday and other media outlets)

March 30, 2001, Washington City Paper-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"The Habit of Perfection: The Partnership of the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. and the National Institute on Drug Abuse Helps Hollywood Get Its Depictions of Drug Use Exactly Right"

April 4, 2001, MSNBC Investigates-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-Story about ecstasy

April 6, 2001, NBC Today Show-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-Story about ecstasy

April 7, 2001 (premiere), and April 21, 2001 (repeated nationwide), In the Mix: A National PBS Weekly Series for Teens-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"Ecstasy"

April 9, 2001, Newsweek-Interview of Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.-"Painkillers Vicodin and OxyContin: Hot Drugs That Offer Relief-And Danger" (cover story)

NIDA Exhibits Program

Meetings where NIDA exhibited publications and program announcements over the past several months are as follows:

February 15-20, 2001 American Association for the Advancement of Science
March 8-11, 2001 47th Annual Council on Social Work Education
March 22-25, 2001 49th Annual National Science Teachers Association
March 22-25, 2001 American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry
March 23-25, 2001 7th Annual Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco with the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine
March 25-27, 2001 Cognitive Neuroscience Society
March 31-April 4, 2001 Experimental Biology
April 3-5, 2001 PRISM Awards
April 4-6, 2001 The Lonnie E. Mitchell National HBCU Substance Abuse Conference
April 10, 2001 Prescription Drugs: Misuse, Abuse, and Addiction
April 19-22, 2001 Society for Research in Child Development
April 19-22, 2001 American Society of Addiction Medicine
May 5-10, 2001 American Psychiatric Association
May 16-18, 2001 National Council on Patient Information and Education

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