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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - May, 2005



Media and Education Activities

Press Releases

January 5, 2005 — Brief Encounters Can Provide Motivation To Reduce or Stop Drug Abuse
Research supported by NIDA, showed that meeting with an addiction peer counselor just once at the time of a routine doctor visit with a follow-up booster phone call can motivate abusers of cocaine and heroin to reduce their drug use.

January 10, 2005 — NIDA NewScan #34

  • Abstaining From Marijuana Associated With Better Quality of Life
  • Sight, Smell of Favorite Foods Are Related to Drug Craving
  • Earning a Reward Elicits Greater Brain Activity Than Merely Receiving One
  • Novel Compounds Reduce Cocaine Toxicity in Mice
  • Studies Suggest Common Factors Responsible for Marijuana and Co-Occurring Drug Abuse
  • Activity, Involvement Key to Adolescents Not Smoking
  • Experimental Compound May Lead to New Anti-Addiction Medications
  • Death Risk Rises for New Injection Drug Users
  • Short-Term Treatments Benefit Women With Coexisting Substance Abuse and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Research Examines Patient Placement Criteria in Addiction Treatment

February 9, 2005 — NIDA-Funded Studies Show Expanding HIV Screening is Cost Effective.
Two multicenter research teams have independently determined through the development of computer models that routine screening for HIV in health care settings is as cost effective as screening for such other conditions as breast cancer and high blood pressure, and can provide important health and survival benefits. The studies also suggest that screening that leads to a diagnosis of HIV infection may further lower health care costs by preventing high-risk practices and decreasing virus transmission.

February 10, 2005 — Research Identifies Proteins Crucial to Construction of Brain's Information Superhighway.
Communication in the brain travels from one nerve cell to another through critical connections called synapses. These neuron-to-neuron junctions form early in brain development, and their construction was thought to be guided by the nerve cells themselves. Now, investigators supported by NIDA have discovered that cells called glia, known to provide support for neurons in the mature brain, also play a crucial role in formation of synapses during the surge of development following birth. This key insight into the process of normal synapse development may lead to improved treatment of conditions such as drug addiction and epilepsy, which are characterized in part by too many synapses.

March 9, 2005 — NIDA NewsScan #35

  • Medication May Reduce Inhalant-Seeking Behavior in Rats
  • Study Examines Rates of Injection Drug Use in Metropolitan Areas
  • Formula Can Help Determine Number of Urban Men at Risk for Diseases Associated with Injection Drug Use, Sexual Practices
  • Vouchers Help Methadone Patients Kick Cocaine Abuse
  • Sex, Drug Use Increase Risk of Teen Depression, Suicide
  • Men, Women Use Different Brain Regions in Making Decisions
  • Computer Program May Detect Substance Abuse in Older Adults
  • Dopamine Connection Seen in HIV Dementia
  • Receptors May Be Key to Nerve Damage from Drug Abuse

Articles of Interest

January 24, 2005, Washington Post-"Inhalant Abuse on the Rise Among Children"-Interview with Nora D. Volkow, M.D.

Dr. Frank Vocci, DPMCDA, was interviewed by the following reporters on the following topics:
Ina Hunter on Ibogaine on February 15, 2005 for the Village Voice.
Maia Szalavitz on Amphetamines on March 1, 2005 for New Scientist.
Brian Vastag on Ibogaine on March 10, 2005 for JAMA.

Educational Activities

Heads Up: Real News About Drugs and Your Body. Through a renewed contract with Scholastic Inc., NIDA continued in 2005 with Year 3 of its aggressive outreach to middle school students and teachers with the Heads Up article inserts for use in the classroom. Magazines such as Junior Scholastic, Science World, and Up Front have carried articles on inhalant abuse since 2003 as part of the NIDA-Scholastic Inc. partnership. Each NIDA insert is distributed to nearly 2 million students nationwide, with a reach of nearly 7 million-and this occurs 5-6 times per school year. Year 3 inserts included a free-standing fold-out teaching poster, The Teen Brain: Under Construction, and articles on HIV and drug abuse; the latest Monitoring the Future findings, focusing on the health effects of abusing inhalants or prescription drugs; and the commonalities in the brain between obesity and drug addiction.

Responding to trends in inhalant abuse. In response to the continuing increasing trends in inhalant abuse among younger teens as noted in the latest Monitoring the Future survey, NIDA has enhanced public awareness this year through meetings, the Internet, and through the development and dissemination of science-based materials on inhalant abuse. In January, at CADCA's National Leadership Forum, NIDA emphasized the need for community attention to inhalants by convening a seminar, Inhalant Abuse: An Increasing Problem in Youth, with nationally known researchers and other experts in the field. In addition, in March, NIDA published a new Community Drug Alert Bulletin on Inhalants, providing a synopsis of some of the latest scientific findings on inhalants and inhalant abuse. Nearly 150,000 copies were distributed to RADAR centers, medical libraries, constituent groups, and exhibits. NIDA's Research Report on Inhalant Abuse, which details current research findings, also was updated. Most recently, as part of the National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week activities in March, NIDA's Dr. David Shurtleff, Director of the Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research, joined ONDCP Director John P. Walters, and others in a 2-hour press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

NIDA once again participated in this year's Brain Awareness Week activities at the National Museum of Health and Medicine and Girl Scout Day at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., on March 16 & 17, 2005. The Brain Awareness Week activities included middle school girls and boys and the Girl Scout Day activities included girls from elementary school. As in past years, NIDA played "Who Wants to be a NIDA Neuroscientist?" a game that was patterned after "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" During the game, children have an opportunity to learn information about the brain and how drugs impact the brain and behavior. Each child is given a packet of NIDA publications and each winner of the game receives a certificate declaring them a "Neuroscientist for the Day."

Conferences/Exhibits

National Association of School Psychologists -- March 29-April 2, 2005

National Science Teachers Association National Convention -- March 31-April 3, 2005

PRIDE 2005 -- April 6-9, 2005

Society for Research in Child Development -- April 7-10, 2005

American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance April 12-16, 2005

American Society of Addiction Medicine -- April 14-17, 2005

Lonnie E. Mitchell Historic Black Colleges and Universities Substance Abuse Conference -- April 19-22, 2005

National Conference on Tobacco and Health -- May 3-6, 2005

American Psychiatric Association -- May 21-26, 2005

American Psychological Society -- May 26-29, 2005

American Academy of Physician Assistants -- May 28-June 2, 2005


Index

Research Findings

Program Activities

Extramural Policy and Review Activities

Congressional Affairs

International Activities

Meetings and Conferences

Media and Education Activities

Planned Meetings

Publications

Staff Highlights

Grantee Honors

In Memoriam



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