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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse
May, 1995

Program Activities

NIDA HIV/AIDS Counseling and Testing Policy

The policy, which strongly encourages grantees and contractors who have ongoing contact with persons at risk for HIV infection provide HIV risk reduction education and counseling, will be published in the NIH Guide later this month. The policy reads:
Researchers funded by NIDA, who are conducting research in community outreach settings, clinics, hospital settings, or clinical laboratories, and have ongoing contact with clients at risk for HIV infection, are strongly encouraged to provide HIV risk reduction education and counseling. HIV counseling should include offering HIV testing available on-site or by referral to other HIV testing services. Persons at risk for HIV infection include injection drug users, crack cocaine users, and sexually active drug users and their sexual partners.

Planning for FY 1997 HIV-Related Research

NIDA staff participated in the planning process for FY 1997 with the Office of AIDS Research, NIH, to identify programmatic initiatives for 1997 in the areas of etiology and pathogenesis, epidemiology and natural history, behavioral and social science research, therapeutics, and information dissemination. The proposed initiatives represent an opportunity to capitalize on recent advances in research on the drug abuse and HIV/AIDS link, emphasizing those areas that have the most promise for rapidly impacting the AIDS epidemic and for which NIDA is well prepared to take scientific leadership. Dr. Leshner, along with NIDA staff, met with Dr. William Paul, Director, Office of AIDS Research, on April 10 to discuss NIDA's proposed initiatives to respond to the NIH plan.

Medications Development

The Department of Veterans Affairs solicited proposals from the VA system for potential clinical trial sites to be utilized by MDD. Sixteen (16) responses were received by the closing date of April 3. Peer review evaluation took place on May 9-10.

RFPs for two components of an MDD clinical operations contract (clinical trials and regulatory affairs support) have been issued. Responses were due by May 10.

The NIDA Medications Development Database now has over 100 subscribers, including some universities and pharmaceutical companies in Western Europe. The database represents a resource for researchers working in the area of drug abuse and neuroscience. It is a tool which allows researchers to study relationships between structure and activity in the search for new and improved compounds to be targeted as treatment medications. The database now contains nearly 6,000 compounds and biological data consisting of receptor binding data and drug discrimination and self-administration studies, as well as toxicology. All data is preclinical. The database is available on a dial-up basis through an "800" number at no cost to the user. Individual training is also available at no cost to the user.

Program Announcements and RFA's

On December 9, 1994, NIDA co-sponsored a Program Announcement (PA-95-030) with NIMH "Prevention of Relapse to High-Risk Behaviors" to solicit proposals for theoretically grounded research applications focusing on behavioral strategies for relapse prevention. This program announcement is critical because prevention efforts must be developed to sustain the changed behaviors over time and prevent relapse.

A Program Announcement # PA-95-022 "Drug Abuse Services Research and HIV/AIDS" was issued in January 1995. The purpose of this PA is to support a program of research on health services to drug abusers at high risk for HIV/AIDS at the client, program, and services system level.

On February 3, 1995, NIDA released a Program Announcement (PA-95-026) soliciting proposals for "HIV Disease Progression in Drug Users" to stimulate research on the biological and behavioral factors influencing HIV disease progression in populations of drug users in and out of drug abuse treatment in order to facilitate prevention and treatment efforts.

A Program Announcement entitled "Studies on the Linkage of Drug Abuse Treatment and Medical Care" was published in the NIH Guide on February 3, 1995. The purpose of this announcement is to stimulate research on various models and strategies for linking drug abuse treatment with medical care, with special attention to effects on the prevention, incidence and progression of medical (including psychiatric) disorders in drug abusing populations and the cost and effectiveness of linked treatment. "Linkage", in the context of this research program is defined as including at least the following components: (1) drug abuse treatment and (2) medical care, including at least (a) primary and/or acute care, (b) care related to mental disorders, and (c) public health aspects of medical care, e.g., screening for sexually transmitted diseases, immunizations.

A new Program Announcement, "Neuroscience Research of Nicotine and Nicotine Abuse" (PA 95-038) was published March 22, 1995. The announcement emphasizes studies on the addictive properties of nicotine.

A Request For Applications (RFA) # DA-95-005 "Health Services Research Centers" was issued on May 9, 1995 to support a program of Health Services Research Centers to conduct interdisciplinary research on financing, organization, access, and utilization of health services for drug abusers.

NIDA has joined the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) in issuing a Request for Applications (RFA) entitled "Family Interventions and HIV/AIDS." The term "family" here refers to the breadth of family configurations, including biological kin networks and nonrelated persons who consider themselves to be family through a "network of mutual commitment."

The purpose of the RFA, issued on April 14, 1995, is to encourage research on family interventions intended to enhance the ability of families to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and/or its consequences. Drug abuse is a key element of the RFA. Applications are due in June and funding of projects is expected by September.

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