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National Institute on Drug Abuse

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

May, 1996


Media and Education Activities


Secretary's Marijuana Prevention Initiative Support

In support of the Secretary's Initiative, NIDA conducted a series of meetings in San Francisco, Albuquerque, Bozeman, and Memphis, and at several U.S. Army installations. The purpose of the meetings was to encourage the attendees and the media to reach large numbers of the general public with the message that "there is clear scientific evidence that marijuana is a dangerous drug that can impair learning and affect memory, perception, judgment, and complex motor skills such as those needed to drive."

The meetings typically included community leaders, teachers and counselors. After the Memphis meeting, Viacom Cable reached 125,000 viewers with the Marijuana video and an interview with Mike Herman, Director of Safe and Drug Free Schools in Tennessee. The Nashville Banner, News Examiner, and Hendersonville Star reached 78,000 readers with related stories.


Press Conference at the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse

On February 28, 1996, Dr. Alan Leshner participated in a press conference sponsored by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse to release a study of substance abuse and urban America. Dr. Leshner presented a statement addressing the need to look at drug abuse and addiction as a major health problem that dramatically affects both the health of individuals and that of the public, and the need for continued research.


Media Advisories


All NIDA Media Advisories are available under the Communications and Documents section of NIDA's Home Page on the World Wide Web at
http://www.nida.nih.gov//MedAdv/MAs-yr96.html

February 20, 1996: Attention and Memory Impaired in Heavy Users of Marijuana. The Media Advisory highlights a new, NIDA-funded study conducted by researchers at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts which shows that critical skills related to attention, memory, and learning are impaired among heavy users of marijuana, even after discontinuing use for at least 24 hours.

March 14, 1996: Scientists Moving Closer to Identifying Compounds to Treat Cocaine Addiction. Yale University School of Medicine researchers, funded by NIDA, report important findings that have significant implications for the development of medications to treat cocaine addiction. Researchers found that activation of the brain's D1 dopamine receptor system can suppress cocaine seeking in drug-experienced animals, whereas activation of the D2 dopamine receptor system can trigger cocaine seeking.

March 15, 1996: NIDA Director to Discuss Behavioral Science Research In Drug Abuse. Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D., Director, NIDA, presented a keynote address, "Drug Abuse Is a Health Issue and Why Does It Matter?" to the Fourth International Congress of Behavioral Medicine in Washington, D.C. Dr. Leshner discussed the importance of drug abuse and addiction as a major avenue for increased morbidity and mortality of the nation.

March 21, 1996: Town Meeting to Promote Understanding and Dispel Myths About Drug Abuse and Addiction. NIDA and the University of Miami announced joint sponsorship of a Town Meeting to promote public understanding of what research has shown about drug abuse and addiction, and to help community drug abuse prevention and treatment programs fully utilize science-based information in their own work.

April 15, 1996: National Teleconference Highlights Drug Abuse Prevention Video. NIDA's video "Coming Together on Prevention" was featured in a live, nationwide teleconference on April 17, providing a forum for sharing effective approaches to drug abuse prevention. Dr. J. David Hawkins and NIDA grantee Dr. Mary Ann Pentz presented findings from their studies and participated in roundtable discussions.

April 18, 1996: NIDA-ASAM Symposium Focuses on Treatment for Cocaine Addiction. On April 20, NIDA and the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) cosponsored a one-day symposium on "New Medications for Treating Cocaine Abuse and Dependence: Bench to Bedside." Several NIDA and other experts in the field of addiction research presented findings on the neurobiology of cocaine addiction, treatment medications, and integrated treatment approaches.


NIDA Exhibits


In the past several months, NIDA has exhibited at the following:

International Congress of Behavioral Medicine
March 13-16, 1996
Washington, D.C.

Society for Adolescent Medicine
March 22, 1996
Crystal City, Virginia

NIDA/NIH and University of Miami
Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction: Myths vs. Reality
April 1-2, 1996
Miami, Florida

National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO)
April 17-20, 1996
Washington, D.C.

American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
April 18-21, 1996
Atlanta, Georgia


Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEG) Internet Home Page

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Division of Epidemiology Services and Prevention Research (DESPR) has developed a CEWG Home Page. The Home Page is currently under Institute review and is expected to be installed as a link to the Home Page in the near future. The CEWG Home Page includes the Advance Report and Volume I and II from the most recent biannual meeting. It also includes reports from State Epidemiology Work Groups and from pilot ethnographic research which has been sponsored by DEPR during the past several years. The reports can be read and/or downloaded. In addition, the Home Page has a listing of members of the CEWG, staff associated with the project and links to other related World Wide Web sites.


Planned Meetings


On May 21 to 23, 1996 NIDA will sponsor a symposium entitled "Perspectives on Rural Drug Abuse" in Ames, Iowa. This meeting will build on the work of State Epidemiology Work Group (SEWG) meetings held in rural and frontier states in the past two years and the research review on rural alcohol and drug abuse held in Washington in April 1994. The goal of the symposium is an open exchange of information and views on the issues associated with rural drug use and abuse including: research-based findings on drug patterns and the processes that lead to drug use and abuse; the effects and implications of federal, state and local programs and policies; and access to and appropriateness of prevention and treatment interventions for rural areas. Panel discussions featuring Federal, state, and local policy makers and practitioner and presentations by researchers who study rural substance abuse will inform the development of recommendations for future policy, intervention, and research directions.

The 20th Meeting of the Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG) is scheduled to be held in New York City on June 4-7, 1996. The CEWG was established by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in November 1976 and is composed of researchers from 20 selected metropolitan areas of the United States who meet semiannually to report on patterns and trends of drug abuse in their respective areas; emerging drugs of abuse; vulnerable populations and factors that may place people at risk for drug use and abuse; and, negative health and social consequences. Reports are based on drug abuse indicator data, such as morbidity and mortality information, treatment data and local and State law enforcement data. Additional sources of information include criminal justice, correctional, medical and community health data, local and State survey information, and research findings from ethnographic studies.

Cornell Medical College's Prevention Center will host a conference titled "Multi-Ethnic Drug Abuse Prevention Research Findings: Implications for Practice". Topics/presentations will include (1) Theoretical Connections in ATOD Prevention, (2) Wellness In a Multi-Ethnic Society, (3) School-Based ATOD Prevention Strategies, (4) Family Interventions, (5) Reconnecting At-Risk Youth to Prevent Drug Abuse, School Dropout & Suicide Risk Behaviors, (6) Gaining the Excellent Edge with Successful Diversity Strategies, and (7) ATOD Prevention in Community Settings. This conference is sponsored by NIDA and CSAP and will be held June 6-8, 1996 .

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) Science Directorate are collaborating to cosponsor a Conference on Drug Abuse (CODA). The conference will be held in conjunction with the 1996 APA Convention in Toronto. The goals of this conference are to focus attention on drug abuse and drug abuse research, to disseminate the latest and most important research findings, to encourage new research, researchers and research collaborations, and to stimulate communication among researchers in different areas and other professionals who are involved with the issues of drug abuse. A variety of activities are being planned including 15 keynote presentations, and over one hundred symposia, education workshops, papers, poster sessions and other special activities. Training and informational sessions with NIDA staff and opportunities to find out about research activities, support and professional development will also be part of the conference. Approximately 15,000 to 20,000 people are expected to attend the APA convention including clinicians, researchers, educators, policy and planning professionals and graduate students. APA has 51 different interest oriented divisions focusing on a vast range of psychological, psychiatric, behavioral, neuropsychological, social, and developmental areas. The latest information about the Conference will be available through NIDA's home page on the internet (http://www.nida.nih.gov) and through APA publications. Drs. Meyer Glantz (NIDA/DEPR), Timothy Condon (NIDA/OSPC) and Christine Hartel (APA/SD) are the co-chairs of the Conference.

Dr. Jaylan Turkkan will be chairing a symposium on June 25, 1996 at the annual meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence titled "Self-Control and Decision Making: Applications to Drug Abuse". Presentations will cover self-control, impulsivity, risktaking, and decision-making relating to drug abuse. Speakers are: Dr. Howard Rachlin, Dept. of Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook. "Behavioral Patterning and SelfControl". Dr. George Loewenstein, Dept. of Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University. "Out of Control: Decision Theory and the Limits of Volition". Discussant: Dr. Thomas Crowley, Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Dr. Frank Tims, Chief, SRB, will chair a NIDA workshop on "Managed Care Research and Institutional Change," at the annual meeting of the Association for Health Services Research, June 19, 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia.


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