Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse
Scientists from 25 countries, the World Health Organization, and AIDS 2002 Barcelona participated in the sixth NIDA International Forum, Building International Research on Drug Abuse: Children and Youth at Risk, convened from June 14 through 16, 2001, in Scottsdale, Arizona, immediately before the Annual Scientific Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. Through plenary sessions, oral and poster presentations, and small group discussions, participants exchanged information about advances in drug abuse research from the fields of basic science, epidemiology and prevention, and pharmacological and behavioral treatment. Presenters included NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner, Dr. Vincent Smeriglio and Dr. Jagjitsing Khalsa, CAMCODA; Dr. Elizabeth Robertson, DESPR; Dr. Glen Hanson, DNBR; Dr. Frank Vocci, Dr. Joseph Frascella, and Dr. Ivan Montoya, DTRD; Dr. Cindy Miner, OSPC; and Dr. Sharon Hrynkow, NIH Fogarty International Center.
NIDA co-sponsored a symposium at the 9th International Conference on AIDS, Cancer, and Related Problems, convened from May 27 to June 1, 2001, in St. Petersburg, Russia. The annual meeting is the largest conference in the former Soviet Union dealing with AIDS. The NIDA symposium was co-chaired by Drs. Henry (Skip) Francis and Peter Hartsock, CAMCODA, and featured presentations by Dr. Francis, Dr. Hartsock, Dr. Steven W. Gust, International Program, and Dr. Jerry Flanzer, DESPR. NIDA also supported the participation in the conference of several grantees, including Dr. D. Paltiel from Yale University, Dr. M. Brandeau from Stanford University, Dr. D. Owens from VA Hospital, Stanford University, Dr. A. Wilson from the University of Minnesota, and Dr. G. Zaric from the University of Western Ontario. During the conference, the NIDA representatives also visited research projects in St. Petersburg funded by NIDA under the 1996 Exchange of Letters between NIDA and Pavlov State Medical University, and Dr. Gust began planning a NIDA-funded symposium for 2002 that will be a follow-up to the 1999 bi-national workshop held in St. Petersburg on "Drug Abuse and Infectious Disease Prevention Strategies."
Three scientists have been selected as INVEST Research Fellows for 2000-2001: Dr. Zhao Min, China; Dr. Patricia Obando, Costa Rica; and Dr. Tatiana Tsarouk, Russia. Each will spend a year in the United States working with a NIDA-supported scientist and receiving training in U.S. drug abuse research methods and the National Institutes of Health grant application process. Dr. Min will work with Dr. Howard Liddle, University of Miami Center for Treatment Research on Adolescent Drug Abuse, focusing on multidimensional family therapy and research on the relationship of parental psychopathology and treatment outcomes. Dr. Obando will work with Dr. Edward L, Murrelle, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, to study the role of gender in drug abuse, family disintegration, and cognitive dysregulation. Dr. Tsarouk will work with Dr. Elaine Thompson, University of Washington, to examine the effect of adolescent depression on drug abuse; learn advanced methods of data management and analysis; and receive training in the NIDA-supported intervention Reconnecting Youth. INVEST Research Fellows also participate in an orientation program at NIDA and receive travel support to attend scientific meetings. Fellows and their mentors jointly develop a collaborative research proposal for implementation in the Fellows' home country.
The 2000-2001 NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows have completed their professional affiliations with NIDA grantees. Ms. Elvia Amesty, Venezuela, was affiliated with Dr. Lana Harrison at the University of Delaware Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies, where she concentrated on improving her data analysis skills by working with the Cross-National Study of Youth Drugs-Violence Nexus and on gaining experience with research on the validity of self-reported drug use in population surveys. Mr. Vedran Mardesic, Croatia, worked with Dr. Martin Y. Igucchi, The RAND Corporation Drug Policy Research Center, Santa Monica, California, focusing on drug policy and trends, prevention, treatment, data systems, and modeling and forecasting. Dr. Olga Vassioutina, Russia, worked with Dr. Sherry Deren, National Development and Research Institutes Center for Drug Use and HIV Research, New York City, participating in training courses, collecting materials on drug use and harm reduction that are suitable for translation into Russian, and learning how to utilize the findings of statistical analyses to develop meaningful and innovative interventions.
The 2001 WHO/NIDA/CPDD International Traveling Fellows and the 2001-2002 NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows were announced. The 2001 WHO/NIDA/CPDD International Traveling Fellows are Dr. Hem Raj Pal, India, and Dr. Fernando Wagner, Mexico. The 2001-2002 NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey fellows are Dr. Monica Beg, Bangladesh; Dr. Petra Exnerova, Czech Republic; Ms. Olga Toussova, Russia; and Dr. Svitlana Pkhidenko, Ukraine.
NIDA supported the participation of three grantees at the International Society for Neurochemistry and American Society for Neurochemistry Satellite Meeting, "Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Drugs of Abuse: Cocaine, GHB, GBR, Ibogaine, and Substituted Amphetamines," in Mar del Plata, Argentina, August 22-24, 2001. The NIDA grantees were: Dr. Jerry Meyer, Neuroscience and Behavioral Program, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts; Dr. Edward French, Department of Pharmacology, University of Arizona College of Medicine; and Dr. Yossef Itzhak, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami School of Medicine.
Drs. Steven Gust, Acting Director, International Program, OSPC, and Eve Reider, Prevention Research Branch, DESPR, met with and presented on drug abuse prevention research at NIDA to a delegation from Romania who was visiting NIDA on May 14, 2001 to examine aspects of drug prevention in the United States. The visiting delegation included Ms. Jonela Petrea, Inspector, Health Promotion and Community Health Department, Ministry of Health, Ms. Michaela Julianan Nanu, President, "The Adolescent" Association (NGO), and Mr. Boqdan Korbuly, Health Officer, Health Promotion and Health Education Department, The Public Health Office of Timis Country.
Drs. Steven Gust, Acting Director, International Program, OSPC, and Eve Reider, Prevention Research Branch, DESPR, met with and presented on drug abuse prevention research at NIDA to a delegation from the Vice-Ministry of Drug Prevention and Rehabilitation and the Ministry of Education in Bolivia visiting NIDA on May 16, 2001. The visiting delegation included Ms. Ruth Dora Vilela, Technician, Health and Sexuality Team, School Curriculum Unit, Ministry of Education, Ms. Rosario del Carmen Grandi, Head, Vice-Ministry of Drug Prevention and Rehabilitation, Infrastructure Unit, Ms. Sandra Jessica Kushida, Head, Vice-Ministry of Drug Prevention and Rehabilitation, Social Communication Unit, and Mr. Marcelo Montero, Consultant, Rehabilitation Therapy and Member, Vice-Ministry of Prevention and Rehabilitation, Committee for Special Projects.
On May 18, 2001, Drs. Steven Gust, International Program, OSPC, Jack Stein, Deputy Director, OSPC, Richard Hawks, DTRD, Eve Reider, Prevention Research Branch, and Jacques Normand, Community Research Branch, DESPR, and Ms. Beverly Jackson, Public Information and Liaison Branch, OSPC met with and presented on drug abuse research at NIDA to a United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) delegation from Mexico visiting NIDA. The visiting delegation included Mr. Ketil Karlsen and Mr. Abraham Stein.
On May 23, 2001, Dr. Larry Seitz, Prevention Research Branch, DESPR, and Ms. Beverly Jackson, Public Information and Liaison Branch, OSPC, met with Krzysztof Russ and Justyna Ziembicka from the Polish Association of Students Against Drugs to discuss educating the public on drug abuse prevention and research.
Dr. James Colliver, DESPR, represented NIDA at the Pompidou Group's 31st Meeting of Experts in Epidemiology of Drug Problems in Strasbourg, France held June 7 and 8, 2001. He gave a presentation on epidemiologic trends in the United States and NIDA activities.
Dr. Moira O'Brien, Epidemiology Research Branch, DESPR met with Dr. Neliana Buzi Figlie, from the Alcohol and Drug Research Unit at Sao Paulo University on June 11, 2001 to discuss the work of NIDA in prevention drug abuse and addiction.
On June 12, 2001, Drs. Steven Gust, International Program, OSPC, Ivan Montoya, Clinical Trials Network Branch, DTR&D, and Lisa Onken, Behavioral Treatment Development Branch, DTR&D, met with visitors from the Organization for Combating Drugs from Athens, Greece to discuss and examine the historical and institutional framework of US efforts to deal with illegal drug use. The visitors were: Dr. Olga Auagnostou, Internal Medicine Specialist, Dr. Evgenia Andreou, Psychologist, Dr. Konstantinos Kokkolis, Second in Chard, Okana's Methadone Maintenance Program, Dr. Christos Kokkoris, Neurologist/Psychiatrist, Dr. Chara Spiliopoulou, Associate Professor of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Medical School, University of Athens, and Eleni Tsafou, Head of the Department of Education and Human Development.
Drs. Jack Stein, Deputy Director, OSPC, Eve Reider, Prevention Research Branch, DESPR, and Lisa Onken, Behavioral Treatment Development Branch, DTR&D, met with and presented on drug abuse prevention research at NIDA to a Counter-Narcotics Specialist delegation from Thailand visiting NIDA on June 18, 2001. The visiting delegation included Mr. Apinan Patiyanon, Director, Bureau of External Cooperation, Department of Technical and Economic Cooperation (DTEC), Ms. Chittimas Kongpolprom, Chief, North America and Pacific Sub-division, Mr. Pipop Chamnivikaipong, Plan and Policy Analyst and Director of Survey and Report Unit, Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), Col. Chucheep Srisomboon, Director, Civil Affairs Division (CA), Col. Chanchai Noppawong, Deputy Civil Affairs Director, Ms. Chunsiri Vatahong, Health Coordinator, Royal Project (RP) Foundation, and Mr. JARAE Pokpa. They were escorted by Mr. Vichai Kiyapathya, Foreign Service National from the U.S. Embassy Bangkok's Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS).
On June 26, 2001, the Regional Drug Plan Delegation from Spain visited NIDA. The delegation met with Drs. Elizabeth Robertson, Prevention Research Branch, DESPR, Jerry Flanzer, Services Research Branch, DESPR, and Ms. Beverly Jackson, Public Information and Liaison Branch, OSPC.
On June 27, 2001, Sheryl Massaro, Public Information and Liaison Branch, OSPC, presented an overview of NIDA publications and resources to the Regional Drug Delegation from Spain of drug abuse treatment professionals, as part of the International Visitor Program sponsored by the Department of State.
Ms. Estla Guardia with the Association of Hogares CREA from Panama visited NIDA on July 3, 2001, to discuss drug abuse prevention programs and how NIDA works with non-profits to ensure that the latest research in prevention and treatment is shared. NIDA was represented by Drs. Jack Blaine, Medications Research Grants Branch, DTR&D, Jack Stein, OSPC, and Ms. Jane Holland, Science Policy Branch, OSPC.
Drs. Steven Gust, Acting Director International Program, OSPC, Jack Blaine, Medications Research Grants Branch, DTR&D, and Eve Reider, Prevention Research Branch, DESPR met with and presented on drug abuse prevention research at NIDA to Elisardo Becona, Ph.D., Professor of Clinical Psychology, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, who was visiting NIDA from Spain on July 11, 2001.
Jag H. Khalsa, Ph.D. of CAMCODA presented NIDA's research efforts in the area of Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse at the 32nd International Narcotics Research Conference, Helsinki, Finland, July 14-19, 2001. This was an excellent conference where about 300+ nationally and internationally recognized scientists presented some outstanding research findings on opiates. The range of topics included chemistry of opioids, G-protein receptors and pain, opioid modulatory peptides, synthetic ligands, progress in receptor biology, opioid addiction and behavior, opioids and immune function, and finally role of opioid receptors in pleasures of life (opioid receptors in obesity etc.).
On August 2, 2001, Dr. Steven Gust, International Program, OSPC, and Ms. Beverly Jackson, Chief, Publication Information and Liaison Branch, OSPC met with Narcotics Reporter Jailton Marques De Carvalho from the Daily Journal do Brasil to discuss current research on the prevention, effects and treatment of drug abuse and to give an overview of NIDA as part of the International Visitor Program sponsored by the Department of State.
Drs. Alan Leshner, Director, NIDA, Timothy Condon, Associate Director, NIDA, Steven Gust, International Program, OSPC, and Glen Hanson, Director, DNBR, met with visitors from the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, Canada to discuss the strategic planning and priority setting process, the structure and programs of extramural research and the peer review process. Visitors included Drs. Remi Quirion and Richard Briere.
Dr. Eve Reider, DESPR, met with and presented on drug abuse prevention research at NIDA to a delegation of fifteen mayors and council members from Chile visiting NIDA on August 7, 2001.
Drs. Frank Vocci and Ahmed Elkashef attended the World Health Organization (WHO) meeting on Amphetamine Type Stimulants in Manila, Philippines, July 16-19, 2001. Presentations at the meeting concentrated on three tracks of studies funded by WHO: the use of Ecstasy in Poland, Estonia, and Russia; "instrumental use" of amphetamines by students, truck drivers, and sex workers; and the use patterns and consequences of methamphetamine use, particularly amphetamine psychosis, in Australia, the Philippines, Japan, and Thailand.
Drs. Frank Vocci and Ahmed Elkashef, accompanied by Dr. Walter Ling of UCLA and Dr. Roger Lauer of the US Embassy, site visited hospitals and clinics treating methamphetamine dependent and methamphetamine psychosis patients in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Khon Kaen, Thailand. Methamphetamine abuse is epidemic in Thailand with 5 percent of the population estimated to be current users. Drug treatment centers and psychiatric hospitals in Thailand are admitting an unprecedented number of patients suffering from methamphetamine dependence and psychosis. The Ministry of Public Health in Thailand (the Thai Government entity that coordinates the drug treatment and psychiatric hospitals in Thailand) coordinated the site visits. The group accompanied the Princess of Thailand on visits to treatment centers and psychiatric hospitals in Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen. The purpose of the visit was several-fold: to ascertain the enthusiasm and research capabilities of the investigators at selected sites, the analytic and neuroimaging capabilities available in Thailand, and to determine the feasibility of performing behavioral and pharmacotherapy studies in the treatment of methamphetamine dependence, and the feasibility of performing pharmacotherapy studies in the treatment of methamphetamine psychosis. Dr. Elkashef has recently started a Methamphetamine Clinical Trials Group consisting of five sites in the US. Potential sites in Thailand could form a parallel network of treatment research sites. The initial study to be performed will be a behavioral therapy study of methamphetamine dependent patients, followed by pharmacotherapy studies. Further discussions with the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand are planned for the fall of this year.
On August 15, 2001, Dr. Frank Vocci presented at an NIH sponsored International Visitor Project for Russia. The NIH project was entitled "Preparing Public Health Campaigns." Dr. Vocci spoke on the development of medications for addictive disorders. Sandy Genser, M.D. of CAMCODA and Jerry Flanzer, DSW of DESPR also presented at this meeting.
Jag H. Khalsa, Ph.D. of CAMCODA in collaboration with Drs. Jonathan Kagan and Karin Klingman of the Division of Therapeutics, National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) presented NIDA's 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 the Virology Education, the Netherlands, and co-sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. It was attended by about 160 clinicians/scientists. There were many excellent presentations on various aspects of pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics of interactions among the various classes of antiretroviral drugs.
Dr. Jerry Flanzer, DESPR, accompanying a NIDA team led by Drs. Hartsock, Francis, and Gust, presented a paper on Health Services Research: AIDS and Drug Abuse, at the 9th International Conference on AIDS, Cancer and Related Problems. St. Petersburg State University, Russia, May 25-June 2, 2001. While there, he also met with colleagues not only at St. Petersburg State University, and other Eastern European nations attending the conference but also at Pavlov Heath Sciences Campus. In addition, he was invited to teach a seminar on building a practice research curriculum to the faculty of the new School of Social Work.
Ana Anders, SPO, participated in a meeting in Mexico City on June 11-13, 2001 to plan for the Fourth U.S./Mexico Binational Conference that will be held on November 14 to 17, 2001 in Mexico City.
A collaborative study on the interaction between adenosine, dopamine and glutamate receptors in the basal ganglia involves the Preclinical Pharmacology Section, Behavioral Neuroscience Branch at NIDA (Dr. Sergi Ferre, Dr. Steven Goldberg), the Department of Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden (Prof. Kjell Fuxe), the Department of Pharmacology at the Istituto Superiore di Sanita in Rome (Prof. Patrizia Popoli) and the Department of Biochemistry at the Faculty of Chemistry in Barcelona (Prof. Rafael Franco). The main findings include the demonstration of functional heteromeric complexes between specific subtypes of adenosine, dopamine and glutamate receptors.
Dr. David Gorelick presented "Blockade of Cardiovascular Effects of Smoked Marijuana in Humans by the CB1-Selective Cannabinoid Receptor Antagonist SR141716" at the International Cannabinoid Research Society in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain, June 30, 2001.
Dr. Marilyn Huestis presented "Blockade of Subjective Effects of Smoked Marijuana in Humans by the CB1-Selective Cannabinoid Receptor Antagonist SR141716" at the International Cannabinoid Research Society in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain, June 30, 2001.
Dr. Stephen Heishman presented "Marijuana Craving Questionnaire: Development and Validation" at the International Cannabinoid Research Society in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain, June 30, 2001.
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