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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - September, 2002

International Activities

The Seventh NIDA International Forum, Building International Research on Drug Abuse: Treatment Innovations, was held June 13-15, 2002 in Quebec City, Canada, immediately following the Annual Scientific Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. The 95 participants represented 27 countries and the World Health Organization, including 25 current and former NIDA Distinguished Scientists, INVEST Fellows, Visiting Scientists, Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows, and WHO/NIDA/CPDD International Traveling Fellows. Through oral and abstract presentations, scientists reviewed advances in drug abuse treatment research. Presenters on two panels reported on international studies of heroin and methamphetamine treatment, while a third group of international researchers reviewed issues in clinical studies. A session on fellowships and research opportunities for international scientists featured presentations by Dr. Bill Dant, Institute of International Education; Dr. Aron Primarck, Fogarty International Center; and NIDA International Program Acting Director Dr. Steven Gust, who also planned the meeting. An afternoon workshop organized by Dr. Gust and Dr. Ivan Montoya, CCTN, focused on the design and implementation of drug abuse clinical trials, reviewing issues in study design, outcome measures, data analysis, data and safety monitoring, and regulatory issues. NIDA staff members and grantees who participated were: Dr. James D. Colliver, DESPR; Dr. Jennifer Schroeder, IRP; Dr. Jack Blaine, CCTN; Mr. Robert Walsh, DTRD; Ms. Dale Weiss, IP; Dr. Adam Bisaga, Columbia University; Dr. James Cornish, University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Paul Fudala, Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center; and Dr. Richard Rawson, University of California, Los Angeles.

CAMCODA staff, working with NIDA grantees and other individuals and organizations, developed seven proposals for satellite sessions for the XIV International AIDS Conference, held in July 2002 in Barcelona, Spain. The sessions included: 1) Youth Drug Abuse and HIV Infection in Cultural Context, organized by Jessica Campbell, Ph.D., of CAMCODA; 2) Impact of Health Disparities on HIV Interventions in Drug-Using Populations, organized by Dionne Jones, Ph.D., of CAMCODA; 3) Drug Abuse Treatment as HIV Prevention, organized by Katherine Davenny, M.P.H., of CAMCODA; 4) Effects of Drug Abuse and Sex Work on HIV Prevention Across National Borders, organized by Elizabeth Lambert, M.Sc., of CAMCODA; 5) HIV Risk Among Transgenders: The Social and Cultural Context of Substance Abuse, organized by Deborah Smith, M.D., of CAMCODA; 6) Clarifying the Controversy About Whether Drug Abuse Influences AIDS Progression, organized by Jag Khalsa, Ph.D., of CAMCODA; and 7) the Global Research Network on HIV Prevention in Drug-Using Populations, organized by the GRN Planning Committee, including Henry Francis, M.D., Helen Cesari, M.Sc., and Elizabeth Lambert, M.Sc., of CAMCODA.

Dr. Frank Vocci chaired an eighth satellite symposium on Psychostimulant Abuse and HIV Risk. Dr. Kyle Kampman spoke on "Drug Abuse Treatment as a Method of Reducing HIV Transmission among Cocaine and Alcohol-Dependent Men and Women in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania". Dr. Walter Ling spoke on "HIV Risk in Cocaine and Methamphetamine Users in Los Angeles." Dr. Mayat Htoo Razak spoke on " Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) Use and Risk of HIV Infection: Public Concerns and the Public's Health". Dr. Robert Ali spoke on "Amphetamine Type Stimulants and HIV Risk Exposure in Australia". Dr. Vladimir Pozynak of the World Health organization was the discussant.

Dr. Arun Kumar Sharma, India, and Dr. Yehuda Neumark, Israel, were selected as the 2002 WHO/NIDA/CPDD International Traveling Fellows. The awards support the researchers= collaborative visits with U.S. scientists and participation in two June 2002 scientific meetings, the NIDA-sponsored Building International Research on Drug Abuse: Treatment Innovations, and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) Annual Scientific Meeting. NIDA, the World Health Organization, and CPDD support the competitive International Traveling Fellowships. Dr. Sharma worked with Dr. Samuel Friedman, National Development Research Institute, to develop a draft research plan to study the drug-using and sexual networks of injection drug users in Delhi and determine the relationships between network variables, levels of risk behaviors, and the prevalence of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). An associate professor at the University College of Medical Sciences in Delhi, Dr. Sharma has conducted research on STDs, drug use, and sexual behaviors for the government of India, and has published articles in Indian medical journals. Dr. Neumark visited Dr. Robert Ballster, Medical College of Virginia, to develop plans for research on the etiology of inhalant abuse. A lecturer at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dr. Neumark was a NIDA-supported post-doctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins University. He has conducted research on determinants of drug and alcohol abuse and on drug-, alcohol-, and sexual- risk behaviors of Israeli military personnel. Dr. Neumark has researched the genetic influences on alcohol consumption and metabolism in collaboration with Dr. T.K. Li, Indiana University, and has published articles in U.S. and Israeli scientific journals.

Three scientists have been selected as INVEST Research Fellows for 2002-2003: Dr. Tamo Nakamura, Australia; Dr. Yilang Tang, China; and Dr. Isabelle Husson, France. 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. Nakamura, University of New South Wales, will work with Dr. Anthony A. Wright, University of Texas Medical School at Houston to study the effects of diazepam on a visual same/different task in rhesus monkeys. Dr. Tang, Capital University of Medical Sciences, Beijing, will spend his fellowship year with Dr. Joseph F. Cubells, Yale University School of Medicine, researching the association between neuronal gene polymorphisms and cocaine-induced paranoia and psychotic symptoms. Dr. Husson, INSERM/H™pital R. DebrŽ, will work with Dr. Barry E. Kosofsky, Massachusetts General Hospital East/Harvard Medical School, conducting molecular analyses of sensitization to cocaine in adult mice exposed to cocaine in utero. Dr. Patricia Obando, Instituto sobre Alcoholismo y Farmacodependencia, IAFA, Costa Rica, who was selected as a 2001-2002 INVEST Fellow, began her fellowship in July. She is working with Dr. Dace Svikis, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, to study psychological dysregulation, drug abuse and social adjustment in Latin American adolescents. 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 four Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows supported by NIDA during 2001-2002 each spent six weeks in a professional affiliation with a NIDA grantee. Dr. Monica Beg, Bangladesh, worked with Dr. Steffanie Strathdee, Johns Hopkins University, to develop skills in program evaluation, study design, instruments, staff training, and quality assurance for both observational and intervention studies, data management issues, and writing a draft grant proposal. Dr. Petra Exnerova, Czech Republic, interned with Michael Y. Townsend, Partnership for a Drug-Free America, to evaluate whether the nonprofit group's goals, strategies, operations, and programs could be adopted for use in the Czech Republic. Dr. Svitlana Pkhidenko, Ukraine, worked with Dr. George E. Bigelow, Johns Hopkins University, to learn more about behavioral and pharmacological effects of drug abuse and the role of psychiatric comorbidity in treatment and prognosis. She will evaluate whether clinical trials conducted by the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit at Hopkins could be adapted for use in Ukraine. Ms. Olga Toussova, Russia, joined Dr. David S. Metzger, University of Pennsylvania, to examine psychological factors associated with risk behaviors among drug users, counsel drug users at risk of HIV infection, conduct data analysis, and explore potential areas of future research.

Dr. Frank Vocci presented at the NIDA co-sponsored International Conference on Neuroscience and Addictions: New Developments, New Hopes, in Mexico City on June 25, 2002. His talk was titled, "New Pharmacological Treatments for Substance Dependence: Are They the Result of Advances in the Neurosciences? Can They Advance the Understanding of Dependence and Related Brain Processes?"

Dr. Don Vereen was the keynote speaker at a luncheon meeting sponsored by the Phelps Stokes Fund. The occasion was the program opening for the Multi-Regional Project on Drug Prevention, Treatment and Education. The goals of the project are to identify the common interest among nations in combating substance abuse; to share local and national prevention strategies that have proven successful; to illustrate the roles of individuals, families, communities, schools, churches, businesses, civic groups, and organizations in dealing with substance abuse through prevention, education, treatment and research; and to provide a balanced view of the variety of methods of narcotics and substance abuse prevention, treatment, and education in the United States. Participants represented 12 different countries. In addition to Dr. Vereen, NIDA was represented by Dr. Eve Reider, DESPR, and by Dr. Steve Gust and Ms. Dale Weiss, International Program.

Drs. Steve Gust and Wilson Compton met with Dr. Wilbur Ricardo Grimson, from the Argentine Republic. Dr. Grimson is the Secretary of Programming for the Prevention of Drug Addiction and the Fight against Drug Traffic. Discussions included prevention, the Argentine socio-economic situation and its effect on drug issues and the training and exchange of professionals.

Dr. Steve Gust, International Program, Ms. Sheryl Massaro, Public Information and Liaison Branch, OSPC, Dr. Jacques Normand, DESPR, Dr. Jack Blaine, CCTN, and Dr. Vince Smeriglio, CAMCODA, met with a group of eight doctors from Uzbekistan. Information presented included dissemination techniques, epidemiology, treatment, and drug abuse and HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Steve Gust, International Program, Mr. David Anderson, Public Information and Liaison Branch, OSPC, Dr. Eve Reider, DESPR, and Dr. Peter Hartsock, and Ms. Helen Cesari, CAMCODA, met with eight visitors from Russia. The visitors were interested in, and presented information on, approaches to drug abuse prevention, approaches to HIV/AIDS prevention among intravenous drug users, establishing and running anti-drug media campaigns, and practices and concepts in diagnosing and understanding chemical dependency.

Dr. Eve Reider, DESPR, Ms. Jan Lipkin, Public Information and Liaison Branch, OSPC, and Ms. Dale Weiss, International Program met with a group of visitors from various Caribbean island nations. The group was part of a 21-day subregional project on Drug Reduction and Counter Narcotics organized to explore substance abuse in the United States, with a detailed examination of drug prevention, education, and treatment.

Dr. Melissa Racioppo, DTR&D, met with Dr. Lizbeth Barrera, a psychiatrist from Panama. Dr. Barrera was in the United States to become familiar with new and diverse therapies on drug abuse and prevention in the United States.

Drs. Elizabeth Robertson, DESPR and Jag Khalsa, CAMCODA and Ms. Dale Weiss, International Program, met with Ms. Ana Regina Noto from the Universedada Federal de S‹o Paulo, S‹o Paulo, Brazil. Discussions with Ms. Noto centered around prevention and HIV/AIDS.

Dr. William Corrigall, DNBR, presented a paper on Tobacco Addiction in a symposium focused on medications for addiction at the meeting of the Biotechnology International Organization (BIO 2002) in Toronto in June 2002. BIO is the global forum for biotechnology research and development.

Dr. Wilson Compton presented a paper on "Improving Services for Drug Abusers with Depression" at the International Federation of Psychiatric Epidemiology, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, May 12-15, 2002.

Dr. Wilson Compton met with and presented on drug abuse prevention at NIDA on June 5, 2002 to members of Canadian Parliament, the "House of Commons Special Committee on the Non-Medical Use of Drugs." Members of Parliament included: Paddy Torsney, M.P., Carole-Marie Allard, M.P., Libby Davies, M.P., The Hon. Hedy Fry, M.P., Derek Lee, M.P., and Kevin Sorenson, M.P. Staff members included: Carole Chafe, Marilyn Pilon, Chantal Collin, Lise Tierney, Helene Regimbald, and Peter Douglas. Nicholas Dimic was present from the Canadian Embassy.

On May 17, 2002, Drs. Wilson Compton and James Colliver, DESPR, the Prevention Research Branch, Dr. Gilbert Botvin, Cornell University, and Dr. Edward Smith, Pennsylvania State University met with Ruth Joy and Paul Baker, Research Officers of the British Home Office on Drugs Strategy. The meeting was designed to provide technical assistance to Great Britain as they launch a nationwide skills-based drug abuse prevention program to be implemented through the schools. Ongoing assistance from NIDA is being provided.

Dr. Elizabeth Robertson presented at the Addictions 2002 meeting held in Einhoven, The Netherlands on September 15-17, 2002. The title of her presentation was: Re-conceptualizing Prevention Research.

Members of the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research (Drs. Jim Colliver, Elizabeth Robertson, Eve Reider, and Jacques Normand) met on May 6, 2002 to discuss issues of drug use and abuse with Dr. Carlo Bertorello, Italian representative to Pompidou Group and Member of the Conseil National de Recherche Institut de Physiologie Clinique de Pise, Dr. Rebecca Duane, Maya Lieble Institute, and Paolo Liebl von Schirach of the Maya Liebl Insitute.

Dr. Eve Reider met with and presented on drug abuse prevention research at NIDA on June 19, 2002 to a group of visitors from Russia, "Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment: A Freedom Support Grant Project for Russia." Their visit was coordinated through the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Program and arranged by Meridian International Center.

On June 27, 2002, Dr. Vocci consulted with Dr. Franco Vaccarino and World Health Organization (WHO) officials and other scientists on a WHO document on neuroscience and addiction. The initial draft of the document is due this fall.

Dr. Steven Grant represented NIDA at the 2nd Biannual Motivational Neural Network meeting in Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands on June 29- July 2, 2002.

Dr. Peter I. Hartsock co-chaired the 10th International Conference on AIDS, Cancer, and Related Problems held at the University of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Russia, May 25-31, 2002.


Research Findings

Program Activities

Extramural Policy and Review Activities

Congressional Affairs

International Activities

Meetings and Conferences

Media and Education Activities

Planned Meetings


Staff Highlights

Grantee Honors

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