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


Media and Education Activities


Secretary's Marijuana Prevention Initiative Support

As the lead agency in the development of the Secretary's Marijuana Prevention Initiative, NIDA, in collaboration with CSAP, hosted a National Conference on Marijuana Use: Prevention, Treatment, and Research, July 19-20, 1995, in Arlington, Virginia. The Secretary has called for "a campaign designed to educate parents and their children about the consequences of marijuana and how to address the problem in their homes, their schools, and their communities." Her concern follows the significant upward trend in marijuana use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders.

The conference was attended by a capacity crowd of more than 500 and received a significant amount of media coverage. Secretary Shalala, Dr. Lee Brown, and Mr. Ron Shafer (a parent with a meaningful story) joined Dr. Leshner as keynote speakers at the opening address. Overall, the conference was very successful in bringing new research findings to the public eye, especially related to dependence, developmental effects from maternal use; health and behavior consequences; etc.

In addition to the conference, the following activities are underway at NIDA as key elements of the Secretary's Initiative:

  • Two companion booklets for parents and children on Facts About Marijuana

  • A video for parents on the science-based facts about marijuana, how it fits in their children's lives, and what parents can do

  • Television PSAs developed by the Partnership for a Drug Free America

  • Expanded Marijuana Research Program


Public Information Materials for Racial and Ethnic Minority Audiences

Drug abuse is a major health problem for minority populations in the U.S., with consequences often more severe than for non-minorities. To address this high priority, NIDA will develop, prepare and disseminate culturally appropriate print and electronic media public information materials, designed to educate racial and ethnic minority audiences about the consequences, prevention, and treatment of drug abuse and addiction. NIDA has met with advisory groups from the Hispanic and African-American communities to develop the material and mechanisms for dissemination. This community-based approach represents an improvement over the previous practice of repackaging existing material for minority audiences.


Drug Abuse and AIDS National Media Campaign

The final phase of the "Get High, Get Stupid, Get AIDS" campaign will be launched in October 1995, with new television, radio and print public service announcements for young teens (12-16) and young adults (18-25). The young adult ads will continue to use the highly successful animation approach, and some of the same characters, currently being used.

The teen materials represent a completely new approach to reaching this audience stop-action animation by the Brothers Quay, of MTV fame. The approach is well known and attractive to the audience, and will certainly stand out among public service announcements.


Public Information Campaign on the Scientific Basis for Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction

An important communications goal for NIDA is to educate the general public and policy makers about the science-based knowledge assembled over the years about drug abuse and the brain and about understanding drug addiction as a disease. It is necessary to do this in order to bridge the disconnect between what people think about drug abuse and addiction and what scientific research has taught us.

This program is bringing information about these concepts to the attention of the general public through popular press and electronic media, including articles in magazines, op-ed articles in newspapers, spokesperson appearances on talk shows, community-based educational meetings, etc.


Public Information Materials for General Audiences

This program will develop useful print and electronic media material about the subjects of drug abuse and addiction for these audiences, emphasizing the public health nature of the problem and the science base of the knowledge.

An important way to reach the general public with this kind of information is through their contact with health care providers. Therefore, materials will be developed for primary care physicians and nurses to help them educate their patients about drug abuse and addiction, as well as for members of the general public who happen to be in a doctor's office.

The program will also produce materials for drug abuse clients/patients and members of their families about the nature of addiction and the treatment approaches available.


Press Activity


April 25 - NIDA Presents Opportunities in Addiction Research for Young People - NIDA sponsored a "Youth Science Fair" at Coppin State College on April 28. Scientists from the Division of Intramural Research provided talks and interactive demonstrations to about 300 4-12 grade students from Baltimore schools.

April 25 - Dr. Jack Henningfield participated in a press conference sponsored by the Tobacco Control Journal and the AMA to announce publication of several articles about smokeless tobacco. Dr. Henningfield's article focused on pH levels of smokeless tobacco and how that changes among different brands of the product.

May 24 - NIDA Conference on Marijuana Research: Science to Aid Prevention and Treatment - This media advisory was released to announce the marijuana conference

June 1- NIDA Conference Agenda Focuses the Direction of Future Research on AIDS and Drug Abuse - Media announcement of NIDA's AIDS and Drug Abuse conference held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the CPDD.

July 19, 1995 - Secretary Shalala Cites Evidence of Marijuana Dependency and Effects on Children Exposed Before Birth - An HHS news release of findings to be released at the Marijuana Conference.

The NIDA Press Office prepared and distributed press kits on drug abuse and AIDS to the Scottsdale/Phoenix media just prior to the conference.

During the Month of July, the NIDA Press Office handled a number of inquires regarding marijuana use and research. Press kits containing information on marijuana were prepared and distributed at the Marijuana Conference. Press officers assisted over 60 media representatives/reporters who attended the marijuana conference with interviews and information requests.


Exhibits


In recent months NIDA has exhibited at the following:

Coppin State College Eleventh Annual Substance Abuse Conference, April 27-28, 1995, Baltimore, MD

Prevention 2000: HIV, Violence, and ATOD Use - A Community Responsibility, May 5-9, 1995, Orlando, FL

American Cities Against Drugs, May 14-16, 1995, Atlanta, GA

American Psychiatric Association, May 20-25, 1995, Miami, FL

12th Annual Association for Health Services Research (AHSR) and the Foundation for Health Services Research (FHSR), June 4-6, 1995, Chicago, IL

National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) and National Prevention Network (NPN), June 4-7, 1995, Chicago, IL

AIDS and Drug Abuse (CPDD Satellite Conference), June 9-10, 1995, Scottsdale, AZ

National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) Annual Meeting, July 5-7, 1995, Orlando, FL

American Psychological Society, June 29-July 2, 1995, New York, NY

NIDA National Conference on Marijuana Use: Prevention, Treatment and Research, July 19-20, Arlington, VA


Planned Meetings


NIDA is supporting the development and implementation of a day long Institute, entitled "Comorbidity and Treatment Issues in Adolescent Substance Abusers" which will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry on October 18, 1995 in New Orleans Louisiana. Dr. Alan Leshner, Director, NIDA will present and Chair this session. Dr. Dorynne Czechowicz has planned this Institute in collaboration with the AACAP Office of research and NIDA's Child and Adolescent Research Workgroup, chaired by Dr. Vincent Smeriglio.

NIDA has collaborated with the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), the College for Problems of Drug Dependence NIAAA, and the Research Society on Alcoholism in the planning of the ASAM State of the Art Conference entitled "Expanding Role of Neurobiology in Addiction Medicine". This is an advanced level Program presenting a neuroscientific understanding of addiction and implications for treatment. The Conference will be held October 19-21 at the Marriott Metro Center in Washington, D.C. Dr. Dorynne Czechowicz, Treatment Branch, DCSR represented NIDA on the Conference Planning Committee.

The Medications Development Division (MDD) is planning with the Medications Development Committee of The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) for a joint presentation at an ASAM Sponsored State of the Art Conference on "The Expanding Role of Neurobiology in Addiction Medicine" on October 20 in Washington DC. A NIDA/ASAM panel moderated by Dr. Charles Grudzinskas, Director, MDD, will discuss "life-saving medications for drug addiction, and mainstreaming therapies into medical practice".

MDD is also planning with ASAM to sponsor a series of focus groups of physicians on issues of the unmet medical needs of drug abusers, and the role of pharmacotherapy in meeting those needs.

On October 23-24, 1995, NIDA will sponsor a meeting entitled, "Drug Use, Gay Men, and HIV Infection." The NIDA Office on AIDS is in the early planning stages for this meeting which was suggested by Representative Nancy Pelosi (California) following concern over reports of a resurgence of HIV infection among gay and bisexual men and its association with drug use. The meeting may be co-sponsored with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

A satellite meeting of the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting is planned for November 11, 1995 and is entitled "Advances in Drug Abuse Research on Nicotine." Dr. David Johnson, DBR, is heading a NIDA committee arranging this meeting. Speakers will include Drs. Murray Jarvik, Allan Collins, James Patrick, John Rosecrans, William Corrigall, Kenneth Perkins, Neal Benowitz, Jack Henningfield, Dorothy Hatsukami, and Ovide Pomerleau.

An ancillary event at the Society for Neuroscience 25th Annual Meeting, "NIDA: The Next Generation", will highlight new directions in neuroscience research on drug abuse. Dr. Floyd Bloom of The Scripps Research Institute will be the featured speaker. There will also be a poster session highlighting research by NIDA scientists supported through the Scientist Development Award and Scientist development Award for Clinicians. This event will take place from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14, 1995 in Room 6F of the San Diego Convention Center.

NIDA is sponsoring a prevention intervention research symposium entitled "Building Upon Diversity -- Striving for Scientific Excellence". This meeting, to be held at the National Press Club in December of 1995 will present the state of the art in drug abuse prevention intervention research and its effectiveness.

In December 1995, NIDA will convene a workshop of NIDA-funded and other researchers to review the current status of needle exchange research. The primary purpose of the workshop would be to provide the opportunity for investigators to share information about their protocols, timelines, data collection instruments, and results and interpretations permitted by their methodologies.


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