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


International Activities


Led by Alan Leshner, a 13-member delegation traveled to Beijing during August for the First U.S.-China Symposium on Drug Abuse and HIV/AIDS Research

Delegation members included NIDA researchers Martin Adler, Judith Brook, Richard Clayton, Louis Harris, Don Des Jarlais, Mary Jeanne Kreek, Walter Ling, Clyde McCoy, Thomas McLellan, Steven Specter, and Lei Yu, and Patricia Needle, Acting Director, NIDA International Program. Supported through a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of State, this collaborative scientific meeting brought together U.S. and Chinese scientists to explore the potential for establishing research cooperation on research issues relative to drug abuse and HIV/AIDS. Workgroups in the areas of basic research, epidemiology and prevention, and treatment produced a series of joint recommendations for collaborative research projects - focusing both on urgent issues and longerterm cooperation. Further, as a result of the enthusiastic participation and success of the symposium, the Chinese Ministry of Health has proposed the establishment of a formal collaboration with NIDA.

Jack Blaine, DCSR, participated in an August meeting at Washington University in St. Louis on the data analysis of the reliability and validity study of the substance use disorders sections of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry (SCAN). These instruments were developed under a World Health Organization (WHO)/NIH Cooperative Agreement titled "WHO/NIH Joint Project on Diagnosis and Classification of Mental Disorders and Alcohol- and Drug-Related Problems." Also participating in the meeting were collaborators from WHO, NIAAA and NIH as well as investigators from research sites in Nigeria, The Netherlands, India, Farmington, Connecticut, Turkey, Greece, Australia, Luxembourg, Romania, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and St. Louis, Missouri.

Dr. Blaine also cochaired a symposium in Jerusalem, Israel in September at the Second International Conference on New Directions in Affective Disorders. Titled "Affective Disorders and Substance Abuse and Dependence," the symposium included presentations by several NIDA grantees and an NIAAA researcher.

Zili Sloboda, Nicholas Kozel, and Moira O'Brien, DEPR, participated in the First International Epidemiology Network Conference, Vienna, Austria, May 23-25, hosted by the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) and jointly planned by NIDA and UNDCP. This was the first meeting to link national/regional networks and regional/international organizations in order to exchange information on drug abuse trends, to explore the effect of international drug trafficking patterns on drug using behaviors, and to identify emerging priority research issues and areas for research cooperation. The meeting has resulted in the establishment of an electronic International Drug Abuse Epidemiology Network to facilitate information exchange and monitor drug trends internationally.

Zili Sloboda represented NIDA at the 22nd meeting of the Pompidou Group in Strasbourg, France, May 4-5, 1995. The Pompidou Group is an international consortium of drug abuse epidemiology experts.

Nicholas Kozel cochaired the South Asian Multi-City Epidemiology Work Group meeting held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on April 18-20 and participated in an introductory training program in drug abuse epidemiology on April 21. The South Asian Work Group is composed of researchers from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Turkey and is one of a series of regional programs being developed to provide assessment and surveillance of drug abuse with the objective of integrating these data on a global perspective. This meeting was funded by the U.S. Department of State.

Peter Hartsock, represented NIDA on July 5-7 at a meeting sponsored by the European Community and held at the Netherlands Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection in Bilthoven, on "European Community Concerted Action: Multinational Scenario Analysis Concerning Epidemiological, Social, and Economic Impacts on HIV/AIDS." The purpose of the meeting was to plan and coordinate ongoing and future EC-wide research efforts in HIV/AIDS epidemiology and prevention. Dr. Hartsock provided information about NIDA-sponsored research on AIDS modeling and NIDA's Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG), emphasizing the potential role of CEWG for HIV/AIDS epidemiology in light of its unique capabilities for rapid epidemiologic assessment of newly emerging public health problems and as a guide and resource for research.

Dr. Frank Vocci, Deputy Director, MDD attended the International Narcotics Research Conference, St. Andrews, Scotland, where he presented a poster on the Medications Development Division's opiate treatment discovery program.

Dr. Dorota Majewska, MDD was an invited speaker at the congress of "International Society of Psychoendocrinology", Munich, Germany, September 1995.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse played a major role in the 37th International Congress on Alcohol and Drug Dependence which took place at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) August 20-25, cosponsored by UCSD and the International Council on Alcohol and the Addictions. This year's Congress was attended by more than 1000 delegates from around the world. Alan Leshner, NIDA Director, delivered a plenary address on Science, Policy and Practice in the Addictions. Other NIDA staff speaking at the Congress included Donald Vereen, OD,; Frank Tims and Bennett Fletcher, DCSR; and Jack Henningfield, IRP. Drs. Tims and Henningfield served on the organizing committee for the Congress. Thirty NIDA grantees made presentations in the areas of Epidemiology, Prevention, HIV/AIDS, Treatment and Health Services Research.

On August 8, 1995 Arthur Hughes participated in a live broadcast to Latin America titled: "Dialogue." The program focus was on research methods used in drug abuse surveys. Issues discussed included techniques used in the U.S. to assess the validity of self-report and procedures used to analyze data across various surveys. This program was conducted via satellite transmission with a group of researchers in Quito, Ecuador, La Paz, Bolivia, and Santiago, Chile. Other panelists in the Washington studio were Joseph Gfroerer from SAMHSA and James Dandridge from the Department of State.

NIDA's International Program is pleased to announce the award of four INVEST Research Fellowships for the forthcoming year. Successful applicants and their NIDA research mentors are Irena Martin-Kleiner (Croatia) with Jean Bidlack (University of Rochester); Bashir Ahmad (Pakistan) with Nissar Darmani (Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine); Steven McGaraughty (Canada) with Mary Heinricher (Oregon Health Sciences University); and Zhengxiong Xi (China) with Elliot Stein (Medical College of Wisconsin).

NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellowships have been awarded for the 1995-96 academic year at Johns Hopkins University to Gyaw Htet Doe (Myanmar), Mohamed Adib Essali (Syria), Haydee Rosovsky (Mexico) and Berna Diclenur Ulug (Turkey). Following a period of academic coursework, the NIDA International Program office will be assisting these fellows in arranging professional research affiliations with NIDA-funded scientists around the U.S.


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