National Institute on Drug Abuse
Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse
NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner met with Sir George Alleyne, Director,
Pan American Health Organization, and PAHO staff in early August. The meeting,
which included Dr. Zili Sloboda, Director, DEPR, and Dr. Patricia Needle,
Acting Director, International Program, focused on presentation of NIDA's
research portfolio and international activities, and the exploration of
further collaboration with PAHO on drug abuse and related research in the
The "International Conference on Neurochemistry and Pharmacology
of Drug Addiction and Alcoholism" was held in St. Petersburg, Russia,
in June. Dr. Alan Leshner presented a plenary session on the neurobiology
of drug abuse. In the workshop on Developing International Cooperation
in Drug Abuse Research, Dr. Timothy Condon, Director, OSPC, provided an
overview of the NIDA organization and basic science research portfolio,
and Dr. Patricia Needle discussed funding mechanisms and opportunities for
international cooperation. NIDA grantees Charles R. Schuster, Edward Sellers,
Joseph Justice, and Boris Tabakoff presented research papers in a program
coordinated by Dr. Robert Balster. Dr. Edvin Zvartau of the Institute of
Pharmacology, Pavlov Medical University, was the conference organizer.
At the opening ceremony of the conference, NIDA Director Leshner and Nicolai
Yaitsky, Rector, Pavlov Medical University, signed documents in an Exchange
of Letters agreeing to promote collaboration in the fields of biomedical
and behavioral research related to drug abuse and drug-related HIV/AIDS.
Funding for U.S. participation was provided by U.S. Department of State
and by NIDA.
Dr. Svetlana Dambinova, Institute of the Human Brain, Russian Academy of
Sciences and President, Russian Society for Neurochemistry, visited NIDA
during July to discuss a range of possibilities for research collaboration
with Dr. Leshner and with Drs. Edythe London and Dr. George Uhl of NIDA's
Division of Intramural Research.
"Building International Research in Drug Abuse: Opportunities and
Challenges," was sponsored by the International Program as a satellite
CPDD meeting. Sixty-five researchers, including NIDA-trained visiting scientists
and foreign fellows from 21 countries, met to present research from outside
the U.S.; to explore development of a network for collaborative research;
and to report on the status of drug abuse research and policy issues in
NIDA hosted the Peruvian Minister of Health Mariano Costa, Alejandro Vassilaqui,
Executive Director of CEDRO (Peru's Center for Information and Education
for the Prevention of Drug Abuse), and Ms. Maria Teresa Hart of the Embassy
of Peru for a joint discussion on drug abuse issues in Peru and opportunities
for closer collaboration between our two countries on research on the prevention
and treatment of drug abuse, specifically cocaine. Dr. Donald Vereen, OD,
chaired the meeting, which was attended by staff of DEPR (Zili Sloboda,
Nicholas Kozel), DCSR (Henry Francis, Sander Genser), International Program
(Patricia Needle) and Dr. Arlene Fonaroff, Program Officer for the Americas,
Fogarty International Center.
Dr. Zili Sloboda, Mr. Nicholas Kozel, and Ms. Moira O'Brien, all of DEPR,
attended the third meeting of the International Drug Abuse Epidemiology
Work Group (IDAEWG) which was held at the World Health Organization
(WHO) Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on July 2-4, 1996. The purpose
of the meeting was to provide a forum for representatives from epidemiology
surveillance networks from around the world to present and discuss the most
current epidemiologic data on drug abuse; to discuss development of an infrastructure
for identifying and promoting epidemiologic and other drug abuse research;
and to link research findings to community and public health policy. Recent
increases in marijuana use noted in the United States were paralleled in
Canada. This observation led to an OP-ED article in the Washington Post
on August 22nd by Dr. David Musto of Yale University, renowned drug abuse
historian. Heroin, cocaine, and marijuana still predominate much of the
world with much local variation pointing out the significance of such a
global network such as the IDAEWG. A summary of the meeting is currently
being prepared by WHO and NIDA.
Mr. Nicholas Kozel, DEPR, cochaired the South Asian Multi-City Epidemiology
Work Group meeting held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on July 30 - August 1.
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 regional data into a global
perspective. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and
is coordinated by staff of NIDA and the Universiti Sains Malaysia. The
Asian Work Group is modeled after NIDA's Community Epidemiology Work Group.
Indirect indicators and other measures of drug abuse show that the primary
drugs of abuse in the region include heroin, buprenorphine, cannabis, codeine,
tranquilizers and sedative-hypnotics.
Dr. Zili Sloboda, DEPR, attended a meeting in Munich on August 19-22 sponsored
by the European Union. The focus of the meeting was the development of
planning and evaluation guidelines for prevention and a conference on evaluation
scheduled for January 1997. The conference will include plenaries and workshops
on the state-of-the-science in Europe and the United States in the areas
of outcome evaluation, epidemiology and prevention, and issues such as mediating
variables, instrumentation, barriers to evaluation and the role of the mass
Dr. Robert Battjes, Deputy Director, DCSR, spoke at the opening plenary
session of the 18th World Conference of the World Federation of Therapeutic
Communities, in St. Petersburg, Russia, September 8-13. His presentation
was entitled "Adolescent Drug Abuse: Treatment Implications."
In addition to Dr. Battjes' participation, NIDA also provided travel awards
for international research presentations at the Conference.
Dr. Chiiko Asanuma of the Etiology and Clinical Neurobiology Branch, Division
of Clinical and Services Research, was an invited speaker at the Colloquium
on New Perspectives in Posterior Association Cortex held at the annual
meeting of the Neuropsychology Association of Japan on September 13, 1996
in Sapporo, Japan. While in Japan, Dr. Asanuma visited the School of Medicine
at Nihon University in Tokyo, where she gave a seminar on her research.
Dr. Steven W. Gust, Acting Director of NIDA's Office on AIDS participated
XI International Conference on AIDS held in Vancouver in July, and
presented a poster on HIV/AIDS Research at NIDA.
Katherine Davenny of the Clinical Medicine Branch, Division of Clinical
and Services Research, presented a poster at the XI International Conference
on AIDS, held in Vancouver, July 1996, where she discussed NIDA's ongoing
AIDS research program.
Richard H. Needle, Ph.D., M.P.H. of CRB/DEPR presented a research poster
on "Injection Drug Users' Networks, the Injection Process, and Multiperson
Use of Drug Injection Equipment and Paraphernalia," at the XI
International AIDS Conference in Vancouver, July 7-12. The poster was
also developed by Susan Coyle, Ph.D. and Helen Cesari, M.S. Results were
presented from a multisite observational study of drug injection networks
in six U.S. cities and Puerto Rico. The research was conducted as a collaborative
effort by NIDA grantees from each site as well as Steve Jones, M.D., from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Arthur Hughes, Chief, ERB/DEPR, presented papers and participated in the
Pompidou Group European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
meeting June 10-14, 1996, in Strausbourg, France.
Dr. Frank Tims, DCSR, was an invited speaker at the 3rd International Congress
of the Worldwide Hungarian Medical Academy in Pecs, Hungary, July 4-6.
His topic was "Contemporary Drug Issues."
Dr. Frank Tims was an invited participant and speaker in a symposium on
"Drug Abuse and the Criminal Justice System: A Creative Partnership
for Change," in Ottawa, Canada. The symposium was jointly sponsored
by the Canadian Bar Association and the Portage Programs for Dependencies,
and was convened to consider implications and strategies for implementation
of Bill C-41, which is designed to greatly increase diversion of substance
abusing offenders. He presented a paper entitled, "Costs and Cost-Benefits
Dr. Jean Lud Cadet, DIR, was invited to present a paper entitled, "Methamphetamine
Causes Apoptosis in Immortalized Neural Cells" at the European
Society for Neurochemistry in Groningen, The Netherlands, June 1996.
Dr. Steven Grant, DIR, presented a paper entitled, "Positron Emission
Tomographic Studies of Cerebral Glucose Metabolism in Stimulant and Opiate
Addiction" at the XXth Collegium Internationale Neuropsychopharmacologium
(CINP) Congress, Melbourne, Australia, June 23-27, 1996.
Dr. Toni Shippenberg, DIR, presented a paper entitled, "Are Muscarinic
Cholinergic Systems Involved in the Development or Expression of Behavioral
Sensitization to Cocaine," at the European Behavioral Pharmacology
Society, Sardinia, Italy, May 1996.
Waldemar Oliveros, M.D., M.P.H. from Panama visited NIDA's Division of Epidemiology
and Prevention Research on July 9, 1996. Dr. Oliveros just completed his
M.P.H. at John Hopkins University's Department of Mental Hygiene. He has
a strong interest and background in prevention and has deÿ prevention
intervention trial (PIT) for children entering elementary school in the
6.5 to 8.5 age range.
The Philadelphia VA's findings on the usefulness of naltrexone in former
heroin addicts currently on Federal probation were presented at the meeting
of the International Congress of Neuropsychopharmacology (CINP) held
in Melbourne, Australia in June 1996.
NIDA will support travel for researchers Dr. Garo Basmadjian and Dr. Claire
Advokat to attend the "International Symposium on the Application
of the Theory of Metabolic Regulation to Pain," to be held in late
September in Armenia.
of the Director][Report Index][Previous
Report Section] [Next Report Section]