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National Institute on Drug Abuse

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

September, 1997


Media and Education Activities


Press Releases


July 18, 1997 - Later Criminal Behavior and Drug Use Dramatically Reduced By Drug Treatment Beginning in Prison. In a study published in the Journal of Drug Issues, researchers at the University of Delaware's Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies found that comprehensive treatment of drug-addicted prison inmates, when coupled with post-release aftercare, reduces the probability of their being rearrested by 57 percent and reduces the likelihood they will return to drug use by 37 percent.

June 26, 1997 - Effects of Long-Term Marijuana Use on the Brain Shown Similar To Other Addicting Drugs. Long-term use of marijuana produces changes in the brain that are similar to those seen after long-term use of other major drugs of abuse such as cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. Moreover, these changes may increase a user's vulnerability to addiction to other abusable drugs by "priming" the brain to be more easily changed by drugs in the future. This study, conducted by researchers from Scripps Research Institute, is published in the June 27 issue of Science.

June 24, 1997 - Medication for Treating Heroin Dependence Proven Safe and Very Effective If Used at High Enough Doses. Heroin-dependent individuals reduced their use of heroin by up to 90 percent using the treatment medication LAAM (levomethadyl acetate hydrochloride). Heroin use was reduced for individuals taking a regimen of low, medium, or high doses of LAAM, with effectiveness increasing substantially at the highest dose. The NIDA funded study is published in the June 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

June 23, 1997 - Researchers Meet To Discuss Emerging Drug Trends in U.S. Metropolitan Areas and Internationally. Current and emerging patterns and trends in drug abuse will be discussed at the 42nd meeting of the Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG) to be held June 24-27 in Washington, D.C.

April 30, 1997 - Chicago Area Town Meeting and School Event to Promote Understanding and Dispel Myths About Drug Abuse and Addiction. NIDA will hold a community Town Meeting Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction: Myths versus Reality in Chicago on May 30, 1997. Scientists and community leaders will discuss the problem of drug abuse in the State of Illinois and in the Chicago area, and consider how the results of research can be used to improve the response to the problem. On May 29 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Dr. Leshner will join parents, students, teachers, and community leaders at Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, Illinois for a discussion on Drug Abuse and Our Youth.

April 29, 1997 - Federal Drug Research Agency Recognizes Entertainment Industry's Efforts Toward Accurate Depiction of Drug Abuse. NIDA and The Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. Recognized outstanding efforts of the entertainment industry to accurately depict violence and drug abuse in entertainment products. Over 60 titles/productions and over 450 entertainment leaders were given the first Annual Prism Awards for their role in making creative choices in the portrayal of substance abuse in television productions, feature film and community service.

April 24, 1997 - Scientists Identify Brain Mechanisms of Cocaine's Euphoric Effects. Researchers at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY, State University of New York at Stony Brook, and Columbia University have found a significant relationship between the intensity and duration of the "high" induced by cocaine and the degree to which the drug blocks one of the major mechanisms to control the amount of dopamine in the brain. The study, using the brain imaging techniques of positron emission tomography (PET), is published in the April 24 issue of Nature.

April 22, 1997 - Role Found for Natural Body Opioids in Reproduction and Resistance to Infection. Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered that in addition to being essential to responses to pain and the euphoria from drugs such as morphine, codeine, and heroin, the mu opioid receptor, the cellular target of these drugs, also appears to be involved in regulating the immune and reproductive systems. This NIDA funded study was published in the April 21 issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine.


Other Press Activities


Print Media

June 27, 1997 - Parade Magazine Article - Parade Magazine published an article, "Can They Beat The Odds," written by Bernard Gavzer. The article included a quote from Dr. Leshner and references from NIDA's Pregnancy and Health Study. Babies who were born to crack addicted mothers were considered doomed in the beginning but now they are in schools and the picture seems to be changing.

June 17, 1997 - Washington Post, Health Section Article - "What Addiction Really Means" an article by Dr. Leshner was published in the Washington Post Health Section. The article defines what addiction really is and acts as a guide for the public's understanding of addiction.

June, 1997 - Editorial Board Meeting, Nashville Banner - Dr. Leshner met with editors and reporters of the Nashville Banner while attending the CPDD annual meeting. Dr. Leshner was also a guest on a nightly program on the Nashville CBS Affiliate cable station, talking about drug abuse and addiction.

May, 1997 - Editorial Board Meeting, Chicago Sun Times - Dr. Leshner met with editors from this Chicago newspapers while in Chicago for NIDA's Town Meeting. Dr. Leshner was also interviewed by two local radio stations.


Broadcast Media

August 7, 1997 - On Camera Interview for German ARTE's ARCHIMEDES Television Show: Dr. Leshner was interviewed as well as Drs. Edythe London and David Gorelick of NIDA's Intramural Research Program for a segment that will focus on what we know about addiction, the latest on receptors, and the developing brain.

August 5, 1997 - On Camera Interview for Japanese Primetime Television: Dr. Edythe London, Director of NIDA's Brain Imaging Center was interviewed for a science special on the history of medicine and current day issues. The interviews focused on how drugs work in the brain and how we can treat their effects.

June 26, 1977 - On Camera Interview for CBS Evening News: CBS interviewed Dr. Leshner on the new study on marijuana's effects on the brain. The news segment aired nationally June 26.

June 26, 1997 - On Camera Interview for CNN News: CNN interviewed Dr. Leshner on the new study on marijuana's effects on the brain. The news segment aired nationally on June 26.

June 26, 1997 - On Camera Interview for ABC Nightly News: ABC interviewed Dr. Leshner on the new study on marijuana's effects on the brain. The news segment aired nationally June 26.

May 6, 1997 - On Camera Interview for ABC Discovery News - Dr. Alan Leshner was interviewed by George Strait for a segment on medical use of marijuana for a new program that aired on the Discovery Channel May 30.

Dr. James Inciardi's study on the impact of prison-based Therapeutic Community treatment for criminal justice-involved drug abusers will be the topic of an upcoming NIH Director's Column in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Planned Meetings


On September 18-19, 1997, Dr. Lisa Onken will chair the second in a series of scientific workshops aimed at linking basic behavioral science with behavioral therapy development research. The papers presented at this workshop, "Behavioral Therapy Development and Psychological Science-Part II," will be written for acceptance in a special issue of the journal, Behavior Therapy. The papers from "Behavioral Therapy Development and Psychological Science-Part I" were published in the May, 1997 issue of the journal, Psychological Science. Dr. Lisa Onken was the Guest Editor of the Psychological Science special section.

NIDA will co-sponsor an NICHD-sponsored conference on "Smoking and Middle Childhood", to be held on September 25-26, 1997.

On September 29-30, 1997 "Heroin Use and Addiction: A National Conference on Prevention, Treatment and Research" will be held at the Sheraton Washington. The conference will provide new findings from research that can assist leaders of national drug abuse organizations, prevention and treatment practitioners, the media, criminal justice and law enforcement personnel, and policymakers to respond to the changing problem of heroin addiction. It will also focus on effective, research-based drug abuse prevention and treatment efforts that can be implemented in the local community. In addition to plenary presentations, the conference will offer the opportunity for an active interchange among participants through question-and-answer sessions, workshops, and luncheon topic tables.

NIDA's Genetics Workgroup will sponsor a workshop on October 6-7, 1997 entitled "Approaches to Drug Addiction Molecular Genetics." The purpose of this workshop is to inform participants regarding strategies, successes and pitfalls encountered in identifying gene variants that increase disease risk and how these lessons can be applied to identifying variant genes associated with vulnerability to features of addiction. The meeting will focus on issues related to phenotypes and genetic models. In addition, the scope and research efforts necessary for the successful elucidation of gene variants and associated features will be discussed.

On October 6-8, 1997 NIDA and the Pavlov Medical University, St. Petersburg Russia, will convene a meeting in St. Petersburg entitled "Prevention of HIV and Other Infectious Diseases Among Drug Abusers." A delegation of NIDA/NIH staff and NIDA-supported scientists will advise scientists, government officials, and community representatives from St. Petersburg regarding monitoring and prevention of HIV and other infectious disease epidemics. Dr. Robert Battjes, DCSR, and Dr. Patricia Needle, International Office, are the U.S. co-chairs of the meeting. The NIH Office of AIDS Research is co-funding the meeting.

NIDA is planning "Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction: A Town Meeting" for Monday, October 20, 1997, in Philadelphia at the Wyndham Frankin Plaza Hotel. This is one of several town meetings held in selected cities to disseminate NIDA-based research to providers, policy makers, and community leaders.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine State of the Art Conference entitled "Models and Measures of Early Recovery: Implications for New Treatment Strategies" is co sponsored by NIDA and NIAAA and will be held October 23-25, 1997 at the Marriott Metro Center, 725 12th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. Representatives from the NIDA Treatment Research, Services Research, Behavioral Science and Women and Gender Research Workgroups participated in the conference planning. In addition, NIDA will present a Workshop, entitled "A New Treatment for Heroin Addiction: Buprenorphine Update", chaired by Drs. Frank Vocci and Betty Tai from the Medications Development Division.

NIDA's Neuroscience Consortium will sponsor a satellite symposium on the development of the limbic system for the 1997 Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting. The symposium will be held on October 25 in New Orleans. Topics will include: transcription factor nurr1 and dopamine neurogenesis; mutations of the homeobox genes, Dlx-1 and Dlx-2, striatal subventricular zones and the differentiation of late born neurons; the functional maturation of the limbic system; specification of limbic cortical circuits; the regulation of topographic projections in the limbic system by Eph family molecules; and the molecular regulation of limbic cell fate and circuit formation.

NIDA's Neuroscience Consortium will sponsor a satellite symposium on the development of research training programs for underrepresented minorities and neuroscience research in drugs of abuse for the 1997 Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting. The symposium will be held on October 28, 1997 in New Orleans and it will be co-hosted by Xavier University. Accomplishments of students trained under the Minority Institutions Research Development Program and experiences of their mentors will be featured.

NIDA's Behavioral Science Working Group will be sponsoring a satellite symposium at the annual Society for Neuroscience conference entitled "What Do We Really Know About Mouse Behavior? Classical and New Approaches for Phenotyping Transgenic and Knockout Mice." The meeting will be held on Wednesday, Oct 29, 1997 at the New Orleans Marriott Hotel from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. Dr. Alan Leshner, NIDA Director, will open the meeting which will feature experts in the analysis of mouse behavior. Speakers and their topics are: Geert van Oortmerssen, University of Groningen, The Mouse Ethogram: A Mouse Is Not a Mouse; Jeanne Wehner, University of Colorado, Mouse Strain Differences on Learning and Memory Tasks; Christopher Cunningham, Oregon Health Sciences University, A Mouse May Not Be a Rat: Mouse Behaviors in Substance Abuse; and Jacqueline Crawley, NIMH, Behavioral Phenotyping of Mutant Mice. The meeting will also provide an opportunity for active interchanges among the speakers and audience during a general discussion period lead by Lucinda Miner, Ph.D., of OSPC.

NIDA's Treatment Workgroup will be holding a workshop entitled "Current and Future Status of Naltrexone" on November 12-13, 1997 (organized by Drs. Jack Blaine, Peter Cohen, Kenzie Preston, and Betty Tai).

The Glutamate Cascade: Common Pathways of Central Nervous System Disease States. May 4 & 5, 1998, Masur Auditorium, NIH, Bethesda, MD. NIDA (lead Institute) and 7 other NIH Institutes (NINDS, NIMH, NIAAA, NIDR, NICHD, NIAIDS, NIA) participated in formation of the agenda for this meeting. Barbara H. Herman, Ph.D., Medications Development Division chaired the meeting. NIDA Co-Chairs included: Stephen R. Zukin, M.D., DCSR; Jerry Frankeheim, Ph.D., DBR; Dave Thomas, Ph.D., DBR; and Lynda Erinoff, PH.D., Office on AIDS, OD, NIDA. This meeting was an outgrowth of from concepts discussed in NIDA's internal Neuroscience Consortium chaired by Dr. Karen Skinner.


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