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National Institute on Drug Abuse -  NIDA NOTES
Volume 15, Number 2 (August, 2000)

NIDA Reaches Out to the Nation

By Raymond Varisco, NIDA NOTES Contributing Writer

Seattle Town Meeting

At the Seattle Town Meeting, NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner (right) is joined by (left to right) Michael Kreidler, Region 10 administrator for the Department of Health and Human Services; Ken Stark, director of Washington State Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services; Ed Hidano, assistant secretary for Health and Rehabilitative Services; and Dr. Alonzo Plough, director, Seattle-King County Department of Public Health.

NIDA recently participated in several activities aimed at engaging organizations and community members in its effort to ensure that research results benefit drug abuse prevention and treatment efforts in the real world.

A Leadership Forum

In December, NIDA took part in the annual Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America's (CADCA) National Leadership Forum. With a mission to strengthen the capacity of new and existing coalitions to build drug-free communities, CADCA provides its members with training, technical assistance, information, and programs to reduce drug use among young people.

NIDA Associate Director Dr. Timothy P. Condon, Deputy Director of NIDA's Office of Science Policy and Communications Dr. Jack Stein, and Dr. Meyer Glantz of NIDA's Division of Epidemiology, Services, and Prevention Research presented workshops at the Forum. Dr. Condon discussed emerging drug epidemics, with an emphasis on methamphetamine. Dr. Stein defined the broad parameters of effective drug addiction treatment as featured in NIDA's new guide, Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment. Dr. Glantz reviewed what NIDA research has shown about factors that put people at risk for, or protect them from, drug abuse.

Smithsonian Seminar

Top: NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner delivers opening remarks at the Smithsonian Institution seminar. Bottom: Dr. Neil Grunberg presents information on gender differences in tobacco use and cessation at the Smithsonian seminar.

The Latest Town Meeting

To further meet its goal of establishing ties with local communities across the Nation, NIDA continued its sponsorship of Town Meetings, which began in1996, by hosting a Seattle Town Meeting at the request of local government, business, and drug treatment officials concerned with an escalation in heroin, methamphetamine, and club drug abuse in the area. Addressing an audience of more than 500 attendees, NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner gave the keynote address and shared the podium with U.S. Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA), and Seattle-King County Department of Public Health Director Alonzo Plough.

Dr. Frank Vocci, Director of NIDA's Division of Treatment Research and Development, spoke on new addiction treatment medications and Dr. E. Michael Gorman of the University of Washington's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute discussed Washington State's multiple drug epidemics.

A Drug Awareness Campaign Collaboration

NIDA's association with the Kmart Kids Race Against Drugs educational outreach effort climaxed in January, capping a year-long, 85-city collaboration that featured children between ages 7 and 12 competing in miniature race cars on special courses in Kmart parking lots. According to Kmart President Floyd Hall, the program was designed to demonstrate that "America's children do not need to consume drugs to have a good time." At the final race in Orlando, Florida, six winners from across the country were presented with $10,000 Kmart scholarships.

At every stop along the tour, NIDA's Mind Over Matter educational materials for middle schoolers were distributed; more than a half million copies were distributed overall.

According to Kmart President Floyd Hall, the drug awareness campaign was designed to demonstrate that "America's children do not need to consume drugs to have a good time."

"This new partnership between NIDA and Kmart is an essential part of our aggressive national outreach effort," said Dr. Leshner at the kickoff last spring in Carson, California. "This is a unique opportunity to reach our Nation's youth and the adults in their lives with accurate, science-based materials developed especially for them."

A Smithsonian Institution Seminar on Gender

Dr. Leshner delivered the opening remarks and NIDA-supported investigators discussed specific areas of research during an all-day seminar, "Gender Differences in Addiction and Recovery," at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. "This forum gives us an excellent chance to help disseminate some of the important information our research has revealed about the biological, psychological, and social differences between the patterns of drug use and the effects that drugs have on women and men," Dr. Leshner said.

Smithsonian Seminar

At the Smithsonian Institution's seminar, Dr. Mary McCaul discusses gender differences in drug abuse and alcoholism.

The event, cosponsored by NIDA and the Society for Women's Health Research (SWHR) was held January 29. Nearly 200 attendees heard Dr. Mary McCaul of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore provide an overview of gender differences in drug abuse and alcoholism; Dr. Kathleen Brady of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston discuss issues associated with comorbidity in women being treated for substance abuse; Dr. David Vlahov of the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City describe health consequences of drug abuse; Dr. Dace Svikis of The Johns Hopkins University discuss treatment issues for pregnant or HIV-positive women; and Dr. Brenda Miller of the University of Buffalo, New York, discuss drug-abusing women's increased risks for violence and victimization. In addition to these NIDA-supported scientists, Dr. Florence Haseltine, founder of the SWHR, and Dr. Neil Grunberg of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, made presentations on aspects of gender differences in drug abuse, treatment, and recovery.

NIDA NOTES - Volume 15, Number 2

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