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NIDA Media Advisory Contact: Beverly Jackson
Michelle Muth
301-443-6245
FOR RELEASE, June 16, 2000

Researchers Announce Latest Findings on Drug Dependence and Abuse


WHAT:The College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) will hold its annual meeting of more than 1,000 researchers worldwide to announce the latest findings on drug abuse related to adolescents, gender differences, technology, and treatment.
WHEN:June 17 - 23, 2000
WHERE:Hilton International Caribe Hilton
Los Rosales Street
San Juan, Puerto Rico

HIGHLIGHTS/INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Pre-Meeting, June 16-17: NIDA will host: "Building International Research on Drug Abuse: Drug Abuse Treatment in the New Millennium," the 5th annual forum on international drug abuse research. Features plenary sessions, oral and poster presentations and work groups.

  • Dr. Alan I. Leshner, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) will speak at the opening plenary session on Sunday, June 18, 2000, at 8:30 AM (San Geronimo, Ballroom B).

  • Carlos Davila, a Puerto Rican artist, will receive the CPDD media award for his current exhibit on drug abuse and crime in Puerto Rico, entitled, "Ojos Que Ven" (Eyes That See).

RESEARCH NEWS:

Adolescents and Drug Abuse:

  • Youth in Puerto Rico and drug dependence: Researcher L. Warner, Rutgers University, and colleagues have found significant differences in the rates of drug abuse versus drug dependence among American and Puerto Rican youth. While adolescents in Puerto Rico have a lower incidence than American youth of alcohol and drug use, they have higher rates of drug dependence. (June 21, 10:30 AM, Ballroom A)

Researchers find that parents do make a difference:

  • A study by researchers J.J. Lloyd and J.C. Anthony of Johns Hopkins University found that an earlier level of parental supervision may be critical in a child's decision to associate with peers who use illegal substances and, ultimately, influence whether the child uses drugs. (June 21, 11:30 AM, Ballroom A)

  • A study by C.L. Storr and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University indicates that a smoking prevention program implemented both at home and in the classroom is effective in producing benefits for both children and parents. (June 21, 10:45 AM, Ballroom A)

  • Researchers A.C. Mezzich, S. Lu, and S. Parks of the University of Pittsburgh found that adolescent girls whose peers abuse substances are more susceptible to drug use. (June 22, 4:45 PM, Ballroom A)

Studies reveal that gender differences may influence drug abuse:

  • New studies indicate that women's higher estrogen levels may not only result in more drug-seeking behavior (Dr. Kathryn Cunningham and colleagues at the University of Texas at Galveston), but may also make it more difficult for women in drug abuse treatment to terminate their drug use (Dr. Wendy Lynch and colleagues at the University of Minnesota). (June 21, 10:30 AM and 10:45 AM, Ballroom B)

  • Dr. Marc Kaufman and colleagues at the Harvard Medical School studied the effects of cocaine on blood flow in the brain in men and women. Results indicate that while cocaine did constrict brain blood vessels in men, it failed to do so in women.

  • Estrogen may protect women against cocaine's vasoconstrictive effects. (June 21, noon, Ballroom B)

  • A study by Dr. L. Reneman and colleagues (at the University of Amsterdam) of the brain blood flow patterns in male and female chronic users of the stimulant drug MDMA (Ecstasy) indicates that women who use ecstasy may be more likely to develop neurologic dysfunction than male counterparts. (June 21, 12:15 PM, Ballroom B)

Technological advances mean improved treatment:

  • Findings by researchers conducting SPECT scans (single photon computer emission tomography) of cocaine abusers to test the effects of treatment medications underscored the deleterious effects of cocaine on the brain and the potential for improvement with medications.

  • University of Chicago scientists using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to test changes in blood flow patterns of amphetamine users when the brain is at work found that when these patients are performing a task requiring sustained attention, a greater number of nerve cells are involved in the function.

Promising Treatments:

  • Reducing the reward of drugs by taking away the "high" -- Researchers have found that activation of a specific receptor in the brain, called the kappa opioid receptor, appears to reduce the "high" or feel-good sensations many abused drugs (including ethanol, cocaine, and PCP) produce in the brain. Implications are that when the euphoric effects of drugs (the high) are diminished, so is the desire to take the drug.

  • Reducing the desire by taking away the craving - A recent study on rats suggests that depending on the dose administered, a compound that mimics particular effects of the neurotransmitter dopamine (pramixpexole) may be able to reduce the good feelings associated with cocaine use. (June 18, 12:30 PM, San Cristobal)

  • Studies on two medications, one conducted by Dr. R.T. Jones and colleagues (at the University of California, San Francisco) on Selegiline, used to treat depression, and another by Dr. A. VandenEynden and colleagues (at the University of Cincinnati) on Pramipexole, show promise for treating and reducing the cravings and euphoria of cocaine in users. (June 20, 10:45 AM, Ballroom C)

For more information or to arrange an interview:

NIDA CONTACT: NIDA Press Office, 301-443-6245
ON-SITE CONTACT: Trina Stevens, 787-721-0303.


The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and other topics can be ordered free of charge in English and Spanish by calling NIDA Infofax at 1-888-NIH-NIDA (644-6432) or 1-888-TTY-NIDA (889-6432) for the deaf. These fact sheets and further information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the Home page at http://www.drugabuse.gov.

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