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National Institute on Drug Abuse

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

February, 2000

Media and Education Activities


NIDA received three Galaxy Awards from MerComm, Inc, which is affiliated with the International Academy of Communication Arts and Sciences: NIDA NOTES special anniversary issue (Volume 14, Number 1) received a finalist award in newsletter copyrighting. The NIDA artcard series developed to advertise Infofax and the web site received a bronze award in the miscellaneous promotion category. The NIDA Goes to School toolbox received a gold award in the educational program design category.

Press Releases

September 1, 1999 - Differences in Human Brain Chemistry May Account for Different Responses to Stimulants. Scientists have discovered a mechanism that appears to account for the different levels of euphoria people experience when taking a stimulant drug, according to this study funded by NIDA and the US Department of Energy. The study, which appeared in the September issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, found that people who have lower levels of dopamine D2 receptors in their brains are more inclined to like the effects of methylphenidate, a mild stimulant, than people who have higher levels of these receptors and who were found to dislike the drug's effects. As a result of this news release, articles appeared in Substance Abuse Report and ScienceDaily Magazine.

September 9, 1999 - NIDA Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Scientific Progress with a Day of Events for Public and Scientific Audiences. NIDA held a full day of activities, including an evening event for the general public and an afternoon scientific symposium, on September 27, 1999, at the NIH Clinical Center. Dr. Alan I. Leshner, NIDA Director, hosted the commemoration of NIDA's 25 years of leadership in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction.

September 15, 1999 - Scientists Identify Brain Chemicals Involved in 'Switching On' Cocaine Addiction. Scientists supported by NIDA identified two chemicals in the brains of mice that appear to play a major role in the addiction process. The study appeared in the September 16, 1999, issue of Nature. Researchers found that adding the extra delta-FosB gene caused mice to become more sensitive to the pleasurable effects of cocaine, a change that is thought to play an important role in the development of cocaine craving and addiction. In addition, researchers found that inserting GluR2, a glutamate receptor subunit, into the nucleus accumbens of mice dramatically enhanced sensitivity to cocaine reward. As a result of this news release, articles appeared in Reuters Health, The Washington Post, and The Chicago Tribune.

September 28, 1999 - NIH Institute Launches National Drug Addiction Treatment Clinical Trials Network. Regional Research Centers Will Work with Community Treatment Programs to Test Drug Abuse Treatments. In an effort to dramatically improve treatment throughout the country, NIDA awarded $55 in grants over five years to establish a clinical trials network that will more rapidly move promising science-based drug addiction treatments into community settings. As a result of this news release, articles appeared in Lexis-Nexis Universe, The Oregonian, Workplace Substance Abuse Advisor, Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, as well as on Lexis-Nexis Universe and Washington Fax.

October 12, 1999 - Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide. NIDA prepared this guide to summarize basic principles that characterize effective drug addiction treatment, to provide answers to frequently raised questions, to describe the types of treatment, and to present examples of scientifically based and tested treatment components. The guide was released in conjunction with an article by NIDA Director Alan Leshner, entitled "Science-Based Views of Drug Addiction and Its Treatment," that appeared in the October 13, 1999 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. As a result of this news release, articles appeared in Reuters Health, UPI Science News, The NIH Word on Health, as well as on Lexis-Nexis Universe, M2 Presswire and Washington Fax.

October 18, 1999 - Federal Institutes and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Create Tobacco Use Research Centers. Seven academic institutions were awarded grants totaling $14.5 million by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and NIDA to create the Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Centers for studying tobacco use and new ways to combat it and its consequences. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation committed an additional $14 million over five years to complement NCI's and NIDA's efforts to improve the policy understanding and communications practices of the tobacco research teams. As a result of this news release, articles appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Wisconsin State Journal Online, Star Tribune, Capital Times, as well as on WKOW television.

December 2, 1999 - Club Drugs Take Center Stage in New National Education and Prevention Initiative by NIDA and National Partners. As part of a national initiative to combat the increasing use of club drugs, NIDA announced at a news conference that it will raise its funding for research about club drugs and what to do about them by 40 percent, bringing the total committed to this important effort to $54 million. In addition, NIDA and four national organizations launched a multi-media public education strategy to alert teens, young adults, parents, educators and others about the dangers of club drugs such as Ecstasy, GHB and Rohypnol, which are often used at all-night "raves" or dance parties and have potentially life-threatening effects. NIDA's partners in this initiative include the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, Join Together and National Families in Action. This news conference generated broad coverage that included stories on every major television network-CBS, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, and CNN. In addition, the Associated Press article about the news conference appeared in newspapers across the country. Articles also appeared in USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, and other publications.

December 17, 1999 - 1999 Monitoring the Future Survey. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala and Barry McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, announced the results of the 25th annual Monitoring the Future Study on illicit drug use among teens at the HHS Headquarters in Washington, DC. The Monitoring the Future Survey, conducted by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research and funded by NIDA, has tracked 12th graders illicit drug use and attitudes towards drugs since 1975. In 1991, 8th and 10th graders were added to the study. The 1999 study surveyed more than 45,000 students in 433 schools across the nation about their lifetime use, past year use, past month use, daily use of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco. As a result of this news release, articles appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Atlanta Constitution, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Reuters Health, USA Today, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and The Los Angeles Times. Stories also aired on CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and ABC News.

December 17, 1999 - Nicotine Vaccine Shows Promise for Combating Tobacco Addiction. Researchers funded in part by NIDA have found that a nicotine vaccine may be an effective method for preventing and treating tobacco addiction. According to a paper published in the December 17 issue of Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, the scientists associated with the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation and Hennepin County Medical Center, the University of Houston-Clear Lake, and Nabi, a pharmaceutical firm based in Boca Raton, Florida, have developed a nicotine vaccine consisting of a nicotine derivative attached to a large protein. The press release announcing this finding received broad coverage, including an interview with NIDA Director Alan Leshner on the CBS Evening News. In addition, articles about the vaccine appeared in the Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and other newspapers.

Opinion Pieces/Letters

September 5, 1999, Boston Globe- Commentary by Alan I. Leshner - "The Sense in Saving Drug Addicts."

October 13, 1999, The Journal of the American Medical Association- Commentary by Alan I. Leshner - "Science-Based Views of Drug Addiction and Its Treatment."

November 2, 1999, Seattle Post-Intelligencer- Commentary by Alan I. Leshner - "Harmful Drugs on Rise in Seattle."

November 1999, THE FUTURIST- Commentary by Alan I. Leshner - "We Can Conquer Drug Addiction."

December 1, 1999, Letter to Dear Abby from Alan I. Leshner - "'Club Drugs' not harmless as portrayed." (Dear Abby is published by Universal Press Syndicate in newspapers across the country.)

NIDA Exhibits Program

The following are meetings where NIDA exhibited its publications and program announcements over the past several months:

September 27, 1999 NIDA 25th Anniversary Symposium
October 7-9, 1999 National Association of Social Workers
October 7-11, 1999 Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science
October 9-13, 1999 American Academy of Pediatrics
October 19-23, 1999 American Society of Human Genetics
October 19-24, 1999 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
October 23-28, 1999 Society for Neuroscience
October 27-30, 1999 American Psychiatric Nurses Association
October 30-November 2, 1999 Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
November 4-6, 1999 Association of Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse
November 5-7, 1999 AIDS Meeting
November 10, 1999 NIDA Town Meeting-Seattle
November 7-11, 1999 NAmerican Public Health Association
November 10-13, 1999 National Minority Research Symposium & Minority Access to Research Careers
November 11-14, 1999 Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy
November 14-17, 1999 Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Providers of New York State
November 18-21, 1999 American Indian Science & Engineering Society
December 1-4, 1999 Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
December 2-5, 1999 American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
December 11-15, 1999 American Society for Cell Biology

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