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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse
February, 2001

International Activities

NIDA and the World Health Organization Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development assembled 37 representatives from 16 nations at Street Children and Drug Abuse: Social and Health Consequences, held September 17-19, 2000, in Marina Del Rey, California. The researchers and community-based organizers met to enhance networks for communication and cooperation, examine science-based interventions from around the world, and adopt action priorities for a collaborative, cross-national, multidisciplinary research agenda that will promote the health and well-being of young people. The organizing committee was co-chaired by Dr. M. Patricia Needle, International Program, and Dr. Andrew Ball, WHO Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development, and included Dr. Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus, University of California, Los Angeles; Dr. John Howard, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia; and Ms. Moira O'Brien, DESPR. Other participants included Ms. Sheryl Massaro, OSPC; Dr. Jacques Normand, DESPR; and NIDA grantees Dr. Philippe Bourgois, University of California at San Francisco, and Dr. Michael Clatts, National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., New York. The U.S. Department of State provided financial support for the meeting.

NIDA and the Thai Ministry of Public Health cosponsored the Pacific Regional Research Conference on Methamphetamine and Other Amphetamine-Type Stimulants in Bangkok, Thailand, November 14-17, 2000. Researchers and treatment professionals discussed the latest scientific findings on the epidemiology, ethnography, and neuropsychopharmacology of methamphetamine use, clinical and treatment research issues, the impact of methamphetamine abuse on HIV/AIDS, and an Asia Pacific research agenda. NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner addressed the opening plenary session; NIDA Associate Director Dr. Timothy P. Condon chaired the session on epidemiology and ethnography. The international organizing committee included Dr. M. Patricia Needle, NIDA International Program; Dr. Jirot Sindhvananda, Thai Ministry of Public Health; and NIDA grantee Dr. Walter L. Ling, University of California, Los Angeles. NIDA grantees who participated included Dr. Patricia Case, Harvard Medical School; Dr. Linda Chang, Brookhaven National Laboratory; Dr. Michael Clatts, National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., New York; Dr. Robert T. Malison, Yale University School of Medicine; and Dr. David Segal, University of California San Diego School of Medicine.

NIDA selected three senior researchers as recipients of the first Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Program Awards: Dr. Tibor Wenger, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary; Dr. Christian Schčtz, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany; and Dr. Anton Bespalov, Pavlov Medical University, St. Petersburg, Russia. Designed to encourage international collaborative research on drug abuse, the awards support short-term visits to NIDA grantees by established researchers from other countries. Dr. Wenger will work with Dr. Billy Martin, Virginia Commonwealth University, using immunohistochemistry to determine the anatomical relationship between cannabinoid and dopamine systems. Dr. Schčtz will collaborate with Dr. John Krystal, Yale School of Medicine, to prepare a research grant proposal for a pilot study of the effects of the opioid antagonist naloxone on a challenge with the NMDA antagonist memantine. Dr. Bespalov will collaborate with Dr. Athina Markou, The Scripps Research Institute, to expand her study of the intravenous self-administration of nicotine in nicotine-dependent mice.

NIDA welcomed the 2000-2001 Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows with an orientation program December 1, 2000. Three Fellows are supported by NIDA: Dr. Olga Vassioutina, Russia; Dr. Vedran Marde_ic, Croatia; and Ms. Elvia Amesty de Torres, Venezuela.

The 2000-2001 INVEST Research Fellows have begun their postdoctoral research and training with NIDA grantees. A senior clinical consultant at Linkoping University Hospital, Sweden, Dr. Henrik Druid will work with Dr. Deborah C. Mash, University of Miami School of Medicine. Dr. Druid will study the neurochemical mechanisms involved in the deaths of chronic cocaine abusers. A psychiatrist and postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute on Drug Dependence in Beijing, China, Dr. Chuang Liu will work with Dr. Elliot A. Stein, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He will study the underlying mechanisms contributing to craving by using functional magnetic resonance imaging to determine which neuroanatomical sites are activated during cue-induced nicotine craving.

On October 5, 2000, Dr. Elizabeth Robertson met with Sergio Haro Cordero and Jorge Alejandro Medellin, Mexican investigative news reporters interested in prevention programming and outcomes in the United States.

Ms. Susan David, DESPR, met with Mr. Timo S. Jetsu, Administrator, Secretariat General of the Drugs Coordination Unit, The European Commission, on September 21, 2000, to discuss new research in drug abuse prevention and how those findings can be applied to European drug problems.

Ms. Susan David and Dr. Kathy Etz, DESPR, met with Drs. Chung, Chung, and Lee from Korea on September 27, 2000, discussing prevention research in both the U.S. and Korea.

Dr. Kathy Etz met with Ms. Maria Paz from Chile on October 2, 2000, to discuss plans for broadly disseminating drug abuse prevention in Chile, exploring how U.S. based research can inform this effort.

Ms. Moira O'Brien, CRB, DESPR, participated in the Inter-American System of Uniform Drug Use Data Expert Advisory Meeting, sponsored by the Organization of American States Drug Abuse Control Commission (OAS/CICAD), held in Panama City, Panama, September 26-28, 2000.

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