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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - February, 2004

Media and Education Activities

Press Releases

October 22, 2003 - NIDA Goes Back to School. At a press briefing held in Washington, D.C., Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, announced the Institute's Back to School initiative, which provides students and teachers with informative, accurate information about addiction and drug abuse. One component of NIDA Goes Back to School is "NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse," an interactive Web site officially launched at the event. Available at, the site was developed with help from the Kids Design Team and the University of Baltimore's School of Information Arts and Technologies.

October 31, 2003 - NIDA NewsScan #26 - Special Funding Issue

  • Novel Approaches to Phenotyping Drug Abuse
  • International Bioethics Education and Career Development
  • Molecular Genetics of Drug Addiction Vulnerability
  • Interactions Between Stem Cells and the Microenvironment In vivo
  • SBIR/STTR Phase II Competing Continuation Awards
  • Basic and Translational Research in Emotion

November 10, 2003 - Treatment Providers Need to be Aware that a Myriad of Health Problems Often Accompany Substance Abuse. Results of two new studies, funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, show that people with substance abuse disorders often have accompanying medical or psychiatric conditions that can include bone fractures, muscle injuries, pain disorders, depression, anxiety, and even psychoses. The studies are published in the November issues of Archives of Internal Medicine and Archives of General Psychiatry.

December 8, 2003 - New Research in Animals Reveals Possible Long-Term Effects of Stimulants on Brain and Behavior. Three new studies conducted in animals, published in the December issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry, provide evidence that misuse of the stimulant methylphenidate (Ritalin) may have long-term effects on the brain and behavior. While methylphenidate and other stimulant medications are the recommended treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), based on the more than 150 controlled studies demonstrating their safety and efficacy when used as prescribed, these three studies showed changes in the brains of young (adolescent or pre-adolescent) animals that persisted into adulthood. In both animals and humans, the brain continues to develop throughout adolescence. If the current studies are applicable to humans, they could have important implications for young people who use stimulants for recreational purposes.

Articles of Interest

September 9, 2003, The New York Times-"Smoking Tied to Kidney and Spleen Damage"-NIDA study mentioned.

September 22, 2003, Newsday-"Epilepsy Drug Eyed for Cocaine Addiction"-Interview with Frank Vocci, Ph.D.

October 21, 2003, Washington Post-"The Pain to Come"-Interview with Wilson Compton, Ph.D.

November 26, 2003, JAMA-"NIDA's New Leader: From Rejection to Direction"-Interview with Nora D. Volkow, M.D.

December 4, 2003, Nature Magazine-"Scientists Go to Jail to Crack Substance Abuse" - Interview with Nora D. Volkow, M.D.

Dr. Frank Vocci, Director, DTR&D, was interviewed by Laura Scoles of the Journal for Minority Medical Students in September 2003 regarding buprenorphine as a new treatment and pharmacotherapies for cocaine dependence.

Dr. Frank Vocci was interviewed in September 2003 by Mike Schwartz of the Press Enterprise in Riverside CA regarding the buprenorphine/naloxone paper in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Frank Vocci was interviewed in November 2003 by Brandon Tubbs of the Anniston Star regarding methamphetamine addiction treatment.

Dr. Frank Vocci was interviewed in November 2003 by Mary Beuzard of Science and Life regarding the nicotine vaccine.

Dr. Frank Vocci was interviewed in November 2003 by ABC Radio in Brisbane, Australia regarding NIDA's research portfolio and treatment research.

Dr. David Gorelick, IRP, was quoted about adverse effects from cocaine use in a recent article "Close-up: Cocaine." The article appeared in October, 2003 issues of Junior Scholastic, Scholastic Choices, and Scholastic Science World magazines.

Educational Activities

On October 26, 2003, Sara Rosario PILB/OSPC, participated in the 3rd Annual Radio Unica Hispanic Heath Fair held in Dallas, TX. Ms. Rosario represented NIH at the agency's information booth at this fair. NIDA collaborated with other IC's to provide funding, staffing, and publications in both English and Spanish for this event. The Radio Unica Hispanic Health Fair traveled to 12 major Hispanic market cities in 2003, in an effort to provide information on major health problems, and help reduce health disparities among the Hispanic/Latino population in the United States.

NIDA has launched a new outreach program to involve primary health care physicians in the early recognition and assessment of, and intervention with, substance abusing patients and their families. As part of this initiative NIDA, along with Sheppard Pratt Health System, and other partners, sponsored an educational seminar for primary health care providers to give them vital drug abuse information that they can use in their practice. The seminar was held at the Sheppard Pratt Conference Center in Baltimore on December 17, 2003. NIDA Director, Dr. Nora D. Volkow was one of the featured speakers.

In collaboration with the Maryland chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, coalition partners, and corporate sponsors, NIDA hosted a tent at the New Year's Eve Spectacular, a free and widely attended alcohol-, drug-, and smoke-free community event featuring fireworks. The event, held in Baltimore on December 31, 2003, is a component of NIDA's physician outreach initiative. It served as an assessment tool to determine the impact of community outreach for possible implementation at a national level. The purpose of NIDA's involvement in this event was to communicate with and encourage physicians, specifically the pediatricians, to put into practice the Institute's research findings on effective drug abuse prevention.


January 20-23, 2004: Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of American National Leadership Forum XIV

February 12-17, 2004: American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Conference

February 18-21, 2004: Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco Annual Meeting

March 8-10, 2004: Drug Discovery Technology Europe 2004

March 11-14, 2004: Society for Research on Adolescence 10th Biennial Meeting

March 31 - April 3, 2004: PRIDE 27th Annual World Drug Conference


Research Findings

Program Activities

Extramural Policy and Review Activities

Congressional Affairs

International Activities

Meetings and Conferences

Media and Education Activities

Planned Meetings


Staff Highlights

Grantee Honors

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