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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - February, 2005

International Activities

Administrative Supplements
In September 2004, the NIDA International Program concluded a very successful administrative supplement program with the awarding of 16 international supplements to existing NIDA grants. The intent of the international supplement announcement is to stimulate collaborative research between current NIDA grantees and researchers in other countries. Funds were made available for administrative supplements to existing NIDA-supported research projects to take advantage of opportunities to establish collaborative relationships with scientists conducting research, or with a potential to conduct research in other countries. The 16 awards were made for research in 10 countries including China, France, Spain, Australia, Hungary, South Africa, Russia, New Zealand, Georgia and Scotland.

Administrative Supplements for U.S. - Netherlands Collaborative Research
On November 9, 2004, the NIDA International Program and The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) announced the availability of administrative supplements to support collaborative research in the United States and The Netherlands (NOT-DA-05-002). Current NIDA grantees may request funding to expand existing NIDA-supported research projects, within the scope of the original grant, to take advantage of the unique opportunities offered by binational drug abuse research. Priority will be given to research projects that emphasize the following areas: 1) the effect of exposure to marijuana on the developing brain; 2) prevention and treatment strategies related to marijuana use in children and adolescents; 3) prevention strategies/interventions for other abused drugs with emphasis on adolescents and young adulthood. Only existing R01 and R21 grants supported by NIDA with at least one year of support remaining at the time of the supplemental award are eligible for support under this notice. Supplements may be requested for up to two years of support, but extend no longer than the parent grant, with funding beginning no later than September 30, 2005. NIDA anticipates that up to three projects will be funded under this initiative. NIDA and ZonMw will collaboratively fund the awards through the 1999 Exchange of Letters between the two organizations.

IP Meeting Identifies Drugged-Driving Research Needs and Opportunities
NIDA-supported a workshop on drugged-driving research needs that was held prior to the August 2004 International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety meeting in Glasgow, Scotland. During the NIDA pre-conference, IP Director Dr. Steven W. Gust discussed the Institute's international programs and collaborative research goals with 22 international experts in drugged driving. The participants, representing 13 nations, identified primary research questions about drugged driving and suggested mechanisms to establish and support international research collaboration on those questions. The experts suggested that NIDA develop a five-year plan for international collaborative research on drugged driving areas including: epidemiology of drugged driving, new technology for drug detection, identification techniques, policy studies, and prevention and treatment research. The participants also requested that NIDA assist researchers in standardizing data collection variables to facilitate cross-site comparison of research results.

Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Awards (DISCA)
The NIDA 2004 Distinguished International Scientists have completed their research visits to the United States. The competitive DISCA awards provide support to senior scientists during research exchange visits of one to three months so that applicants and their partners can cooperate on drug abuse research.

  • Dr. Helena Barros, Fundacao Faculdade Federal Ciencias Medicas Porto Alegre, Brazil, and NIDA grantee, Dr. Klaus Miczek, Tufts University, have filed an R01 grant application to investigate the critical behavioral, physiological and corticolimbic features of different stress experiences that play a significant role in promoting escalation of cocaine self-administration in female rats. The binational research team proposes to document changes to the GABAergic system and the efficacy of GABAA and GABAB agonists after repeated stress and drug experiences. Drs. Barros and Miczek hope to identify predictors that influence the transition from drug experimentation to an intense and dysregulated pattern of cocaine use, particularly among females, which could potentially allow treatment providers to implement preventive measures or treatments that are specifically designed for each individual. After her return to Brazil, Dr. Barros began conducting experiments to adapt the methods Dr. Miczek uses in his laboratory and collect preliminary data.
  • Dr. Ivan Berlin, Groupe Haspitalier Universitaire Pitie-Salpetriere, France, and Dr. Lirio S. Covey, New York State Psychiatric Institute, analyzed data about the mood, coping, personality traits, and genetic markers compiled for 600 smokers motivated to quit smoking during a multi-site therapeutic trial. Based on their analysis, the researchers submitted an abstract for presentation at the 2005 Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco and began preparing an article for submission to scientific journals. Drs. Berlin and Covey also prepared a second manuscript that addresses the relationship of the ability to quit smoking with the dopamine receptor D2 (DRD2) polymorphism and the Dopamine Transporter polymorphism (DAT). During Dr. Berlin's two-month visit to the United States, he presented his research to scientific audiences at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the NIDA Intramural Research Program in Baltimore.
  • Dr. Richard Isralowitz, Ben Gurion University, Israel; Dr. Lala Straussner, New York University; and Dr. Andrew Rosenblum, National Development and Research Institutes, New York, collaborated on research about drug use among Former Soviet Union (FSU) immigrants in the United States. The team prepared an annotated bibliography on immigrants, immigration, acculturation and drug use; translated five data collection instruments in Russian to simplify data collection for future research projects among FSU immigrants; prepared a concept paper and recommendations for future research on using drug treatment programs to deliver infectious disease services to drug-using FSU immigrants; and submitted a scientific paper for publication.

INVEST Drug Abuse Research Fellowship

NIDA has selected two INVEST Drug Abuse Research Fellows: Dr. Tsafrir Loebl, Israel; and Dr. Maciej Stasiak, Poland.

  • Dr. Loebl will work with Dr. David R. Gastfriend, Massachusetts General Hospital, to investigate treatment modalities and outcomes using the American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Patient Placement Criteria (PPC). They will compare the effects of long-acting Risperidone with the effects of a placebo by assessing emotional, behavioral, and cognitive conditions (PPC Dimension 3) and continued use and relapse potential (PPC Dimension 5). Results will be correlated with functional imaging studies of cocaine-cue stimuli. Drs. Loebl and Gastfriend will also test the effects of a 12-week Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) program on readiness to change among non-treatment seeking, active cocaine-dependent individuals, by administering the PPC Dimension 4 assessment and conducting functional imaging studies at baseline and endpoint of the MET program. A psychiatrist specializing in addiction treatment, Dr. Loebl has just completed his residency at the Geha Mental Health Center in Petah-Tiqva, Israel, where he studied changes in gene expression following exposure to Delta9-THC.
  • Dr. Stasiak will work with Dr. Nicholas E. Goeders, Louisiana State University - Shreveport to determine which combinations of pharmacological and behavioral therapies are most effective in reducing cocaine seeking by rats. The researchers will investigate pharmacotherapies derived from benzodiazepines, corticosterone synthesis inhibitors, and CRH receptor antagonists along with conditioned cue reinforcement to better understand the complex mechanism through which stress alters vulnerability to cocaine seeking. Dr. Stasiak holds a Ph.D. and a D.Sc. in neurophysiology and is an adjunct professor at the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology in Warsaw. His research has been published in Behavioural Brain Research, Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis and he earned the 2001 award from The Polish Academy of Sciences and the Polish Neuroscience Society for the best work in neurobiology.

Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellowship
NIDA Humphrey Fellow Makes News Worldwide
In an internationally distributed interview, current NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellow, Dr. Arun Kumar Sharma, India, described how the NIDA Humphrey Fellowship is changing his perspective and approach to issues in research and community medicine by providing a global context for the connection between drug abuse and HIV/AIDS. Dr. Sharma discussed his studies of individual dynamics and social network analysis to design science-based interventions to prevent HIV in drug-using populations. He also talked about the need to disseminate this perspective and new approaches among scientists, politicians, and the media in India. Washington File, an international news service provided by the U.S. Department of State, released the interview December 1, 2004.

IP Hosts Orientation for Humphrey Fellows
NIDA staff discussed the Institute's drug abuse research activities and priorities when the Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows attended an orientation session at NIDA headquarters on Friday, September 23, 2004. Presenters included: Drs. Steven W. Gust and M. Patricia Needle, IP; and Drs. Betty Tai and Jacques Normand, CCTN; Dr. Richard Hawks, DPMCDA; Dr. David Shurtleff, DBNBR; Dr. Laurence Stanford, DCNDBT and Dr. Jack Stein, DESPR. Dr. Needle and Ms. Dale Weiss, IP, also met with each Humphrey Fellow individually in November to discuss plans for the Fellows' research affiliations with NIDA grantees. NIDA and the U.S. Department of State support the Fellowship program, which includes academic courses at Johns Hopkins University, a minimum of six weeks in a research affiliation with a NIDA grantee, and professional development activities to help Fellows establish personal relationships with NIDA grantees and staff. The 2004-2005 Humphrey Fellows are:

  • Dr. Luis Alfonzo Bello, Public Health Physician, Ministry of Public Health, Caracas, Venezuela;
  • Ms. Snezana Rosic, Elementary School Psychologist, Novi Sad, Serbia & Montenegro;
  • Dr. Irena Jakovljevic, Psychiatrist, Montenegro, Serbia & Montenegro;
  • Dr. Venera Zakirova, Assistant Professor, Moscow Humanitarian University, and Family Service Counselor, Ufa, Russia;
  • Dr. Khola Iram, AIDS Prevention Project Manager, Peshwar, Pakistan;
  • Dr. Charlton Easton Collie, Pulmonologist and Medical Lecturer, Kingston, Jamaica;
  • Dr. Arun Kumar Sharma, Community Medicine Faculty, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India; and
  • Dr. Nael Mostafa Hasan, Psychiatrist, Behman Hospital, Cairo, Egypt.

Former Humphrey Fellow Appointed to Bangladesh Government Post
1993-1994 Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellow A.K.M. Abdul Awal Mazumder, Bangladesh, has been appointed to the Prime Minister's staff.

Travel Support
NIDA supported a November 17-21, 2004, workshop to train Thai scientists in using DENS-ASI assessment tools by providing travel assistance to Dr. Deni Carise, Treatment Research Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

NIDA sponsored a symposium on "Drug Abuse and HIV/AIDS in the Asia Region" at the XVIII World Congress of the World Association for Social Psychiatry, Globalization and Diversity: Challenges for Social Psychiatry, which was held October 24 - 27, 2004, in Kobe, Japan. Shridhar D. Sharma, M.D., Institute of Human Behavior & Allied Sciences (India), chaired the session, which was designed for practitioners and researchers attempting to better understand and respond to the epidemics of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS. The presenters discussed emerging trends and consequences of drug use, including methamphetamine and opiates, which are the region's primary drugs of abuse; reviewed effective, evidence-based practices for prevention interventions; and outlined the implications of drug abuse treatment for prevention of HIV/AIDS. The panelists also offered practical approaches to overcoming the gap between research and practice and addressed cultural differences within and across countries in the region. Presenters included former Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellow M. Suresh Kumar, M.D., D.P.M., M.P.H., Institute of Mental Health and SAHAI Trust (India); Martin Lutterjohann, Diph. Psych., National Authority for Combating Drugs (Cambodia); NIDA grantee Wayne Wiebel, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Chicago and Family Health International (Indonesia); and Zunyou Wu, M.D., Ph.D., National Center for AIDS/STD Control & Prevention, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China).

NIDA supported the participation of 11 researchers at the Frontiers in Addiction Research meeting, held October 22, 2004, in San Diego, California, in conjunction with the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting to discuss future directions in the neuroscience of drug abuse and related areas. Travel support was awarded to: Ms. Laurie Sellings, McGill University, Canada; Dr. Miriam Melis, University of Cagliari, Italy; Dr. Patricia DiCiano, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Dr. Tie-Yuan Zhang, McGill University, Canada; Ms. Parisa Zarnegar, Karolinska Institute, Sweden; Mr. Paulo J. Cunha, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Ms. Stefania Fasano, San Raffaele University, Italy; Dr. Alexander Zharkovsky, University of Tartu, Estonia; Mr. Enrique Rodriguez Borrero, University of Puerto Rico; Mr. Ravid Doron, Bar-Ilan University, Israel; and Ms. Camilla Bellone, University of Geneva, Switzerland.

NIDA supported the participation of 14 drug abuse researchers from Colombia, Mexico, Spain, and the United States, at a one-day preconference workshop on International Scientific Research Collaborations, which was held in conjunction with the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse (NHSN) conference on October 11 - 14, 2004, in San Antonio, Texas. NHSN is dedicated to improving the health of Hispanics by 1) increasing the amount and quality of interdisciplinary translational research on drug abuse; and 2) fostering the development of Hispanic scientists in drug abuse research. Dr. Steven Gust opened the meeting by discussing NIDA's efforts to promote international collaboration on drug abuse research by supporting research, training, exchange opportunities, and international meetings. NIDA-supported participants included:

  • From Colombia: Agusto Pérez-G—mez, Ph.D., visiting scientist, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
  • From Mexico: former NIDA INVEST Fellow Silvia Cruz, Ph.D., CINESTAV; Emilia Figueroa Guillen, M.D., Clinica Integral de Tratamiento; Eduardo Lazcano Ponce, Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica; Jazmin Mora Rios, Ph.D., Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatr’a Ram—n de la Fuente; and Ricardo Sanchez-Huesca, Ph.D., Centros de Integracion Juvenil.
  • From Spain: Maria Angeles Luengo-Martin, Ph.D., Universidad de Santiago de Compostela; Miguel Angel Mu–oz, Universidad de Granada; Francisco Javier Romero, M.D., Ph.D., Universidad Cardenal Herrera-CEU; and Vicent M. Villar, Ph.D., Universidad Cardenal Herrera-CEU.
  • From the United States: James Anthony, Ph.D., Michigan State University; Elena Bastida, Ph.D.,University of Texas-Pan American; Kathleen Kantak, Ph.D., Boston University; and Monica Sequeira Malta, Ph.D. John Hopkins University.

NIDA supported the participation by Dr. A. Thomas McLellan, Treatment Research Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the Regional Meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the Middle East, which was held in Cairo October 3-4, 2004. NIDA, UNODC, Cairo University, Behman Hospital, and Merck co-sponsored the meeting.

NIDA supported the participation of two researchers at the Central/East European Collegium Internationale Neuropsychopharmacologicum Regional Meeting, which was held in conjunction with Masaryk University September 9-12, 2004, in Brno, Czech Republic. Dr. Robert J. Malcolm, Jr., Medical University of South Carolina, discussed the psychostimulant modafinil and its implications for treating cocaine dependency. Dr. Barbara J. Mason, The Scripps Research Institute, LaJolla, California, discussed the use of acamprosate to treat alcohol dependence with and without comorbid substance abuse.

NIDA supported the participation of three researchers at the International Congress on Addiction, held September 8-10, 2004, in Vienna, Austria. Travel support was awarded to Dr. Claire Sterk, Emery University; Dr. Sandro Galea, New York Academy of Medicine; and Dr. Lawrence Scheier, New Mexico Behavioral Health Research Center.

NIDA supported the participation of five researchers at the University of Miami Drug Abuse and AIDS Research Center International Conference, held August 25-27, 2004, in Miami, Florida. Travel support was awarded to: Dr. Javier Bustos, Helios Salud, Argentina; Dr. Frank Mora Rodriguez, University of Costa Rica; Dr. Rosario Achi Araya, University of Costa Rica; Dr. Catalina Mejia, Yanhaas and Associates, Columbia; and former NIDA INVEST Fellow Dr. Zhao Min, Shanghai Mental Health Center, China.

Dr. Steven Gust, IP, attended the annual progress review of the Rosita project in Santiago de Compostela, Spain in November 2004. The Rosita project is an international research study to assess the feasibility of using roadside testing for illicit drug use. Six countries in Europe and four U.S. States are participating in this multi-site effort.


Brochures Describe NIDA International Research Training and Exchange Programs
Three new brochures describe the program components, eligibility requirements, application procedures, deadlines, and award notification dates for the research training and exchange programs supported by the NIDA International Program. The brochures will be distributed at NIDA-supported meetings and mailed to target audiences. They may be downloaded in PDF format from the IP Web site, The three brochures are:

  • INVEST Drug Abuse Research Fellowships provide one year of training with a NIDA grantee in the United States for scientists from any other country who have at least two years of postdoctoral research experience.
  • NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellowships offer academic course work and professional affiliations for mid-career professionals from eligible countries who hold a doctoral or master's degree and have substantial professional or research experience in drug abuse.
  • NIDA Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Program Awards (DISCA) and NIDA Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Awards for U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents (USDISCA) support one- to three-month exchange visits for NIDA grantees and their foreign research partners. Both scientists must have at least seven years of postdoctoral experience. The applicants may choose to have the foreign drug abuse researcher visit the United States by applying for a DISCA award, or have the NIDA grantee travel to the foreign country by applying for a USDISCA award.

International Visitors

Dr. Lula Beatty, SPO, and Dr. Jacques Normand, OD, met with two visitors from Venezuela on September 22, 2004. The U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program sponsored the visit. The discussions focused on HIV/AIDS and issues concerning special populations in the United States and Venezuela.

The President of the Mongolian Anti-Drug Education Promotion Foundation, Mr. Erdene-Ochir Dashnyam visited NIDA on October 5, 2004. Drs. Liz Ginexi and Larry Seitz, DESPR, and Dr. Ivan Montoya, DPMCDA, met with Mr. Dashnyam. The informative discussion centered on the extent of the drug abuse and HIV/AIDS problems in Mongolia.

Dr. Timothy Condon, OD, met with Dr. Didier Jayle, the French National Coordinator for Drugs and Drug Addiction on October 13, 2004. Accompanying Dr. Jayle was Mrs. Daniéle Dupraz, the Diplomatic Advisor at the Inter-Departmental Mission, Dr. Jacques Drucker, the Counselor for Health Affairs at the Embassy of France, and Ms. Terry Gay, International Health Officer, DHHS.

On November 12, 2004, Dr. Jag Khalsa, DPMCDA, and Ms. Dale Weiss, IP, met with Dr. Galina Trastanetskaya, the Deputy Director of the Department of Youth Policy and Support for Children, Russia. The National Peace Foundation sponsored Dr. Trastanetskaya's visit. Accompanying Dr. Trastanetskaya was Dr. Olga Bessolova, Ms. Sarah Harder, and Ms. Jeanne Whitney Smith of the National Peace Foundation.

Ms. Dale Weiss, IP, met with Dr. Marie Haring Sweeney, Health Attaché to Vietnam, and Mr. Bruce Ross, Deputy Director of the HHS Global AIDS Program in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting was sponsored by the Fogarty International Center. Ms. Weiss discussed NIDA's past and current programs in Vietnam and Thailand. Dr. Sweeny and Mr. Ross discussed their roles as the Health Attaché and Deputy Director of the HHS Global AIDS Program respectively.

Ms. Dale Weiss participated in a presentation to a delegation from Thailand on November 16, 2004. The presentation was part of the delegation's study visit to the United States on Substance Abuse Surveillance Systems. Also participating in the presentation were Dr. Erin Artigiani, University of Maryland, Center for Substance Abuse Research; Dr. Stephan Sherman, University of Maryland, Bureau of Government Research; and Dr. Susanna Nemes, Danya International, Inc. The Thai Delegation included Dr. Vichai Poshyachinda, Ms. Abha Sirivongs Na Ayudhya, Dr. Sawetri Assanangkornchai, Dr. Apinun Aramrattana, Dr. Manop Kanato and Ms. Naramon Chuangrungsi.

On December 15, 2004, Ms. Dale Weiss met with Dr. Craig Shapiro, DHHS Health Attaché in Beijing, China. The meeting took place at, and was sponsored by, the Fogarty International Center. Discussions included NIDA's past and current work in China, and the role of Dr. Shapiro as the Health Attaché.

Other International Activities

Drs. Frank Vocci and Ahmed Elkashef participated in symposia at Cairo University, Ain Shams University, Behman Hospital and the UNODC training on drug abuse and clinical studies while in Cairo from September 24- October 1, 2004. Drs. Richard Rawson and David Farrabee of UCLA and Drs. Deni Carise and Tom McLellan of University of Pennsylvania also participated in the symposia and trainings.

Dr. Frank Vocci presented at the ICAA meeting in Venice, Italy on Medications for the Management of Cocaine Dependence on November 4, 2004.

Dr. Frank Vocci presented at the World Psychiatry Association meeting in Florence, Italy on the Neurobiology of Addiction on November 11, 2004. Dr. Ivan Montoya presented the results of a study of buprenorphine for the treatment of concurrent cocaine and heroin dependence at the Italian Congress of Drug Abuse, October 17-21, 2004.

Dr. Jag Khalsa of DPMC, at the invitation of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, participated in a Mexican Government-U.S. Embassy-co-sponsored meeting on Drug Abuse in Children and gave a talk on Medical and Health Consequences of Marijuana, December 1-3, 2004. He also met with several drug abuse authorities in Mexico who were very appreciative of the technical support they have received from NIDA and other US Government agencies.

Drs. Wilson Compton, and Kevin P. Conway, DESPR, co-chaired the 10th International Federation of Psychiatric Epidemiology symposium on Life Course Epidemiology of Substance Use Disorders, in Bristol and Bath, England, September 10-13, 2004. Invited talks were delivered by Drs. Robert Zucker, Kenneth Sher, Michael Lynskey, and Stephen Gilman.

Dr. Elizabeth Robertson, DESPR, briefed Veronica Colondam director of Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa for a drug-free Indonesia on prevention programming and research on November 10, 2004.

Dr. Larry Seitz, of the Prevention Research Branch met with Dr. Didier Jayle and other representatives of the French government regarding prevention issues on October 13, 2004.

Dr. Yonette Thomas, DESPR and Gabriele Fischer, Medical University Vienna, co-chaired the 16th International Congress on Addiction on The Epidemiology of Drug Abuse: Linking Environment, Culture, and Genes, in Vienna Austria, September 7-10, 2004. Invited talks were delivered by Drs. Claire Sterk, Sandro Galea, Lawrence Scheier, and Yonette Thomas.

Drs. Yonette Thomas, DESPR, Patricia Needle, NIDA International Program, and Petra Exnerova Jacobs, Academia Medica Pragensis, co-chaired the Seminar on Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Research: Possibilities for International Collaboration, in Prague, Czech Republic, September 13, 2004. Invited talks were delivered by Drs. Lawrence Scheier, Geoffrey Hunt, Patricia Needle, and Yonette Thomas.

Ana Anders, Senior Advisor on Special Populations, presented on NIDA's National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse at the "Science Week" Conference, November 8-11, 2004 in Valencia, Spain.

Dr. Marilyn Huestis, IRP, was the plenary lecturer for the annual meeting of the Japanese Association of Forensic Toxicologists in Akita, Japan. Her lecture, Quality Assurance and Quality Control in Forensic Toxicology Laboratories in the United States, was specifically requested by the association in an effort to improve quality assurance and method validation criteria in Japan.

Dr. Marilyn Huestis was a co-host of the FBI/SOFT/TIAFT meeting in Washington, D.C. in September 2004. This was the largest forensic toxicology meeting ever held with representation from over 60 countries.


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

In Memoriam

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