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NIDA Home > Publications > Director's Reports > February, 2006 Index    

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - February, 2006

Media and Education Activities

Press Releases

November 29, 2005 - NIDA Unveils Campaign to Send Teens the Message about the Link between Drug Abuse and HIV.
"Drug Abuse and HIV: Learn the Link" is the message of a new public awareness campaign announced by NIDA. "Drug abuse prevention is HIV prevention," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "Research has shown that a significant proportion of young people are not concerned about becoming infected with HIV. In recent years, the number of young people in the United States diagnosed with AIDS rose substantially. Because drug use encourages risky behaviors that can promote HIV transmission, NIDA views drug abuse treatment as essential HIV prevention."

October 28, 2005 - NIDA NewsScan #39 - Special Health Disparities Issue

  • Gang Membership, Length of Incarceration Related to Injection Drug Abuse Among Jailed Puerto Rican Drug Injectors
  • Abuse of Cocaine, Heroin, and Other Drugs Is a Key Factor in Hispanic Teen Suicide
  • Designing Effective Drug Abuse and HIV Preventive Interventions for Hispanic Adolescent Subgroups
  • HIV Risk Behaviors Differ Among Homeless Drug Injectors in Puerto Rico
  • Bridging Cultural Divides Can Help Achieve Field Research Goals
  • Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy Is an Effective Form of Treatment for Minority Injection Drug Users with Late-Stage HIV
  • Depression and Therapy Side Effects May Influence Antiretroviral Adherence in Adolescents with Late-Stage HIV
  • Additional Examples from NIDA's Ongoing Research into Health Disparities and Drug Abuse

October 12, 2005 - Motivational Incentive Program is an Effective Treatment for Stimulant Drug Abuse.
The chance to win even small rewards in a prize-based Motivational Incentive program can motivate cocaine and methamphetamine abusers to stay in treatment and be drug-free for a longer period, according to a new study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health. The study, led by Dr. Nancy Petry of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Dr. Maxine Stitzer of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was published in the October 2005 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

October 12, 2005 - NIDA and Scholastic Continue to Reach Tweens with Information About Methamphetamine and Other Drugs.
Through a continuing partnership, NIDA and SCHOLASTIC, the global children's publishing and media company, will distribute information on the health effects of methamphetamine to nearly 2 million middle and high school students and their teachers. Methamphetamine's devastating effects on the brain and body, as well as the environmental and social impact of its manufacture, will be covered in an article in the fall issues for the 2005-6 school year in Scholastic Classroom Magazines' Junior Scholastic®, Science World®, CHOICES®, SCOPE®, ACTION®, and UPFRONT®. Additional articles for the 2005-6 school year will cover inhalants, prescription drugs, and drugs that may be encountered in social settings.

September 8, 2005 - NIDA NewsScan #38 - Special Back-to-School Issue

  • New Study Provides Insight to the Human Brain's Response to Methamphetamine Abuse
  • Drinking, Drug Abuse Higher in Fraternities and Sororities
  • A Healthy Start: Some Parenting Practices May Protect Youth From Early Marijuana Use
  • Adolescents Also Can Experience Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms; Differences In Severity Between Teens, Adults Noted
  • Co-Occurring Substance Abuse, Mental Disorders Increase AIDS Risk in Delinquent Youth
  • New Research Highlights Patterns of Drug Abuse in Hispanic-American Youth
  • Televised Anti-Tobacco Advertising Decreases Smoking in U.S. Youth
  • Adolescent Smoking Cessation: Is Motivation Enough?
  • Rat Study Shows Isolation During Infancy Causes Brain, Behavioral Responses to Cocaine
  • Buprenorphine Is Effective in Treating Opiate Withdrawal in Newborns of Opiate-Addicted Mothers

August 25, 2005 - Researchers Identify a Brain Chemical That Plays a Key Role in Food and Drug-Seeking Behavior.
New research performed in rats suggests that orexin, a brain chemical involved in feeding behavior, arousal, and sleep, also plays a role in reward function and drug-seeking behavior. This study suggests that orexin may be a factor in modulating the reward-seeking characteristic of substance abuse. The findings help to better identify neural pathways involved in drug abuse, craving and relapse, which may ultimately help scientists find more effective therapies. This study was published online August 14, 2005 in the journal Nature.

August 23, 2005 - NIDA NewsScan #37

  • Therapists Don't Live By Treatment Manuals Alone
  • Mouse Study Reveals Promising Compound for Treating Cocaine Abuse
  • Smoking Marijuana Alters Blood Flow in the Brain
  • Scientists Modify Fly Behavior Through Remote Control
  • Long-Term Methamphetamine Abuse Impairs Selective Inhibition
  • Heavy Abuse of Marijuana Linked to Inferior Decision-making Skills, Altered Brain Activity

August 11, 2005 - Methamphetamine Abuse, HIV Infections Cause Changes in Brain Structure.
New research published in the August 2005 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry indicates that methamphetamine abuse and HIV infection cause significant alterations in the size of certain brain structures and in both cases the changes may be associated with impaired cognitive functions, such as difficulties in learning new information, solving problems, maintaining attention and quickly processing information. Co-occurring methamphetamine abuse and HIV infection appears to result in greater impairment than each condition alone.

Articles of Interest

August 2005, Ladies Home Journal - "The Deadliest Drug you've Never Heard Of" - Interview with Joseph Frascella, Ph.D.

December 2, 2005, The Washington Times - "Ad Links Teen HIV Infection, Drug Use" - Interview with Donald R. Vereen, M.D.

Dr. Frank Vocci, Director, DPMCDA, was interviewed by Ms. Jane Spencer of the Wall Street Journal on the therapeutic potential of vaccines and monoclonal antibodies in the treatment of addiction on September 15, 2005.

Dr. Frank Vocci was interviewed by Ms. Vicki Brower, a freelance writer, on targets for addiction pharmacotherapies on September 22, 2005.

Dr. Frank Vocci was interviewed by Ms. Rita Rubin of the USA Today staff on medications to treat drug cravings on September 22, 2005.

Dr. Frank Vocci was interviewed by Ms. Ann Stanton, a freelance writer, on the current status of research on Ibogaine as an addiction treatment on November 18, 2005.

Educational Activities

Heads Up: Real News About Drugs and Your Body. Through a continuing partnership, NIDA and SCHOLASTIC INC, the global children's publishing and media company, distributed information on the health effects of methamphetamine to nearly 2 million students and teachers in grades 5 through 10 nationwide. Methamphetamine's devastating effects on the brain and body, as well as the environmental and social impact of its manufacture, were covered in an article-insert in the first issues for the 2005-2006 school year in October, in Scholastic Classroom Magazines' Junior Scholastic®, Science World®, CHOICES®, SCOPE®, ACTION®, and Up Front®. An article-insert on Inhalants followed in November with the same distribution.

In advance of World AIDS Day, NIDA launched Drug Abuse and HIV: Learn the Link, a new awareness campaign about the connection between drug abuse and HIV infection. On Tuesday, November 29, 2005, NIDA launched the new TV public service announcements and conducted a science meeting about the issue. NIDA is building a coalition of partners to help get the message out, with groups such as the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the United Negro College Fund, Special Programs Corporation. Besides distributing the spots to television stations around the country, NIDA approached movie theaters, film festivals, niche markets, public transit systems, and other commercial outlets asking them to air the ads, especially around World AIDS Day. For more information about the campaign, go to

NIDA Free Post Card Program. From December 1 (World AIDS Day) through December 31, 2005 NIDA's latest HIV/AIDS awareness post cards were distributed to the general public in free venues nationwide. More than 300,000 cards went to 12 cities with the highest population of teens: Washington, DC; Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; New York City; Chicago, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Dallas, TX; Columbus, OH; Miami, FL; Boston, MA; and Detroit, MI. Most distribution sites included movie theaters, pizza parlors, arcades, and skating rinks.

Brain Power! The NIDA Junior Scientists Program for kindergarten and first grade has been selected as a winner in the 2005 National Health Information Awards honoring the Nation's Best Consumer Health Information Programs and Materials. In May and June, more than 1,000 entries for the 12th annual National Health Information Awards were judged by a specially selected panel of health information experts. Entries were grouped and judged by Class, Division, and Category, with the target audience noted. Using a rating scale of one to 100, each judge evaluated entries for health information content, creativity, and overall excellence. The scores were then totaled and averaged. Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Merit Certificates were awarded on the basis of these averaged scores. Brain Power! won a Gold Award. This recognition program is organized by the Health Information Resource Center, a national professional clearinghouse for consumer health information. You can find more information about this program by visiting

NIDA has just released the latest in our Brain Power series, a comprehensive educational curriculum on drugs and the brain for 4-5th grade students and teachers, entitled Brain Power! The NIDA Junior Scientists Program: Grades 4-5, this curriculum follows the successful similar materials developed for grades K-1 and 2-3. NIDA is currently working on a similar program for middle school students.

CTN-Related Media and Education Activities

On September 13, 2005, Dr. Dennis Dixon, Mathematical Statistician at NIAID and President, Society for Clinical Trials, was invited to present the CCTN Classroom Series. The topic was "Discussion on Clinical Trials and the Definition of Efficacy vs. Effectiveness as Related to Clinical Research."

The CCTN in collaboration with the CTN Clinical Coordinating Center (EMMES) has created a web version of GCP training. The program is available on-line for all CTN staff that need training or refresher courses in GCP topics. This training consists of 12 modules, each module taking between 20 and 60 minutes to complete. Questions for each module are listed on the last page of the module.

The New York Node, Long Island Node, Northeast ATTC, and New York Office of Alcohol, Substance Abuse Services sponsored a conference entitled, "Bringing Contingency Management (CM) to Clinics" on October 18, 2005 in New York City. This free conference was targeted at helping clinicians to implement contingency management in their clinics.

Training on the Comprehensive Adolescent Severity Index (CASI) was held in Rockville, MD on October 17-18, 2005. Dr. Kathy Meyers, who developed the measure, led the sessions.

On November 8, 2005, Dr. Carl Pieper, Assistant Research Professor, Department of Biometry and Bioinformatics, Duke University, presented in the CCTN Classroom Series on "Large-Scale Simple Trials: Implications for Clinical Research".

The CTN Clinical Coordinating Center (EMMES Corp.) arranged for National Risk Behaviors Survey (RBS) training for interviewers on November 16, 2005. This event was open to all staff across the CTN.

Addiction Severity Index (ASI) interviewer training was held in Gaithersburg on December 13 and 14, 2005.


Latino Behavioral Health Institute 11th Annual Meeting -- September 20-22, 2005

American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition -- October 8-11, 2005

Employee Assistance Professionals Association Annual Conference -- October 15-17, 2005

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry -- October 18-23, 2005

American School Health Association Annual Conference -- October 19-23, 2005

Bridging Science & Culture to Improve Drug Abuse Research in Minority Communities -- October 24-26, 2005

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exposition -- November 5-9, 2005

National Association for the Education of Young Children -- December 7-10, 2005

Society for Social Work and Research -- January 12-15, 2006

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America -- February 14-16, 2006


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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