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NIDA Home > Publications > Director's Reports > February, 2007 Index    

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - February, 2007

International Activities

NIDA-Supported Meetings

Drugged-Driving Experts Draft Research Standards
Experts from nine countries and three continents gathered September 8-12, 2006, to draft standards for drugged-driving research to ensure the comparability of data from country to country. IP Director Dr. Steven W. Gust co-chaired the meeting with Dr. Michael J. Walsh, The Walsh Group, and opened the meeting by reviewing previous recommendations on drugged driving data needs and research. Plenary and breakout sessions explored issues in epidemiology, behavioral aspects of drugs, toxicology and analytical chemistry. Dr. Marilyn Huestis, IRP, was an expert participant in the toxicology and analytical chemistry sessions. To solicit comments from the greater drug-impaired driving research community, the meeting organizers will post the draft standards on the websites of The Walsh Group; the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety (ICADTS); and the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT). Organizers plan to distribute the final version of the standards at the joint TIAFT/ICADTS meeting in August 2007. The meeting, held at the Tufts University European Center in Talloires, France, was organized by The Walsh Group and co-sponsored by NIDA, the European Commission, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, ICADTS, TIAFT, and the French Society of Analytical Toxicologists. NIDA supported the participation of the following speakers: Barry Logan, Ph.D., Washington State Patrol, Seattle; Jan Ramaekers, Ph.D., Maastricht University, The Netherlands; Patricia Dischinger, Ph.D., University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, Baltimore; and Ms. Inger Marie Bernhoft, Danish Transport Research Institute. NIDA also provided travel support to the following participants: Olaf Drummer, Ph.D., Monash University, Victoria, Australia; Larry Gentilello, M.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas; Jorg Morland, M.D., Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo; Horst Schulze, Ph.D., Federal Highway Research Institute, Gladbach, Germany; Ms. Beitske Smink, Netherlands Forensic Institute, Rijswijk; and Mr. Rene Mathijssen, SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research, The Netherlands.

NIDA and CICAD Co-Sponsor Latin American Epidemiology Group and Iberoamerican Conference of National Observatories on Drugs
The initial meeting of the Latin American epidemiology group, Red Epidiemiologica de Drogas para Latinoamerica (REDLA), took place in Cartagena, Colombia, December 10 - 12, 2006. REDLA is a joint effort between NIDA and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) at the Organization of American States to create a drug epidemiology network for Latin America that parallels NIDA's Community Epidemiology Working Group (CEWG) in scope and purpose. NIDA's support for REDLA is part of the Institute's Latin American Initiative. The meeting was co-chaired by Ms. Marya Hynes Dowell, CICAD, and Dr. Ivan Montoya, DPMCDA. Representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the United States summarized the drug use situation in their countries, identifying reliable sources of information for future investigations. In addition to their discussions about drug use patterns in the hemisphere and future activities for REDLA, participants discussed ways to integrate REDLA activities with those sponsored by the National Observatories on Drugs. The REDLA participants then joined the Third Iberoamerican Conference of National Observatories on Drugs, which was held December 11-15, 2006, in Cartagena and cosponsored by NIDA, OAS/CICAD, the Spanish Plan Nacional Sobre Drogas, and the Agencia Espanola de Cooperacion Internacional. Dr. Montoya's plenary session presentations during the Iberoamerican Conference addressed the role of drug abuse research on public policy, U.S. methodologies to conduct surveys of students and the general population, and morbidity indicators. Participants in both meetings included Dr. Antonio Cepeda-Benito, Chair, International Collaborations, National Hispanic Science Network; 2004 DISCA Scientist Dr. Helena Barros, Brazil; and 2003-2004 Humphrey Fellow Dr. Vladimir Stempliuk, Brazil.

Research Training and Exchange Programs

Former INVEST and DISCA Scientist Wins NIH Support for HIV Research
Dr. Min Zhao, Shanghai, China, Mental Health Center, has received a Fogarty International Center award through the Global Health Research Initiative Program for New Foreign Investigators (GRIP). Dr. Zhao will longitudinally examine gender-related differences in sexual and drug use risk behaviors among injection drug users in Shanghai. GRIP awards support the return of NIH-trained foreign investigators to their home countries as part of a broader program to enhance the scientific research infrastructure in developing countries, and to stimulate research of high priority global health-related issues. The GRIP proposal was developed through a 2005 DISCA research exchange by Dr. Zhao and Dr. Clyde B. McCoy, University of Miami, and will lead to further expansion of collaboration on HIV/AIDS and drug abuse research between Shanghai and Miami. Dr. Zhao was also a 2001-2002 NIDA INVEST Fellow.

HHH Fellows Meet with NIDA, State Department Officials
Officials from NIDA, the U.S. Department of State, Johns Hopkins University (JHU), and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), welcomed the 2006-2007 Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows in a series of meetings designed to introduce the new Fellows to the Humphrey Program, which includes academic study; a professional affiliation with a NIDA-funded scientist; participation in the NIDA International Forum, to be held June 15-18, 2007, in Quebec City, Canada; and additional professional development activities sponsored by NIDA and the State Department. NIDA International Program Director Dr. Steven W. Gust and Dr. Judith Babbits, Institute of International Education, met with the HHH Fellows at VCU in August. In September, NIDA International Program Analyst Dale Weiss and Dr. Babbits met with VCU officials as well as with each Fellow individually to help the Fellows set objectives and begin planning their professional affiliations. NIDA also demonstrated the NIDA International Virtual Collaboratory, an online resource under development to promote information sharing and support collaborative international research. In November, Ms. Weiss met with the HHH Fellows and university officials at JHU, summarizing NIH activities, NIDA-sponsored professional development activities, and professional affiliations for the substance abuse fellows. The 2006-2007 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows at VCU include: Lala Margaryants, Armenia; Kevin Goulbourne, Jamaica; Peter Kenneth Ndege, Kenya; Giselle Gonzalez, Panama; Rehanna Kader, South Africa; Adham Hamd, Syria; Desiree Molina, Venezuela; and Duc Nguyen, Vietnam. The 2006-2007 Humphrey Fellows at JHU include: M. D. Alamgir, Bangladesh; Magalie Personna Nelson, Haiti; Mehboob Singh, India; Fairuz Afran, Iraq; Violet Caroline Akoth Okech, Kenya; Cholpon Imanalieva, Kyrgyz Republic; Sudhir Khanal, Nepal; Joseph Navarro, Philippines; Yasantha Ariyaratne, Sri Lanka; Amani Kisanga, Tanzania; and Michelle Moore, Trinidad and Tobago.

Travel Support

International Researchers Present Posters at NIDA Society for Neuroscience Mini-Convention
Drs. Susan Volman, DBNBR, chaired an Early Career Investigators Poster Session on Friday, October 13, 2006, as part of NIDA's mini-convention at the Society for Neuroscience Research meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Among the drug abuse and drug-related neuroscience research showcased at the invited poster session were presentations by 19 international researchers from 11 countries: Laura Milan-Lobo, Austria; Lin Lu, China; Lia Gelazonia, Republic of Georgia; Chiara Castiglioni, Maria Antonietta De Luca, Daina Economidou, Liana Fattore, Gloria Lazzeri, Paola Lenzi, and Anna Rizzi, Italy; Masami Suzuki, Japan; Michel Van den Oever, The Netherlands; Ma_gorzata Frankowska, Poland; Marina Rubio, Spain; Pernilla Fagergren, Sweden; Taner Dagci and Aysegul Keser, Turkey; and Alexis Bailey and Anushka V. Goonawardena, United Kingdom. The international poster presenters were supported, in part, by NIDA and the: International Union of Pharmacology, International Brain Research Organization, International Narcotics Research Conference, College on Problems of Drug Dependence, International Cannabinoid Research Society, and International Drug Abuse Research Society.

NIDA Supports Presentations at SALIS/ELISAD Joint Conference
NIDA provided support for two presenters at the Substance Abuse Librarians and Information Specialists (SALIS)/ European Libraries and Information Services on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ELISAD) joint conference, held September 26-30, 2006, in Newton, Massachusetts. Ms. Jane Shelling, Manager of the Resource Center for the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA), provided a general overview on the current AOD situation in Australia, highlighting the work being done by ADCA to reach out to policy makers and researchers. Mr. Juan Carlos Vega, Information Specialist for the Praxis Project, Washington, D.C., discussed the role of information resources in traditionally marginalized communities, highlighting how the Praxis Project works to eliminate health disparities in our society. Other conference topics included open access resources for web based searching, using GIS for substance abuse information, NIDA's Clinical Trials Network, and methamphetamine use in the United States.

NIDA Supports Grantee Presentations at the Congress of Neuroimmunology
NIDA provided assistance to support the participation of two grantees at the Congress of Neuroimmunology, held October 14-19, 2006, in Nagoya, Japan. Dr. Linda Chang, University of Hawai'i, and Dr. Howard E. Gendelman, University of Nebraska Medical Center, participated in a symposium for international researchers that highlighted efforts by NIDA and the Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology (SNIP) to promote research on the pharmacology, immunology, and neuroscience of the neuroimmune axis.

NIDA Grantee Presents at ICAA, Supports Multinational Research Group
NIDA supported the participation by Dr. Howard Schubiner, Providence Hospital, Wayne State University, at the International Council on Alcoholism and Addictions (ICAA) International Conference on Dependencies, September 3-8, 2006, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Dr. Schubiner discussed ADHD and substance use disorders and agreed to serve as a consultant to a multinational research group developing plans for an international study of the prevalence of ADHD among individuals seeking substance abuse treatment. He reports that the study is expected to begin in 2007 and to involve sites in The Netherlands, Spain, England, Norway, and possibly Italy.

NIDA Supports Mexican Researcher's Participation at NHSN
NIDA supported the participation of Nuria Lanzagorta, Carracci Medical Group, Mexico, at the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse Sixth Annual Conference, Drug Use and HIV/AIDS: Implications for the Hispanic Population, held September 13-16, 2006, in Scottsdale, Arizona. The multidisciplinary scientific meeting addressed the AIDS pandemic on both the international and national scale, focusing on the intersection between drug use and HIV/AIDS among Latinos.

International Visitors

Dr. Yakov Marshak, scientific director of the Marshak Clinic for Drug Addiction in Moscow, Russia, and Dr. Sonia Marshak from University of California, Irvine visited NIDA on August 9, 2006. Representing NIDA at the meeting were Dr. Cecelia McNamara Spitznas, DCNBR, Drs. Kevin Conway, Richard Denisco, Sarah Duffy, DESPR and Ms. Dale Weiss, IP. Dr. Marshak discussed his clinic and treatment method with the group.

On August 28, 2006, Ms. Els van Gessele and Dr. Nick Ramsey from ZonMw, The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development visited NIDA. The visitors met with Dr. Steve Gust and Ms. Dale Weiss, IP and Drs. Cecelia McNamara Spitznas and Steve Grant, DCNBR and Dr. Wilson Compton, DESPR. Discussions centered on the ongoing U.S. - Netherlands research collaboration.

The U.S. State Department's International Visitor Program sponsored a visit to NIDA by a group from Uzbekistan on September 21, 2006. The 8 visitors are involved in Drug Demand Reduction and HIV/AIDS prevention activities in Uzbekistan. Meeting with the group from NIDA were Dr. Cecelia McNamara Spitznas, DCNBR, Dr. Katherine Davenny, ARP and Ms. Dale Weiss, IP.

On October 31, 2006 Mr. Geurt van de Glind, of the International ADHD and Substance Abuse Collaboration, Trimbos-institute, The Netherlands visited NIDA to discuss the progress his collaboration has made and to look for ways to continue and expand the collaboration. Meeting with Mr. van de Glind from NIDA were Dr. Cecelia McNamara Spitznas, DCNBR, Dr. Steve Gust and Ms. Dale Weiss, IP.

Mr. Paul Thewissen, recently appointed Counselor for Health, Welfare and Sport, Royal Netherlands Embassy visited NIDA on November 16, 2006. Mr. Thewissen met with Dr. Steve Gust, IP to introduce himself and learn more about the ongoing U.S. - Netherlands research collaboration.

A delegation from the Indonesian National Narcotics Board visited NIDA on November 29, 2006. Heading the delegation was General Made Mangku Pastika, Executive Director of the National Narcotics Board, Republic of Indonesia. Accompanying General Pastika was Dr. Sudirman Ma, Executive Director of the Indonesian National Institute on Drug Abuse (INIDA), General Djoko Satriyo, Head of Law Enforcement Center, National Narcotics Board, Brigadier General Indradi Thanos, Director, Criminal Investigation Bureau, Indonesian National Police and Mr. Russell Holke, DEA Country Attache, American Embassy Singapore. Meeting with the Delegation from NIDA were Drs. Liz Ginexi and Richard Jenkins, DESPR, Dr. Cecelia McNamara Spitznas, DCNBR and Dr. Steve Gust and Ms. Dale Weiss, NIDA.

Other Activities

In October 2006, a team of NIDA staff and several extramural researchers formed a delegation that visited Wuhan University (Hubei Province, China) and Peking University (Beijing, China). The purpose of the trip was to explore possible research collaborations for non-human primate studies of AIDS and drug abuse interactions. The "U.S.-China Symposium on Drug Abuse and Chinese Monkey Model for SIV Infection" was held on October 24, 2006 at Wuhan University, and included presentations by David Shurtleff, Director, DBNBR and Lynda Erinoff, Associate Director, ARP on NIDA's goals in HIV/AIDS research and international research funding opportunities. Diane Lawrence and Yu "Woody" Lin attended as program representatives from DBNBR. The delegation also visited the State Key Virology Laboratory in Wuhan, the Hubei Province CDC, and the laboratory of Hongkui Deng, recipient of a Grand Challenges in Global Health award to use stem cells to develop mouse models for use in testing HIV and HCV vaccines.

Dr. Betty Tai, Director, CCTN, was an invited panel speaker and participant in the 9th National Conference on Drug Dependence in Sanya City, China sponsored by the Chinese National Institute on Drug Dependence (NIDD) in Peking University from November 1-5, 2006. The theme of this year's conference was "Drug Abuse and HIV/AIDS." The meeting resembles the US Blending Conference in that Chinese drug abuse researchers meet jointly with Chinese community drug treatment practitioners in bi-directional communication.

On November 5, 2006, Dr. Tai was awarded the "Distinguished Public Service Award in Drug Abuse Treatment" by the Chinese NIDD and the Peiking University.

While in China, Dr. Tai also visited Shanghai Mental Health Hospital on October 31, 2006 and met with Hospital's Clinical Pharmacology faculty and the Director of Shanghai's CDC. She met with representatives of the Hospital's drug trial program and heard how Shanghai CDC plans to initiate its five methadone centers. Dr. Tai was received by Dr. Min Zhao, a former NIDA INVEST fellow and Distinguished Scientist fellow. Dr. Zhao is an Associate Professor, Director of the Shanghai Drug Abuse Treatment Center (SDATC)/Shanghai Mental Health Center. At the SDATC, located in a suburb of Shanghai, Dr. Tai met with the entire 35-member staff, comprising psychiatrists, nurses, counselors, and social workers. At the meeting, Dr. Tai gave a lecture on NIDA's effort in using the CTN to bridge research and practice, and how NIDA/NIH is addressing drug abuse and the HIV/AIDS public health threat. Staff there expressed intense interest in integrating behavioral treatment with methadone treatment and expressed the needs of training.

Dr. Jag Khalsa, DPMCDA, presented a symposium on Clinical Management of HIV/HCV Co-infections in Drug Abusers at the Annual Meeting of the International Society of Addiction medicine (ISAM), Oporto, Portugal, September 27-30, 2006, where NIDA/NIH-supported grantees presented research on the issue of dual infections in drug abusers. Dr. Frank Vocci gave a presentation originally slated for Dr. Glen Treisman of Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Vocci spoke on Overcoming Psychiatric Barriers to Effective Hepatitis C Treatment.

Dr. Frank Vocci, Director, DPMCDA, gave two presentations at the ISAM meeting in Porto. Dr. Vocci participated in a cannabis symposium and spoke on Developing Medications for Cannabis Dependence. Dr. Vocci also spoke at a methamphetamine symposium. His topic dealt with medications targets for methamphetamine dependence treatment arising from preclinical research. Dr. Frank Vocci gave the opening plenary lecture at the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and Other Drugs in Cairns, Australia on November 5, 2006. Dr. Vocci spoke on preclinical and clinical approaches to the development of medications for the treatment of cannabis dependence.

Dr. Jag Khalsa delivered two talks on Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse and Infections and research at NIDA at the International Symposium on Drug Abuse and HIV/AIDS, in Kerala, India, on November 6-7, 2006, and at the Global BioPharma Conference, in Hyderabad, India, November 9-10, 2006. Dr. Khalsa inaugurated the International Symposium as well as closed the meeting with closing remarks. He received a citation for his outstanding contributions to the field of drug abuse and infections. Dr. Khalsa also delivered an invited talk on Medical (metabolic/nutritional) Complications of Drug Abuse and Hepatitis C Infection: Research at NIDA, at the GB Pant Hospital, New Delhi, India, November 15, 2006.

On September 28, 2006, Dr. Ivan Montoya, DPMCDA, presented the paper entitled "Medications Development for Co-morbid Substance Abuse and Depression" at the Sixth World Congress on Depression and International Symposium on Addictive Disorders, in Mendoza, Argentina.

On November 3, 2006, Dr. Ivan Montoya chaired a symposium on Drug Abuse Treatment and presented a paper on Immunotherapies for Addiction, at the annual meeting of the Colombian Psychiatric Association, in Medellin, Colombia.

On November 28, 2006, Dr. Ivan Montoya made a presentation entitled "Cognitive Effects of Chronic Cocaine Use" at a pre-conference course on Advances in Drug Abuse Research. Lima, Peru. Dr. Frank Vocci made a presentation on the Neurobiology of Addiction- A Systems Perspective.

On November 29, 2006, Dr. Ivan Montoya made a presentation on Immunotherapies for Addiction at the Regional Meeting of the World Psychiatric Association and Annual Meeting of the Peruvian Psychiatric Association, in Lima, Peru. Dr. Frank Vocci presented on the Endocannabinoid System as a Drug Development Target for Substance Abuse Disorders and Obesity. Dr. Jag Khalsa delivered talks on Consequences of Drug Abuse and Infections including Hepatitis C at the XIX Peruvian Psychiatric Congress Meeting, Lima, Peru, on November 29-December 1, 2006.

On December 10-15, 2006, Dr. Ivan Montoya represented NIDA at a meeting of the Drug Abuse Monitoring Networks in Ibero-America, in Cartagena, Colombia.

In September, Wilson M. Compton, M.D., M.P.E., Director, DESPR, attended the ISBRA meeting held in Sydney, Australia and presented a paper on Item Response Models of Marijuana Use and Criteria at the NIAAA satellite meeting on diagnosing substance use disorders.

On November 8-10, 2006, Wilson M. Compton, M.D., M.P.E presented at the East Asia epidemiology workgroup meeting in Taipei, Taiwan. Participants in this workgroup included representatives from East and South Asian countries as well as Australia.

Moira O'Brien, DESPR, chaired the meeting of the US Mexico Border Epidemiology Work Group held in San Diego, California, September 21, 2006. Participants included representatives from the Mexican Ministry of Health and drug abuse researchers from the US border area.

Dr. Peter Hartsock, DESPR, participated in a meeting with the Minister of Health and Minister of AIDS Interventions of Vietnam in Washington, D.C. on July 19th, 2006. The meeting was held under the auspices of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Department of State. Drug abuse is a principal factor in the rapidly spreading Vietnamese HIV/AIDS epidemic. Vietnam is one of the 15 "focus" countries receiving special U.S. PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) funds to combat the epidemic. Dr. Hartsock presented on NIDA's HIV/AIDS modeling program and its domestic and foreign applications.


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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