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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse
February, 1995

International Activities

Richard Millstein, Deputy Director, represented NIDA at the Israel-U.S. Binational Working Group on Adolescent Health in November. Three major themes of the meeting addressing adolescent risk behaviors were: injuries; substance use (including alcohol, tobacco and drugs); and sexual behavior. In post-symposium discussions, the group chaired by Mr. Millstein recommended the establishment of a collaborative working group to develop a joint research protocol for a longitudinal study of resiliency and protective factors in preventing or delaying the initiation and progression of substance abuse.

Through a Memorandum of Agreement between the Bureau of Oceans and International, Environmental, and Scientific Affairs (OES), Department of State, and NIDA, plans have been initiated to host a joint U.S.-China symposium on research on drug abuse and drug-related HIV/AIDS. Support has also been provided by the Bureau of International Narcotics Matters, Department of State. Dr. Patricia Needle, International Program Acting Director, visited China in October for discussions with the Ministry of Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Traditional Medicine and other agencies, in preparation for the meeting, tentatively scheduled for August 1995 in Beijing.

Research cooperation has already been initiated as outcomes from the Second Regional Central Europe/U.S. Symposium on Drug Dependence held in Poland last summer. NIDA grantees Dr. Steven Specter, Dr. Clyde McCoy, and Dr. Burt Sharp have begun formal discussions and/or implemented plans for collaborative research with Polish and Russian drug abuse scientists.

As part of its role as a WHO Collaborating Center, NIDA provided relevant medical and scientific information on eight psychotropic compounds being considered by the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence for international drug control pursuant to the 1971 Psychotropic Convention. These compounds were aminorex, brotizolam, etryptamine, flunitrazepam, mesocard, methcathinone, zipeprol, and triazolam. NIDA also provided additional information on other drugs being considered for future WHO review. Dr. Yng-shiuh Sheu, Division of Clinical and Services Research (DCSR), prepared the critical review of these compounds and also served as temporary adviser to the Secretariat at the 29th annual meeting in Geneva, Switzerland during September.

During November, NIDA sponsored an International Work Group meeting on postgraduate medical education in addiction in collaboration with New York University. Dr. Dorynne Czechowicz, DCSR, and Dr. Marc Galanter, New York University, organized and co-chaired the meeting. Objectives were to develop ways to disseminate and enhance the utilization of drug abuse treatment research findings to improve medical education and clinical practice and to facilitate on-going communication between the International Working Group and NIDA.

Dr. Maria Majewska, Medications Development Division (MDD), has established research collaborations with scientists and pharmaceutical companies in Germany, Belgium, Poland, Japan, Netherlands, France, and Hungary, testing a variety of compounds as potential medications for cocaine addiction. She also participated in the International Conference on Steroids in Dallas.

The Medications Development Division announced continued CRADA collaboration with Reckitt & Colman, Ltd. and its U.S. subsidiary in development efforts for buprenorphine and for buprenorphine-naloxone combination products.

Drs. Charles Grudzinskas, Carol Hubner and David McCann, MDD, visited Basel, Switzerland in September to meet with representatives of Sandoz Research Institute, Ciba-Geigy, and Hoffman LaRoche and to make formal presentations of NIDA's Medications Development Program (preclinical and clinical cocaine and opiate). These companies were selected because they are very active players in the development of drugs to treat CNS disorders. The majority of their research efforts in this area are conducted by their European divisions, and they were likely to have compounds of interest to the Cocaine Treatment Discovery Program and the Opiate Treatment Discovery Program for preclinical efficacy testing. It was also hoped that they could have potential clinical candidate compounds for evaluation by MDD.

Mr. Nicholas Kozel, Division of Epidemiological and Prevention Research (DEPR), attended the 15th International Federation of Non-Government Organizations Conference in Hong Kong in December and participated in a symposium on "Community-Based Epidemiologic Approaches and their Use in the Development of Prevention, Treatment and Public Health Interventions."

The semi-annual meeting of NIDA's Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG) held in New Orleans in December included a special program focus on the epidemiology of drug abuse among selected Caribbean island countries. In conjunction with the CEWG, DEPR staff (Dr. Zili Sloboda, Nicholas Kozel, Moira O'Brien) and representatives from the World Health Organization, the Organization of American States and the Pan American Health Organization met to discuss the establishment of a periodic International Drug Abuse Epidemiology Network Conference. Moira O'Brien, then International Office, and Dr. Ralph Tarter, University of Pittsburgh, traveled to Turkey in September to provide technical assistance in the development of a strategy for the assessment and monitoring of drug abuse in Turkey and to explore opportunities for binational research cooperation.

NIDA's International Program and DEPR, in conjunction with the Department of State, conducted a workshop with drug abuse researchers from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela in Rockville during September. Participants summarized epidemiologic research, identified research priorities and generated recommendations for follow-up collaborative activities.

Dr. Steven Goldberg, Intramural Program, ARC, served as a guest editor for a December 1994 supplement to Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics" titled "Abuse Liability of 1-Deprenyl: Examination of the Clinical and Preclinical Pharmacological Data." This special publication was a record of the proceedings of a special symposium held at the Ninth General Meeting of the European Society for Neurochemistry in 1992.

As a result of Indo-US collaboration projects, a number of conferences were organized by Dr. Rao S. Rapaka (NIDA) and Dr. B.N. Dhawan (Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI, India, 1991) at several research institutes in India. A number of NIDA grantees participated in these conferences and the proceedings of the conferences have been recently published as a monograph entitled "Recent Advances in the Study of Neurotransmitter Receptors" (1994), edited by Drs. B.N. Dhawan, R.C. Srimal, R. Raghubir (CDRI, India) and Dr. Rao S. Rapaka.

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