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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - May, 2003

International Activities

On May 2, 2003, NIDA Director, Dr. Nora Volkow met with Mr. Gonzalo Robles Orozco, Government Delegate for the Spanish National Plan Against Drugs, the lead government official on drug policy and programs in Spain. Also in attendance were Mr. Javier Sagredo, currently at OAS/CICAD (Organization of the Americal States, Interamerican Commission on Control of Drug Abuse) and Drs. Richard Millstein, Timothy Condon, Steven Gust, Donald Vereen, and Patricia Needle. Topics of the discussion included the recent creation of the Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Formación sobre Drogas (National Drug Research and Training Institute) in Spain October 2002, and shared interest in developing a collaboration between the two countries. Plans were discussed for a bilateral workshop on research collaboration in the fall of 2003 and the signing of a letter of agreement between NIDA and Plan Nacional.

NIDA supported a one-day pre-conference, Global Initiatives in Tobacco Research held on February 19, 2003 before the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) meeting in New Orleans. The pre-conference explored opportunities for expanding global research capacity, collaboration, and training through a keynote address by Dr. Kenneth E. Warner, University of Michigan, four plenary sessions, and a poster session. The four plenary sessions focused on current research, the interaction of research and tobacco control efforts, ways SRNT can facilitate research, and funding opportunities supported by NIDA, the National Cancer Institute, the Fogarty International Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society, and Canada's Research for International Tobacco Control. Dr. Steven W. Gust, International Program, OSPC, presented NIDA's mission, organization, and funding mechanisms during the meeting. Among the participants were grantees in the Fogarty Center's International Tobacco and Health Research and Capacity Building Program, which is partially supported by NIDA.

NIDA sponsored a workshop, Building Research Collaboration with the United States, at the First European Congress on Addictive Disorders, organized March 26 - 29, 2003 in Alicante, Spain by the Sociedad Espa–ola de Toxicomanias. The conference was designed to promote collaborations between clinicians and researchers across Europe and to facilitate consensus on a European level about the problems of substance use and treatments. Presenters included drug abuse clinicians and researchers from 12 European nations, the United States, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, and the World Health Organization. The NIDA workshop was organized by Dr. M. Patricia Needle, International Program, OSPC, and focused on the Institute's International Program mission, NIDA funding mechanisms to support collaborative research, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health grants process.

NIDA supported a symposium, Sex Differences in Addiction With Emphasis on Nicotine, at the 5th Neurochemistry Winter Conference, held April 5-10, 2003 in Sšlden, Austria, by the University of Innsbruck. Drs. Minda Lynch (DNBR) and Steven Gust organized the NIDA symposium, which featured presentations by Dr. Sakire Pogun, Ege University School of Medicine, Turkey; and NIDA grantees Dr. Marilyn E. Carroll, University of Minnesota; Dr. Rosemarie M. Booze, University of South Carolina; and Dr. Anthony R. Caggiula, University of Pittsburgh. In addition to providing travel support for the four presenters, NIDA supported the participation of four recipients of the Young Investigator Award: Ms. Allyson McCormick, University of Washington; Dr. Amy Ramsey Mohn, Duke University; Dr. Etienne Sibille, Columbia University; and Dr. Andrew Tryba, University of Chicago.

NIDA supported the participation of seven international researchers at the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence Conference April 13-16, 2003 in Washington, D.C., and the pre-conference forum of the European Opiate Addiction Treatment Association. NIDA-supported participants included Dr. Michael Arieli, Israel; Dr. Ray Baker, Canada; Dr. James Bell, Australia; Dr. Emilia Figueroa, Mexico; Dr. Peter Hickey, Canada; Dr. Alexander Kantchelov, Bulgaria; and Dr. Besnik Juca, Albania.

Two researchers have been selected as the 2003 WHO/NIDA/CPDD International Traveling Fellows: Anna Maria Azevedo Simoes, M.D., M.S., Ph.Dc., Brazil; and Lan Ma, Ph.D., China. The fellowships are co-sponsored by NIDA, the World Health Organization, and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) to support the participation of international researchers in the NIDA International Forum and the CPDD Annual Scientific Meeting. The Fellowship also supports brief research visits by the Fellows with NIDA grantees in the United States. Dr. Simoes is the Principal Investigator of a study funded by the STD/AIDS National Coordination - Brazilian Ministry of Health to evaluate the feasibility and validity of using an Audio Computer Assisted Self Interview (A-CASI) to assess HIV risk behavior among Brazilian drug users. Study participants receive pre- and post-test counseling, and researchers assess the prevalence of HIV, hepatitis, and syphilis infection among individuals entering treatment at the State Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Addicts in Rio de Janeiro. NIDA grantee Dr. David Metzger, University of Pennsylvania, is a consultant to the project and co-author of the study. He and Dr. Simoes have collaborated since her 1997-1998 Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellowship, when she spent her six-week professional affiliation at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Studies of Addiction. For her Fellowship professional visits, Dr. Simoes will meet with Dr. Metzger and Dr. Don DesJarlais, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York. Dr. Ma researches the mechanisms of opioid addiction and opioid signaling as Associate Director of the National Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Fudan University Medical Center, Shanghai. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was named a 1993-1995 Miles Scholar by the Bayer Corporation. During 2002, Dr. Ma's research appeared in Neuropharmacology, 43, pp. 809-816; Psychopharmacology, 159, pp. 125-132; and the Journal of Neuroscience, 22, pp. 1914-1921. She will spend her research visits discussing collaborative research in the mechanisms of opioid signal transduction with Dr. Yavin Shaham, IRP; the neurobiology of relapse to opioid seeking with Dr. Jai B. Wang, University of Maryland; and the regulation of gene expression in the brain by chronic opioid administration and withdrawal with Dr. H.H. Loh, University of Minnesota.

The 2002-2003 INVEST Research Fellows attended a NIDA orientation program on April 3-4, 2003 in Baltimore and Bethesda, MD. The four INVEST Fellows are Dr. Isabelle Husson, France, who is working with Dr. Barry E. Kosofsky, Massachusetts General Hospital; Dr. Yilang Tang, China, whose mentor is Dr. Joseph F. Cubells, Yale University School of Medicine; Dr. Patricia Obando, Costa Rica, who is working with Dr. Edward L. Murrelle, Virginia Commonwealth University; and Dr. Tamo Nakamura, Japan, whose mentor is Dr. Anthony A. Wright, University of Texas. The four met with the following scientists at the NIDA Intramural Research Program in Baltimore: Drs. David Epstein, Marilyn Huestis, Eric Moolchan, Tom Ross, Elliot Stein, and David Gorelick. At NIDA headquarters, the Fellows met with Drs. Steven W. Gust and M. Patricia Needle, both of NIDA's International Program, as well as their mentors' project officers: Dr. Husson with Dr. Robert Riddle, DNBR; Dr. Tang with Dr. Harold Gordon, DTR&D; Dr. Nakamura with Dr. Paul Schnur, DBNR; and Dr. Obando with Dr. Cecilia McNamara, DTR&D. The 2002-2003 Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows joined the INVEST Fellows for a seminar, Introduction to the NIH Research Grant Process. Presenters included Dr. Needle, Dr. Mark Swieter, Office of Extramural Affairs; Dr. David Thomas, DNBR; and Natalie Tomitch, Fogarty International Center. The participating Humphrey Fellows included: Ms. Maria Ametemben, Indonesia; Dr. Amit Chakrabarti, India; Dr. Meen Chhetri, Nepal; Dr. Ye Swe Htoon, Myanmar; Dr. Rastislav Lacko, Slovakia; and Dr. Asad Sabr, Saudi Arabia.

NIDA has selected two scientists as 2003-2004 INVEST Research Fellows: Pajulo Marjaterttu, M.D., Ph.D., Finland, and Zhijun Li, M.D., China. Dr. Marjaterttu is a professor of child psychiatry at the University of Tempere and a senior physician in the department of infant psychiatry at Tempere University Hospital. Her current research explores psychological characteristics of early motherhood among substance-addicted mothers in residential treatment in Finland. She will spend her fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine working with Linda C. Mayes, M.D., to learn new research techniques for studying parenting among substance-using mothers and to identify substance-abuse treatment methods for parenting women. Drs. Marjaterttu and Mayes hope to collaborate on developing prenatal interventions for substance-addicted pregnant women. Dr. Marjaterttu earned her medical degree at the University of Turku. Dr. Li is the Deputy Director and chief physician of the AIDS Center at the Guangxi Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducts HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infection surveillance, prevention, control, and research in the Chinese province. He will spend his fellowship at Johns Hopkins University working with Xiao-Fang Yu, M.D., D.Sc., to strengthen his lab research and data analysis skills, to study RNA clearance of the hepatitis C virus using specimens collected from a cohort of Chinese injection drug users, and to enhance the existing collaborative relationship with Dr. Yu. Dr. Li earned his Medical Degree at Guangxi Medical College and a Master of Science degree from University College Medical School, London, United Kingdom.

NIDA and the U.S. Department of State have selected nine researchers as 2003-2004 Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows. The two agencies cosponsor competitive, 10-month awards that provide academic training at Johns Hopkins University and six-week professional affiliations with NIDA-supported researchers. Awardees include:

  • Ana Djordevic, M.D., Serbia and Montenegro, is a psychiatric resident specializing in drug abuse prevention and treatment. She established a school-based prevention program coordinated with a public education effort, and a separate prevention program targeted to at-risk children and adolescents.
  • Reminder Kaur, M.B.B.S., M.P.M., Malaysia, is a psychiatrist in charge of the substance abuse clinic at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, where she has conducted clinical trials on the efficacy of buprenorphine in opiate detoxification and trains healthcare professionals.
  • Natalia Lishchenko, M.D., Ukraine, teaches pediatrics at Ternopil State Medical Academy, conducts research on preventing drug and alcohol abuse among children and adolescents, practices pediatric medicine at the Ternopil Region Children's Clinical Hospital, and advises the local public health department.
  • Boris Lobodov, M.D., Russia, directs the Center for Prevention and Treatment of Addictive Diseases at the Central District of Voronezh Clinic. He has conducted research on risk factors for addiction and established Web-based prevention programs for adolescents.
  • David Otiashvili, M.D., Georgia, treats alcohol- and opioid-abuse patients at the Tbilisi Research Institute on Addiction, and studies the effects of rapid detoxification on neurophysiologic and hormonal systems.
  • Riza Sarasvita, Indonesia, coordinates the provision of psychological services and supervises research at Fatmawati Drug Dependence Hospital in Jakarta. She is conducting a study of HIV/AIDS among Indonesian injection drug users and represents Indonesia on the Regional United Nations Task Force on IDU and HIV Vulnerability.
  • Vladimir Stempliuk, Brazil, is completing his master's degree in science at Sao Paulo University School of Medicine, where he conducts research in epidemiology, teaches drug treatment courses, and provides drug abuse prevention services through community-based organizations.
  • Chenghua Tian, M.D., Ph.D., China, is a psychiatrist and director of Scientific Research Management at the Peking University Institute of Mental Health, where he focuses on the prevention, education, treatment, and rehabilitation of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. He is an editor of the Chinese Journal of Mental Health.
  • Tomas Zabransky, M.D., Ph.D., Czech Republic, is a researcher at the National Drug Commission, where he is responsible for building research capacity, establishing a data collection and monitoring system, and studying opiate agonist treatment protocols. He advises the Czech Parliament on drug issues, works on Czech Republic - European Union efforts, and serves on the scientific advisory boards of two professional journals, the Czech journal Adictology and Florida State University's Journal of Drug Issues.

NIDA provided travel support for a February 28, 2003 meeting at Institute headquarters between staff from the Prevention Research Branch, DESPR, Visiting Scholar Dr. Irina Pervova, Russia; and NIDA grantees Drs. Ed Smith and Linda Caldwell, Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Suman Rao, OSPC, and Dr. Jim Colliver, DESPR met with two visitors from India on February 26, 2003. The visitors were Mr. Shankar Jiwal, Zonal Director, South Zone Narcotics Control Bureau, and Mr. Vivek Ranjan, Deputy Narcotic Commissioner, Central Bureau of Narcotics. The discussions centered on epidemiology, community work and training materials.

A "Business of Advertising" group from Belarus, sponsored by the Department of State's International Visitor Program visited NIDA on February 20, 2003. This is a Freedom Support Project for Belarus. The project is intended to give advertising professionals from Belarus the opportunity to gain a first-hand view of the management, policies and best practices of the business of advertising in the United States. The program is to show how advertising influences business development and affects the success of government agencies and non-governmental organizations. The NIDA representatives that met with the group were Ms. Jan Lipkin and Ms. Dale Weiss, both of OSPC.

Dr. Leslie Cooper, DESPR, and Ms. Dale Weiss, OSPC visited the South African Embassy on March 13, 2003. The purpose of the visit was to meet with Health Minister Nobayeni Dladla. Discussions included the upcoming NIDA South African Initiative meeting in Cape Town, South Africa on July 1-3, 2003, and other opportunities for NIDA to collaborate with researchers in South Africa.

Dr. Timothy P. Condon, Associate Director, NIDA, and Dr. Steve Gust, Dr. Patricia Needle and Ms. Dale Weiss, International Program, OSPC visited the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), U.S. Department of State on January 21, 2003. Dr. Condon provided an overview of NIDA, and a brief tutorial of how drugs of abuse affect the brain. The audience, members of the INL Policy and Coordination and Latin American branches, asked many questions and were appreciative of the information presented.

A group of 11 Latin Americans visited NIDA on April 15, 2003. The visit was part of a program titled, "U.S. Drug Control Policy and Demand Reduction Efforts", sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Countries from Latin America represented by the group were, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. NIDA representatives speaking to the group were: Dr. Jag Khalsa, CAMCODA, Dr. Cathrine Sasek, OSPC, Dr. Jackie Kaftarian, DESPR, and Ms. Ana Anders, Office of Special Populations.

Dr. Meyer Glantz presented a discussion of drug abuse etiology and DESPR's research programs to a visiting delegation from the European Drug Demand Reduction Group on January 28, 2003. The delegation included representatives from Austria, The European commission, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. Department of State and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. The presentation discussed findings from research in the United States and the group discussion focused on the application of those findings to other countries.

Dr. Shakeh J. Kaftarian facilitated several meetings for the purpose of initiating scientific collaborations between a Woodrow Wilson fellow (Dr. Irina Pervova of Russia) and three NIDA investigators (Dr. Lawrence Scheier of University of Nevada and Drs. Ed Smith and Linda Caldwell of Penn State University). The above-mentioned meetings, which started in January 2003, have culminated into a collaborative activity between Drs. Pervova and Scheier, and will continue until arrangements are made between Drs. Pervova, Smith and Caldwell for another scientific collaboration.

Dr. Eliot Stein, IRP, presented a talk at a conference entitled, fMRI Experience V. at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London in March 2003.

Dr. Peter Hartsock participated in the first organizational meeting at St. Petersburg State University (Russia) to plan development of the former Soviet Union's first school of public health. Meeting participants included deans from St. Petersburg State and Pavlov Medical University and NIDA grantees from various institutions around the U.S. including Johns Hopkins and Yale. Major emphasis in the new school will be upon research as well as teaching.

Drs. Peter Hartsock and Jacques Normand, both of CAMCODA, participated in a Fogarty International Center ICHORTA planning meeting involving NIDA/CAMCODA grantees (St. Petersburg, Russia, January 24-26, 2003). NIDA is a major player in the ICHORTA program, which deals with AIDS and TB. Drug abuse is the major driver of AIDS in Russia and AIDS, in turn, is the major driver of multi-drug resistant TB in that country.


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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