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

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

Media and Education Activities

Press Releases

March 7, 2007 - NIDA Launches First Large-Scale National Study to Treat Addiction to Prescription Pain Medications.
Researchers funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse are launching the first large-scale national study evaluating a treatment for addiction to prescription opioid analgesics such as Vicodin and OxyContin. NIDA's National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN) is conducting the multi-site study, known as the Prescription Opiate Addiction Treatment Study (POATS).

March 6, 2007 - NIH Partners with HBO on Groundbreaking Documentary on Addiction.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism have collaborated with HBO to create the eye-opening documentary, ADDICTION that aired on March 15, 2007. The documentary, developed with funding support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, seeks to help Americans understand addiction as a chronic yet treatable brain disease, and highlights promising scientific advancements.

March 5, 2007 - NIDA NewsScan #49 - Pain, Opioids, and Addiction

  • Physician Concerns Regarding Prescribing Opiates for Chronic Pain
  • Researchers Assess Adolescents' Motivations To Abuse Prescription Medications
  • Study Reveals a New Cellular Adaptation that Contributes to Opiate Tolerance
  • URB597 Relieves Pain in Rats Without Cannabinoid-Associated Side Effects
  • Managing the Impact of Pain: Antidepressants May Be Useful Part of Pain Therapy

March 5, 2007 - NIDA Begins Its First-Ever Public Discussion on Pain Relief and Addiction.
Pain, Opioids, and Addiction: an Urgent Problem for Doctors and Patients, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse brought together more than 500 researchers, clinicians and interested consumers to discuss the growing problem of prescription painkiller abuse and the potential for addiction in patients with chronic pain conditions. The conference took place on the NIH campus, and was held in collaboration with the NIH Pain Consortium and the American Medical Association.

February 26, 2007 - NIDA NewsScan #48 - Hispanic Issue

  • Identifying Research Opportunities To Improve Drug Treatment Services among Hispanics
  • Adapting Research To Prevent Substance Abuse among Hispanic Youth
  • Scientists Identify Areas of Research To Prevent HIV in Hispanic Adolescents
  • Researchers Suggest Directions for Biological Research on Drug Abuse and Addiction in Hispanics
  • A Review of Drug Treatment Outcomes, Needs, and Scientific Opportunities among Hispanic Adults

February 13, 2007 - NIDA Unveils its First Consumer Publication to Explain the Science of Addiction.
Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction was unveiled by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This 30-page full-color booklet explains in layman's terms how science has revolutionized the understanding of drug addiction as a brain disease that affects behavior. NIDA hopes this new publication will help reduce stigma against addictive disorders.

January 25, 2007 - Damage to Specific Part of the Brain May Make Smokers 'Forget' to Smoke.
Preliminary research supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has found that some smokers with damage to a part of the brain called the insula may have their addiction to nicotine practically eliminated. The study was published the journal Science.

January 25, 2007 - NIDA Launches Centers of Excellence for Physician Information.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse announced the establishment of four Centers of Excellence for Physician Information - these Centers will serve as national models to support the advancement of addiction awareness, prevention, and treatment in primary care practices. The NIDA Centers of Excellence will target physicians-in-training, including medical students and resident physicians in primary care specialties.

December 11, 2006 - NIDA NewsScan #47 - International Issue

  • Economic, Political Challenges Can Drive Drug Abuse, HIV
  • New Research Examines Disclosure Norms and Risk Behaviors Among Young Hungarian Drug Injectors
  • Ukrainian Injection Drug Users Respond To Risk Behavior Intervention, But Many Continue Habits
  • Drug Abuse-HIV Connection Evident in Brazil
  • Study Identifies Factors Associated With HIV Infection, Heroin Addiction, In Malaysian Men
  • Drug Abuse on the Mexico-U.S. Border: Implications for HIV/AIDS Transmission
  • HIV Transmission and Syringe-Sharing Practices Among Injection Drug Users in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • NIDA International Programs Foster Opportunities for Global Cooperation

December 5, 2006 -Young African American Adults at High Risk for HIV, STDs Even In Absence of High-Risk Behaviors.
Results of a study supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggest that young African American adults - but not young white adults - are at high risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases even when their relative level of risky behaviors is low. The findings imply that the marked racial disparities in the prevalence of these diseases are not exclusively affected by individual risk behaviors. The paper was published in the American Journal of Public Health.

December 4, 2006 - NIDA Researchers Complete Unprecedented Scan of Human Genome That May Help Unlock the Genetic Contribution to Tobacco Addiction.
Results of a genetic study bring scientists one step closer to understanding why some smokers become addicted to nicotine, the primary reinforcing component of tobacco. The research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, represents the most powerful and extensive evidence to date of genetic risk factors for tobacco addiction. The study not only completed the first scan of the human genome to identify genes not previously associated with nicotine dependence (or addiction), it also focused on genetic variants in previously suspected gene families. The research results appeared in the Journal of Human Molecular Genetics.

Articles of Interest

March 12, 2007, Associated Press--"Experts Seek Options on Painkiller Abuse"--Interview with Nora D. Volkow, M.D.

February 6, 2007, USA Today--"Danger: Marijuana May Not Be Lesser Evil"--Interview with Nora D. Volkow, M.D.

January 25, 2007, Associated Press--"Brain Damage Can Curb Urge to Smoke"--Interview with Nora D. Volkow, M.D.

Educational Activities

NIDA Physician's Outreach Project
The purpose of NIDA Primary Care Physician Outreach Project is to increase primary care physicians' awareness of NIDA, NIDA-funded research, and the medical consequences of drug abuse and addiction and to provide physicians with the information and resources they need to incorporate research findings into clinical practice. As part of this physician outreach project, NIDA is collaborating with physician specialty organizations and State, county, and local medical societies. An overview of this project's key activities is provided below.

Physician Outreach Campaign: This campaign focuses on the development and dissemination of targeted materials for physicians and patients, including publication of articles in physician specialty society newsletters (e.g., American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Academy of Family Physicians, Society for Adolescent Medicine, American Medical Association); pasting NIDA materials on online physician resources (e.g., Medscape, Medpagetoday); creation of CMEs; dissemination of resources to State, county, and local medical societies; and creation of a NIDA physician Web page (anticipated launch in Spring, 2007). To ensure that the materials created will resonate with primary care physicians, a NIDA Physician Consultant Group was created. This consultant group is made up of practicing physicians from across the country and will be used to inform and guide the outreach activities in a cost-effective manner. Finally, a literature review has been submitted to the Journal of Addictive Diseases for publication.

NIDA Centers of Excellence for Physician Information (CoEs): To create the NIDA CoEs, NIDA has partnered with the American Medical Association and released a request for proposals to institutions at all 16 sites (representing 27 medical schools) that compose the American Medical Association's consortium on medical education research. The consortium focuses on transforming medical education across physician stages of learning. The NIDA CoEs are charged with the development of a portfolio of informational/educational materials and training resources that will impart the knowledge and skills essential for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of prescription and illicit drug abuse. The portfolios will be evaluated and implemented in the NIDA CoEs (i.e., medical schools). The centers opening in 2007 will be located at:

  • Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, NE
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (in collaboration with Drexel University College of Medicine)
  • University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Massachusetts Consortium of Medical Schools (which includes the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, and Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance)

The CoE kickoff meeting was held at NIDA on February 23, 2007. Dr. Timothy P. Condon and Ms. Carol Krause presented. Dr. Condon presented the state of the science, the implications for treatment, and the role the CoE can play in bringing science into clinical practice. Ms. Carol Krause opened the meeting by highlighting NIDA's effort to maximize physicians' effectiveness in treating substance use disorders and the partnership with the American Medical Association (AMA) to help implement NIDA's Physician Outreach Project. Following the kickoff meeting, a CoE intranet was created to support communication across the sites.


Dr. Frank Vocci, Director, DPMCDA, was interviewed by Latitia Stern of the St. Petersburg Times on February 23, 2007 regarding the addictiveness of crack cocaine.

Dr. Frank Vocci was interviewed by Jennifer Pfeifer of CNN radio on February 13, 2007 regarding the abuse liability of methadone.

Dr. Frank Vocci was interviewed by Carlos Santos of the Richmond Times Dispatch on March 19, 2007 about medications for stimulant addiction.

On December 16, 2006, Dr. Joni L. Rutter, DBNBR, was interviewed by Wally Akinso for an NIH Radio address regarding the genetics of nicotine addiction. Drs. Shakeh Kaftarian and Elizabeth Robertson, DESPR, were interviewed by the University of Florida Radio Station on February 15, 2007. The topic of the interview was "How to Prevent Youth From Smoking." This interview was disseminated on a later date.

Dr. Steven Grant, DCNBR, was interviewed by a number of print and radio reporters including Scientific American On-Line and NPR Morning Edition with respect to the study by Bechara on "Damage to the insula disrupts addiction to cigarette smoking" that was published in Science (315 (5811): 531-534 January 26, 2007).

Upcoming Confernences/Exhibits

American Psychiatric Association 160th
Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA
May 19-24, 2007
Association for Psychological Science 19th Annual
Convention, Washington, DC
May 24-27, 2007
Society for Prevention Research 15th Annual Meeting,
Washington, DC
May 30-June 1, 2007
National Association of Drug Court Professionals
13th Annual Drug Court Training Conference,
Washington, DC
June 13-16, 2007
National Association of School Nurses 39th
Annual Conference, Nashville, TN
June 28-July 1, 2007
NIH IC of the Month, Bethesda, MD July 1-31, 2007


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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