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NIDA Home > Publications > Director's Reports > May, 2009 Index    

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - May, 2009

International Activities

Funding Initiatives

IAS and NIDA Establish a New HIV and Drug Abuse Fellowship
NIDA and the International AIDS Society (IAS) have established a fellowship program that focuses on HIV research related to drug abuse. The goal of the program is to contribute to advances in the scientific understanding of drug abuse and HIV, while fostering multinational research on the topic. The fellowship program will offer two awards of $75,000 each: one to a junior HIV and drug abuse scientist for an 18-month post-doctoral fellowship at a leading research institute in the field; and one to a well-established HIV scientist, not currently active in the drug abuse field, for an 8-month period of professional development on HIV and drug abuse.

International Collaboration

Inhalant Working Group Publishes Call for Research in Addiction
Writing in the February 10, 2009, online edition of Addiction, a multidisciplinary group of NIDA-supported researchers discuss the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches to classification of inhalants and suggests areas for future research in the area. The authors conclude that classification of inhalants by form or product types is not useful for scientific purposes. They recommend that subclassification of inhalants should be based on a yet-to-be-determined combination of chemical and pharmacological similarity and shared patterns of abuse, and call for efforts to obtain more detailed information on individual products and chemicals, their patterns of use, and the geographical distribution of their use. The authors - Robert L. Balster, Virginia Commonwealth University; Silvia L. Cruz, Cinestav, Mexico; Matthew O. Howard, University of North Carolina; Colleen A. Dell, University of Saskatchewan, Canada; and Linda B. Cottler, Washington University - are part of the Inhalants Working Group, an ad hoc multi-national group of drug abuse researchers formed following the 2005 NIDA International Program meeting, Inhalant Abuse Among Children and Adolescents, whose 55 invited participants from 10 nations recommended that an international workgroup of pharmacologists and epidemiologists be created to classify substances and develop questions for use in screening instruments and surveys. The authors worked with Dr. Charles Sharp, DBNBR, and IP staff through the NIDA International Virtual Collaboratory (NIVC) to engage the international drug abuse research community as they drafted the paper. In addition to this paper, the group has planned workshops at the 2007, 2008, and 2009 NIDA International Forums and is working with other organizations to gather international data on inhalant abuse. [Addiction. 2009 Feb 10. (Epub ahead of print). Classification of abused inhalants. Balster RL, Cruz SL, Howard MO, Dell CA, Cottler LB. DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2008.02494.x ]

DISCA Fellowship Leads to Publication and a New Technology Transfer Center
Octavio Campollo, Ph.D., of the University of Guadalajara, Mexico, finished his experience as a 2008 DISCA fellow with two published manuscripts and a collaborative effort to help other addiction professionals in his home country. Working with Fernando Wagner, Sc.D., Morgan State University, Dr. Campollo was involved in two research projects: risk factors for substance use in high school students in Jalisco, Mexico; and HIV and hepatitis in drug addicts in West Mexico. Two manuscripts prepared during Dr. Campollo's fellowship have been published in the international peer-review journal Anuario Investigaci—n en Adicciones (Volume 9, Number 1, 2008). One article, "Marijuana effects and medical consequences: a review," examines and draws conclusions about the most important medical and pathological effects of marijuana. The second article explores the "International ethos of addictions." After studying NIDA's Addiction Technology Transfer Centers in the continental United States and the Caribbean Basin during his fellowship, Dr. Campollo decided to start an independent technology transfer center with other faculty members to disseminate information and to train and support addiction professionals in Mexico.

NIDA Supported Researchers Give Notable Presentation
Two researchers initially supported by NIDA IP gave a presentation in Paris at the 2008 International Conference on Drugs and Cultures that was featured in the French newspaper Le Monde. Dr. Geoffrey P. Hunt of the Scientific Analysis Corporation, San Francisco, California, described findings from research comparing the social context of club drugs use by youth in San Francisco, California, and Mongkok, Hong Kong. Dr. Hunt and his colleague, Dr. Karen Joe-Laidler of the Hong Kong University Centre for Criminology, found that the drug of choice at rave parties in Mongkok was the anesthetic ketamine, rather than ecstasy, which is preferred at parties in many other international settings. Another difference was that drug-using youth in Mongkok were more likely than those in San Francisco to come from the working class. These and other research findings will increase understanding of the club drugs and techno dance culture as well as the influence of local context on behavior in party scenes.

International Collaboration Supported by NIDA Transfers Successful Model to the U.K.
Two programs that were recently endorsed by the United Kingdom's National Treatment Agency (NTA) for Substance Misuse have benefited from NIDA support for Dr. Dwayne Simpson, Director of the Institute of Behavioral Research (IBR) at Texas Christian University (TCU). NIDA grants awarded to IBR/TCU have supported the development of TCU drug treatment resources for 20 years. Under a NIDA administrative supplement, Dr. Simpson led international collaborations to determine whether applying the TCU approach to drug treatment, shown to be effective in the United States, would work in the U.K. context. Dr. Simpson helped two NTA-sponsored programs—the International Treatment Effectiveness Project (ITEP) and the Birmingham Treatment Effectiveness Initiative (BTEI)—translate and apply TCU-originated drug treatment resources to meet British service improvement needs. The programs adapted the TCU Treatment Process Model, which uses a psychosocial mapping intervention for discussing issues with clients, as well as a process for assessing and improving organizational functioning and service management that is advocated by the model. The ITEP and BTEI programs have shown that this intervention can be implemented effectively in the United Kingdom by following easy-to-use manuals and that this change can contribute to significant and lasting organizational improvements. Dr. Simpson recently received a NIDA IP Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Award (USDISCA) to support his collaboration on efforts to broaden applications of this approach to treatment systems in the United Kingdom.


NIDA IP Presents New Web-Based Fellowship Map
NIDA is making it easier to find talented, NIDA-trained research partners from other countries by offering a new tool on the NIDA IP Website. The NIDA International Program Fellowship Map (online at fosters collaboration among international researchers by allowing users to identify NIDA fellowship alumni from a particular country or fellowship program with just a click of a mouse. The mapping tool also links from individual fellows to their journal articles indexed in the NIH National Library of Medicine's PubMed database. Former fellows from the NIDA INVEST, INVEST-CTN, Hubert H. Humphrey, and DISCA/USDISCA programs are included on the map. NIDA IP is also developing new online tools due to be launched later this year that will allow users to find experts by research topic or to search the abstracts accepted for presentation at the past five NIDA International Forums.

HHH Fellowship Orientation
NIDA hosted 16 Humphrey, INVEST, and INVEST/CTN Fellows from 13 nations during an orientation program to introduce fellows to the Institute and its staff. International Program Director Dr. Steven W. Gust and Program Analyst Dale Weiss welcomed the fellows to NIDA headquarters and introduced them to NIDA-supported online collaboration tools. Drs. Krystyna Isaacs and Joseph Perpich demonstrated one of those tools, the NIDA International Virtual Collaboratory (NIVC), and discussed the Humphrey Fellowship Professional Affiliation Directory being created through NIVC. The fellows met individually or in small groups with NIDA project officers, and the INVEST/CTN Fellows presented their research projects to CTN staff and grantees. Fellows toured the Intramural Research Program (IRP) in Baltimore, meeting with the IRP Clinical Director, Captain Carlo Contoreggi, M.D., and the IRP Institutional Review Board Administrator, Ms. Anne E. Gupman, as well as attending a grand rounds presentation on therapeutic workplace interventions for addiction by Dr. Kenneth Silverman, Johns Hopkins University. The fellows toured the chemistry and drug metabolism laboratories with Dr. Marilyn Huestis; the magnetic resonance imaging suite with Dr. Eliot Stein; Archway Clinic with Dr. Kenzie Preston and Ms. Margaret Kroen; and the nicotine addiction and cognition outpatient testing rooms with Dr. Steve Heishman. Fellows also toured the National Library of Medicine and met with Dr. James Herrington at the Fogarty International Center. Ms. Mayaan Lawental Schori, an Israeli Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, also participated in the orientation.

NIDA Awards Three New INVEST/CTN Fellowships
NIDA has awarded NIDA INVEST/CTN Research Fellowships to researchers in the Philippines, Columbia, and Tanzania. Awardees will begin their 12-month Fellowship by June 30, 2009.

  • Leonardo R. Estacio, Jr., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the University of the Philippines Manila. He obtained his Ph.D. in anthropology/medical anthropology from that university in 2003 and a M.P.H from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in 1999. He was an HHH Fellow at JHU in 1998 to 1999. Dr. Estacio also has served as an international consultant for the Vietnam and Bangkok offices of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and as Executive Director of the Philippine Council of NGOs Against Drug and Substance Abuse. Dr. Estacio will spend his Fellowship year with Dr. Dennis M. Donovan of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, working to provide baseline evidence of the prevalence and incidence of amphetamine-type stimulant abuse and its associated risk and protective factors.
  • Mario A. Zapata is a professor in epidemiology and mental health and a member of the Mental Health Research Group at CES University in Medellin, Columbia. He obtained his M.D. at Antioquia University in 1989 and a Master's degree in epidemiology at CES University in 2004. Dr. Zapata previously served as the Director and Coordinator of the Drug Prevention Committee of the CARISMA Mental Health and Addiction Center. Dr. Michael Robbins will mentor Dr. Zapata during his Fellowship year at the Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, in Miami, Florida. Dr. Zapata will focus on gaining experience with the Brief Strategic Family Therapy model, particularly with adolescent drug users, to facilitate the implementation and evaluation of this approach in Columbia.
  • Stephen Nsimba is a professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Tanzania. He obtained his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, in 1987, and his Ph.D. at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, in 2003. Dr. Nsimba was an HHH Fellow at John Hopkins University from 2005 to 2006. Dr. Nsimba will be working with Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D. at the Medical University of South Carolina on a CTN protocol that is comparing the relative effectiveness of three HIV testing strategies on increasing acceptance and receipt of test results among adult clients at community-based drug abuse treatment programs. Dr. Nsimba's intends to use this experience to implement and study substance abuse and HIV prevention interventions in urban and rural health clinics in four regions of Tanzania.

NIDA Selects Two New Distinguished International Scientists
NIDA has selected two senior scientists to work with their partners on binational collaborative research.

  • Carlos A. Zubaran, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., recipient of a DISCA award, will work with mentor Linda B. Cottler, Ph.D., M.P.H., at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, to compare illicit substance users from the United States and Australia to help identify substance use variables that are significantly influenced by geographical variations. This research will promote further understanding of the environmental factors that may promote or maintain substance use. Dr. Zubaran is an associate professor at the School of Medicine at the University of Western Sydney, Australia, and a consultant psychiatrist at Sydney West Area Health Service. He also has conducted drug abuse research in Brazil.
  • Dwayne Simpson, Ph.D., Director of the Institute of Behavioral Research (IBR) at Texas Christian University (TCU), is a new USDISCA recipient who will work with Dr. Ed Day at the University of Birmingham to address structural and systemic issues in sustaining the implementation of TCU-originated drug treatment resources in the United Kingdom. In this new stage of international collaboration, Dr. Simpson will provide strategic planning assistance to help teams of addiction treatment research scientists and clinical practitioners adapt concepts and tools from the TCU Treatment Process Model to treatment systems in the West Midlands and North West regions of the United Kingdom. Dr. Simpson has been a professor at TCU for more than 35 years and is the Director of TCU's IBR. He received a MERIT award from NIDA in 1999.

Travel Support

International Scientists Explore Role of Neuroimmunomodulation in Drug Abuse and HIV/AIDS
NIDA supported the International Symposium on Biotechnological Approaches to Neuroimmunomodulation and Infectious Diseases, held December 11-13, 2008, in Nagar, India. The meeting featured speakers from India, Germany, and the United States, including NIDA grantee Dr. Robert Donahoe, an expert in how abused drugs affect the progression of AIDS. The National Institute on Pharmaceuticals and Educational Research of India sponsored the conference, with support from NIDA, Roche Pharmaceuticals of India, and the University of Utah.

American Society of Addiction Medicine International Symposium
NIDA IP supported the participation of Dr. Evgeny M. Krupitsky of Pavlov Medical University, St. Peterburg, Russia, and Dr. John Strang of the National Addiction Centre in London, at a symposium on Unique Models for Comprehensive Substance Abuse Treatment. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), in conjunction with NIDA and the International Society for Addiction Medicine (ISAM), conducted the symposium during ASAM's 40th Annual Medical-Scientific Conference, held in New Orleans, Louisiana, on April 30-May 3, 2009. During the symposium, international clinical researchers presented findings and clinically applicable experiences from other countries that shed light on problems being confronted in the United States, with the goal of broadening and extending competency in addiction treatment and research. Dr. Jag H. Khalsa, DPMCDDA, organized the symposium.

International Visitors

Visitors from the New Energy and Industrial Development Organization (NEDO) visited NIDA and NIAAA on February 20, 2009. NEDO is Japan's largest public R&D management organization for promoting the development of advanced industrial, environmental, new energy and energy conservation technologies. The meeting was organized by the Fogarty International Center to enable the representatives of NEDO to learn more about the funding of international collaborations.

Other International Activities

Dr. Wilson M. Compton, Director, DESPR, chaired a panel and participated in a meeting on the WHO Schedules for Clinical Assessment of Neuropsychiatry (SCAN) at the International Federation of Psychiatric Epidemiology, Vienna, Austria, April 15-19, 2009.

Dr. Peter Hartsock, DESPR, worked with Fogarty to coordinate a special visit to NIH by the personal physician to the president of Madagascar and a team including the Malagasy Minister of Health, researchers, planners, and policy makers on January 8, 2009 held in Bethesda, MD. It was the first-ever delegation of Malagasy health researchers to an English-speaking country. Dr. Hartsock presented on NIDA's AIDS modeling program, including national policy changing research such as expanded HIV testing, circumcision, and multiple concurrent partnerships (the "HIV Superhighway"). Madagascar has applied approaches such as HIV testing and circumcision and has a highly successful national AIDS prevention program.

Dr. Peter Hartsock met with a visiting delegation to NIDA of Humphrey Fellows, January 23, 2009 in Bethesda, MD. Dr. Hartsock presented on NIDA's AIDS modeling and international research efforts.

Dr. Peter Hartsock participated in a special Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) consultation on "HIV and Drug Use Prevention in Russia: The Challenge of Matching Science to Practice," heal on February 4, 2009 in Washington, D.C. Dr. Hartsock presented on NIDA's AIDS research efforts in the former Soviet Union.

Dr. Peter Hartsock participated in a special Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) consultation on "Migration and Development in Russia's Northern and Arctic Regions," held in February 2009 in Washington, D.C. Dr. Hartsock presented on NIDA's Russian and Arctic research.

Dr. Peter Hartsock participated in a planning meeting for an international summit on the convergence of human medicine with veterinary medicine held on March 12, 2009 in Washington, D.C. The meeting was conducted by the One Health Academy and is important to NIDA's HIV and other infectious disease efforts because drug users who are at risk for AIDS are also at risk for increasing vector-borne diseases such as malaria and plague. Dr. Hartsock presented on NIDA's AIDS modeling efforts which have also been applied to anthrax and smallpox.

Dr. Peter Hartsock and NIDA grantee Dr. Martina Morris of the University of Washington met with the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council to present Dr. Morris's research on extremely rapid means by which HIV/AIDS spreads and applications of this research to global efforts to combat AIDS on March 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

Dr. John Satterlee played a key role in organizing a meeting entitled "Exploring International Coordination in Epigenomics" held on March 17-18, 2009 in Bethesda, Maryland. The goal of the meeting was to explore how NIH Roadmap Epigenomics Program efforts could be leveraged by other countries and research entities to further global epigenomics and disease research efforts. There were eleven presentations at the meeting most of which were on the topic of "International and US Epigenetics Programs: Progress and Opportunities." The participants included both scientists and funding agency representatives. Attendees were from Australia, Singapore, Korea, China, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, and the European Commission.

Dr. Allison Hoffman, DBNBR, organized a symposium for the 14th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health on "Smoking and Co-Morbid Diseases". This conference took place in Mumbai, India on March 8-12, 2009.

Dr. Allison Hoffman organized a symposium for the 14th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health on "The Future of Smoking Cessation Treatment" 14th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health. This conference took place in Mumbai, India on March 8-12, 2009.

Dr. Allison Hoffman organized a symposium for the 2009 Joint conference of SRNT and RNT-Europe entitled "Nicotine and Information Processing". This conference took place in Dublin, Ireland on April 27-30, 2009.

Dr. Allison Hoffman organized a symposium for the 2009 Joint conference of SRNT and RNT-Europe entitled "Targets for treating nicotine addiction: not the usual suspects" This conference took place in Dublin, Ireland on April 27-30, 2009.

Dr. Ivan Montoya, DPMCDA, gave a plenary lecture at the 36th annual meeting of Socidrogalcohol (Drug and Alcohol Research Society of Spain) in Salamanca, Spain on March 27, 2009.

Dr. Eugene Kiyatkin from the Behavioral Neuroscience Section, IRP, was an invited speaker at the Second Joint Congress of GCNN and SSNN, Vienna, Austria, March 1-5, 2009.

There were three new international fellows selected for the INVEST/CTN fellowship that began in 2009. The Fellows will spend one year working with a mentor who is affiliated with one of the 16 NIDA Clinical Trials Network Regional Research and Training Centers.

  • Mario A. Zapata, M.D., M.Sc., Public Health Professor and member of Mental Health Group Research, Faculty of Medicine-CES University, Medellin, Colombia, will be working with Michael Robbins, Ph.D., Center for Family Studies, University Miami.
  • Leonardo R. Estacio, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of Philippines, Manila will be working with Dennis M. Donovan, Ph.D., University of Washington.
  • Stephen Nsimba, E.D. (Dr.), Senior Lecturer/Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar-es-Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania, East Africa, will be working with his mentor Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D., Clinical Neuroscience Division, Institute of Psychiatry Medical University of South Carolina.


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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