National Institute on Drug Abuse
Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug
NIDA Director, Dr. Alan I. Leshner traveled to Hong Kong in late January
1997 to deliver the keynote speech at the 2nd International Conference on
Drug Abuse: Biopsychosocial Perspectives hosted by the Chinese University
of Hong Kong. The topic of his presentation was "Drug Abuse Research:
Building International Partnerships".
Dr. Jean-Lud Cadet, IRP, presented Induction of Bclxs and Bclxl by METH
in Immortalized Neural Cells and Dr. Tsung-Ping Su, also of IRP, presented
Novel Actions of Delta Opioid Peptide DADLE at the 2nd International Conference
on Drug Abuse in Shatin Town Hall, Shatin, N.T. Hong Kong, January 26-30,
On February 5, 1997 NIDA Deputy Director Richard A. Millstein presented
a report on recent NIDA collaborative activities in the area of drug abuse
prevention since June 1996 with Russia at the 5th Gore-Chernomyrdin Health
Committee Meeting held at NIH. Because of rapidly emerging problems with
drug use and health consequences such as HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis,
Russia requested the addition of drug abuse research as an area of bilateral
cooperation under the health agreement. Mr. Millstein reported on activities
such as the exchange of letters between NIDA and the Pavlov State Medical
University for scientific collaboration and exchange in the fields of biomedical
and behavioral research; exchange visits to NIDA grantees for proposal preparation;
and participation in international meetings.
Dr. Rachel Bar-Hamburger, Director of Research for the Israel Anti-Drug
Authority, made a study visit to NIDA from February 21 through March 4,
1997. During her stay, Dr. Bar-Hamburger visited with the NIDA director,
division directors, the Intramural Research Program and many staff to gain
a broad understanding of the Institute's organization, functions, mission
and research priorities.
On March 7, 1997 the review committee for the NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey
Drug Abuse Research Fellowship met to select Fellows for the 1997-98 academic
year. Four prospective Fellows -from Hungary, India, Nigeria, and Ukraine
-were selected to participate in the program at Johns Hopkins University.
This NIDA-supported portion of the Humphrey Program includes a six-week
or longer professional affiliation with a NIDA grantee to design a research
proposal for implementation in the Fellow's home country.
Dr. Jörn Sonnenburg of the German Federal Ministry for Education,
Science, Research and Technology (BMBF) visited Dr. M. Patricia Needle,
Acting Director, International Program, on March 25, 1997 to discuss follow
up to the November 1966 seminar, a progress review of projects funded by
BMBF to initiate addiction research as a new area of study in Germany. The
BMBF Advisory Board will meet in April to review guidelines and further
During April 1997 Dr. M. Patricia Needle attended the conference of the
American Methadone Treatment Association in Chicago to chair a session with
international methadone researchers.
Dr. Needle also participated in the Latin American regional conference
of the World Federation of Therapeutic Communities to plan with the Scientific
Committee for a NIDA workshop at the forthcoming World Congress in 1998.
NIDA's International Program has recently arranged presentations by Institute
staff for eight groups of international visitors. These include 5 groups
representing 15 countries sponsored by the United States Information Agency,
and 3 private groups from Japan and Israel.
Dr. Barry Hoffer, Scientific Director, traveled to Sweden and Taiwan
during 1996 for continued collaboration with colleagues at the Karolinska
Institute in Stockholm and the National Defense Medical Center in Taipei.
The cooperation with Sweden involves studies on spinal cord regeneration
and Parkinson's Disease. In Taiwan, Dr. Hoffer is collaborating on research
related to cerebral ischemia and stroke.
NIDA researchers have submitted a total of 12 grant applications, 10
extramural and 2 intramural, to the U.S. Civilian Research and Development
Foundation (CRDF) for support for collaborative research with Russia. The
First U.S.-Russian Conference on Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases
(EREIDs) was held in December 1996 in St. Petersburg with support from the
CRDF. Dr. Peter Hartsock, Community Research Branch, DEPR, collaborated
with colleagues at NIAID, the NIH Office of AIDS Research, the Fogarty International
Center, and the Russian Ministries of Science and Health in organizing the
conference. The meeting received recognition by the PHS Office of International
Health as part of the Gore-Chernomyrdin initiatives for U.S Russian health
cooperation, and as part of the June 1996 Presidential Decision Directive
Dr. Peter Hartsock also participated in the World Health Day activities
on April 7, 1997. Sponsored by the World Health Organization, its focus
this year is "Emerging Infectious Diseases: Reduce the Risk."
The World Health Day was held at the Pan American Health Organization's
headquarters in Washington, D.C. Dr. Hartsock gave a presentation on U.S.-Russian
collaborative research efforts in emerging and reemerging infectious diseases
(EREIDs) and on NIDA's work on EREIDs.
Dr. Zili Sloboda of DEPR gave a keynote presentation at the First European
Conference on the Evaluation of Drug Prevention sponsored by the European
Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction held in Lisbon, Portugal
on March 12-15, 1997. The topic of her presentation was: State of the Art
of Prevention Science in the United States.
Moira O'Brien, Epidemiology Research Branch, DEPR, participated in the
Pan American Health Organization Annual Epidemiology Meeting which was held
in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, March 12 14, 1997.
Dr. Jack Blaine, Chief, Treatment Research Branch, DCSR participated
in a workshop on Alternative Nicotine Delivery Systems in Toronto, Canada
March 21-23, 1997. The workshop was sponsored by the Addiction Research
Foundation, the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the Ontario Tobacco
Research Unit of the Center for Health Promotion, University of Toronto.
International experts on tobacco and nicotine presented and discussed current
scientific knowledge and developed information useful for making policy
recommendations based on the workshop.
Dr. Chiiko Asanuma of the Etiology and Clinical Neurobiology Branch,
Division of Clinical and Services Research, was an invited speaker at the
COE International Symposium on Brainstem Control of Sensorimotor Systems:
Behavioral Aspects. The symposium covered a broad range of topics that included
Sleep/Wake Regulating Systems, Thalamocortical Functions, and Neural Plasticity,
and was held from March 23 through March 26, 1997 at the National Institute
for Physiological Sciences in Okazaki, Japan.
Mr. Nicholas Kozel (DEPR) co-chaired a joint meeting of the East and
South Asian Multi-City Epidemiology Work Group meeting held in Langkawi,
Malaysia on November 10-14, 1996. The East and South Asian Work Groups are
composed of researchers from Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand,
Burma, China, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan,
Sri Lanka and Turkey. This is one of a series of regional programs being
developed to provide assessment and surveillance of drug abuse with the
objective of integrating these regional data into a global perspective.
The project is jointly funded by the U.S. Department of State and the Commonwealth
Secretariat and is coordinated by staff of NIDA and the Universiti Sains
Malaysia. Although indirect indicators and other measures of drug abuse
are under development in the various countries of the region, current sources
of information show that the primary drugs of abuse include: inhalants which
is a region wide problem, especially among youth; cannabis and heroin which
are serious problems in most of the countries in East and South Asia; buprenorphine
which has recently emerged as a serious problem in several of the countries
of South Asia; abuse of amphetamines and methamphetamines in the countries
of Thailand, the Phillipines and Cambodia; and polydrug abuse, particularly
with codeine, tranquilizers and sedative-hypnotics. In addition, "ecstasy"
is appearing in several countries of the region.
Mr. Nicholas Kozel, DEPR, participated in the Inter-American Drug Abuse
Data System (SIDUC) meeting held in Mexico City on February 12-14. SIDUC
is a drug abuse epidemiologic surveillance program being implemented by
the Organization of American States with the objective of establishing a
uniform system of drug abuse indicator data collection in all of the countries
of the Americas. The program is in the initial stages of constructing and
pilot testing a data collection instrument in selected countries. A preliminary
report is due in October 1997.
Mr. Nicholas Kozel, DEPR, participated in the South African Community
Epidemiology Network on Drug Abuse (SACENDU) in Cape Town, South Africa
on February 26-27, 1997. SACENDU is sponsored by the World Health Organization
(WHO) and is in the preliminary stages of developing a multi-city drug abuse
surveillance program in the country based on epidemiologic and ethnographic
data. South African participants reported that historically, the most serious
substance abuse problem in the country has involved alcohol, cannabis and
Mandrax. Recently, new drugs have appeared including heroin, cocaine, LSD
WHO officials have expressed interest in supporting the participation
of several other countries from southern Africa in SACENDU with the prospect
of establishing a regional epidemiologic surveillance program.
In March 1997, Sari Izenwasser, IRP, presented a lecture entitled Mechanisms
of Cocaine Addiction to the Department of Pharmacology, Yonsei University
College of Medicine in Korea.
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