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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse
September, 2001

Media and Education Activities


On May 21, 2001, NIDA received the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers' (NAATP) Michael Q. Ford Journalism Award. The award recognized NIDA's creative and effective "Addiction is a Brain Disease" public service announcements. Created in honor of Michael Q. Ford, first President and CEO of NAATP, the award is presented each year to an organization or individual whose efforts help promote addiction treatment. Dr. Timothy P. Condon, Associate Director, NIDA accepted the award on NIDA's behalf.

Press Releases

April 12, 2001 - Potential Medication Can Reduce Effects of Smoked Marijuana in Humans. Scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA) Intramural Research Program in Baltimore, MD, have confirmed for the first time in humans that chemically blocking the body's cannabinoid receptors can significantly reduce the effects of smoked marijuana. The study appeared in the April 14th issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. Coverage of this publication appeared in The Washington Post, Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, United Press International, The New York Times,, Join Together Online, and Substance Abuse Letter.

April 18, 2001 - New Brochure Helps Spanish-Speaking Families Discuss Drug Abuse and Related Health Risks. Juventud Latina-Hable con Sus Hijos Sobre las Drogas y sus Peligros (Latino Youth-Speak to Your Children About Drugs and Their Dangers) provides a science-based discussion tool for Hispanic/Latino families. It includes the latest information on the health effects of inhalants, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, in addition to information on drug abuse prevention and treatment strategies. Coverage of this publication release appeared in The Washington Post and Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly.

May 1, 2001 - Researchers Find Evidence That Prenatal Use of Ecstasy Can Cause Long-Term Memory Loss and Other Impairments in Offspring. Scientists from Children's Hospital Research Foundation and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine reported the first evidence that a mother's use of MDMA (ecstasy) during pregnancy may result in specific types of long-term learning and memory impairments in her offspring. The research was published in the May 1, 2001, issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. Coverage of this paper appeared in The New York Times, Associated Press Online, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Reuters Health Information, Join Together Online, and Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly.

May 1, 2001 - Quitting Smoking Harder for Women than for Men. Review of Research Finds Variety of Reasons for Why It Is Harder for Women to Break Free of Nicotine Addiction. A review of numerous research studies focusing on smoking cessation has concluded that while women may suffer greater relative risks of smoking-related diseases than do men, they tend to have less success than men in quitting smoking. Dr. Kenneth A. Perkins from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who conducted the review offered several reasons for this disparity in a paper published in the May 2001 issue of CNS Drugs. Coverage of this publication appeared in Newsweek, Join Together Online, Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, Reuters Health Information, and

May 4, 2001 - NIDA NewsScan

  • Studies Shed New Light on HIV Risk-Taking Behavior Among Intravenous Drug UsersUnderstanding the Behavior that Forges the Link Between Drug Use and HIV

  • Study Finds Drug Users in Communities with Low HIV Rates More Likely to Engage in High-Risk Behaviors

  • 90-Minute Counseling Session Reduces High-Risk Behaviors: Needle Use Behavior More Resistant to Change than Risky Sexual Practices

  • Methods Based on Street "Myths" Not Effective Prevention Against HIV

As a result of NewsScan promotion, coverage appeared in Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly.

May 7, 2001 - Hepatitis C Risk Not Limited to Injection Drug Users. A study in New York City has found a higher than expected prevalence of Hepatitis C infection among non-injecting drug users. In this study, as many as 17 percent of the subjects who denied a history of injection drug use were found to be infected, compared to a 2 percent infection rate in the general population. Among women from one of the study sites in East Harlem who reported use of non-injection heroin, the rate of infection was as high as 26 percent. Coverage of this publication appeared in Join Together Online and Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly.

May 14, 2001 - 33-Year Study Emphasizes Lethal Consequences of Heroin Addiction. After following a cohort of heroin addicts for more than 33 years, researchers from the UCLA Drug Abuse Research Center found that nearly half of the original group of 581 men first interviewed in 1964 had died by 1997, when they would have been between 50 and 60 years of age. The study also found that about 40 percent of the 242 survivors reported past year heroin use and many reported other illicit drug use. The study was published in the May 14, 2001, issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. Coverage of this publication appeared in Workplace Substance Abuse Advisor, The New York Times, Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, The Houston Chronicle, Join Together Online, Reuters Health Information, United Press International, and Ascribe Newswire.

May 21, 2001 - NIDA NewsScan

  • Progress Made in Understanding Neurobiological Basis for Relapse to Cocaine Abuse

  • Study of Nearly 60,000 Drug Users Shows that Regular Drug Abuse Treatment Coupled with Outpatient Medical Care Helps Cut Hospitalization

As a result of NewsScan promotion, coverage appeared in Boston Globe, Join Together Online, and Reuters Health Information.

May 23, 2001 - Researchers Localize the Brain Circuitry Anticipating Monetary Gains. Using money as an incentive, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and two other institutions found that human neural responses accompanying the anticipation and experience of winning and loosing in a laboratory gaming situation were similar to those noted in animals responding to tactile or gustatory stimuli or to euphoria-inducing drugs. This suggests that the same neural circuitry is involved in the highs and lows of winning money, abusing drugs, or anticipating a gastronomical treat. The findings were published in the May 24, 2001, issue of Neuron. Coverage of this publication appeared in The Seattle Times, Newsweek, Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, The Advocate, Join Together Online, Newsday, Associated Press Online, The Washington Times, The Washington Post, Boston Globe, and Reuters Health Information.

May 27, 2001 - Study Sheds Light on Role of Gender Differences in the Risk of HIV Infection Among Injection Drug Users. High-risk Sexual Activity Plays Key Role. HIV risk factors among drug users differ markedly by gender, according to a 10-year study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. A recent study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University reported that while drug-related risk behaviors and homosexual activity are the most important predictors of HIV seroconversion among males, factors consistent with high-risk heterosexual activities are the main predictors among females. The findings, reported in the May 28, 2001, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, provide insight into the relationship between gender and high-risk sexual behaviors in the development of HIV infection.

May 30, 2001 - New Research Shows Even a Single Drug Exposure Can Alter Brain Function. Researchers from the University of California San Francisco have found that a single use of cocaine can modify neural connections in the brain, and this may help explain at the cellular level how occasional drug use can progress into a compulsion. The findings are reported in the May 31, 2001, issue of Nature. Coverage of this publication appeared in The Washington Times, The Washington Post, Join Together Online,,, San Francisco Chronicle,, and

June 8, 2001 - Researchers on the Frontline of Tracking Drug Use to Hold 50th Biannual Meeting June 12-15. Reports Have Given Early Warning of National Trends. For the past 25 years, drug abuse researchers and public health officials from across the country have been ahead of the curve when it comes to identifying trends such as the surge in heroin use, the emergence of crack, and the increase in methamphetamine use across the United States. The Community Epidemiology Work Group, established by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 1976 meets twice a year to assess local drug use trends and how they may affect the nation.

July 11, 2001 - Researchers Find That After Stopping Cocaine Use, Drug Craving Gets Stronger Over Time. Using an animal model of drug craving in laboratory rats, researchers at the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse have found that craving for cocaine seems to increase, rather than decrease, in the days and months after drug use has stopped. The research team published its findings in the July 12, 2001, issue of Nature. Coverage of this publication appeared in Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly.

July 12, 2001 - Study of Teens in Four Cities Finds Drug Treatment Effective. Drug and Alcohol Use Dropped, School Performance Improved. The first large-scale study specifically to evaluate drug abuse treatment outcomes among adolescents found that community-based programs can reduce drug and alcohol use, improve school performance, and lower involvement with the criminal justice system. The study published in the July 2001, issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, evaluated the treatment outcomes for nearly 1,200 adolescents, ranging in age from 11 to 18, who were enrolled in one of 23 community-based treatment programs in four cities. Coverage of this publication appeared in Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, United Press International, Tribune-Review, and The Washington Times.

July 19, 2001 - Scientific Conference on Ecstasy (MDMA). International Experts Meet to Discuss the Latest Research and Emerging Trends. Scientists from around the world met at the National Institutes of Heath (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, July 19-20, 2001, to discuss the latest research about the drug Ecstasy (methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)) and its diverse effects on the brain and behavior. Coverage of this NIDA sponsored event appeared in USA Today and United Press International.

Opinion Pieces

Spring 2001, Issues in Science and Technology, Volume XVII, Number 3 - Article by Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D. - "Addiction Is a Brain Disease"


Articles of Interest

April 19, 2001, The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) - Interview with Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D. - "The Agony of Ecstasy"

April 26, 2001, USA Today - Interview of Alan I. Leshner Ph.D. - "Don't Write Off the Addict, Experts Advise"

April 26, 2001, NBC News, Today Show - Interview with Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D. - "Dr. Alan Leshner, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Discusses Drug Addiction"

April 29, 2001, Ventura County Star - Interview with Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D. - "Addiction a Brain Disease, Doctors Say"

April 30, 2001, Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly - Interview with Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D. - "NIDA Announces Progress in Blocking Two Drugs' Effects"

May 2, 2001, - Interview with George Uhl, M.D., Ph.D. - "Missing Clue to Cocaine Addiction Found"

May 3, 2001, Reuters Health Information - Interview with Charles Vorhees, Ph.D. - "Ecstasy May Cause Permanent Damage in Fetus"

May 2001, Focus Magazine (German) - Interview with Alan I. Leshner Ph.D. - "Teuflische Erinnerungen"

May 17, 2001, The Boston Globe - Interview with Glen Hanson D.D.S., Ph.D. - "Hospital Uses MRI to Probe Substance Abuse"

May 22, 2001, The New York Times - Interview with Yih-Ing Hser, Ph.D. - "For Users of Heroin, Decades of Despair"

May 24, 2001, Associated Press Online - Interview with Alan I. Leshner Ph.D. - "Brain Activity Links Gambling, Drugs"

June 11, 2001, Physician's Weekly - Point/counterpoint column with Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D. and Sally Satel, M.D. - "Is Drug Addiction a Brain Disease?"

July 16, 2001, Los Angeles Times - Interview with Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D. - "The Highs and Lows of Ecstasy"

July 17, 2001, Wyoming Tribune - Eagle-Interview with Glen Hanson, D.D.S., Ph.D. - "In a State of Ecstasy"

July 20, 2001, USA Today - Coverage of MDMA Conference, interview with Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D., and Glen Hanson D.D.S., Ph.D. - "Studies Show Ecstasy Can Damage Brain"

July 22, 2001, The Record (NJ) - Coverage of MDMA Conference, interview with Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D. - "Harmful Effects of Ecstasy Aren't Fully Known, Most Users Are Teens Who Don't Worry"

Dr. Steven Grant, DTR&D, was interviewed for the article "Cognition is Central to Drug Addiction" appearing in a special issue of the APA journal Monitor on Psychology dedicated to substance abuse published in June 2001.

NIDA Exhibits Program

Meetings where NIDA exhibited publications and program announcements over the past several months are as follows:

June 2-6, 2001 National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors and National Prevention Network
June 14-17, 200 American Psychological Society
June 16-21, 2001 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence
June 23-26, 2001 105th Annual National Congress of Parents and Teachers Association
July 11-15, 2001 National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
July 14-18, 2001 National Council of La Raza Conference
July 19-20, 2001 MDMA/Ecstasy Research: Advances, Challenges, Future Directions
July 24-28, 2001 24th Annual Meeting of the Association on Higher Education and Disability
August 9-10, 2001 National Conference on Drug Abuse Prevention Research: A Progress Update
August 24-28, 2001 American Psychological Association
September 10-11, 2001 NIDA CTN Annual Meeting

Educational Activities

NIDA's latest slide teaching packet is now available on NIDA's Web site. The teaching packet, "The Neurobiology of Ecstasy", was developed for use by teachers and researchers who might wish to make presentations to high school or other students. The packet, which contains 20 downloadable slides, was developed through NIDA's Science Education Program in the Science Policy Branch, OSPC.

Training was held for ASI - Lite: Train the Trainer on July 23-24, 2001, in Miami, Florida. Representatives from 7 CTN nodes attended the program.

The CTN was featured in the June 2001 edition of APA's Monitor on Psychology. An article entitled "Real-world Research: the Clinical Trials Network" was included and the CTN was the subject of the magazine's President's Column.

A one-day training was held on Good Research Practices, May 1, 2001, in Gaithersburg, MD. Members from all fourteen nodes attended the session.

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