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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - September, 2005

International Activities

International Program Supports Distance Learning Efforts
The International Program has expanded its efforts to develop Internet-based applications that could provide relatively low-cost training, education, and communication in the research arena by supporting planning efforts for an international Master's Degree in Addiction Studies and issuing two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts. NIDA participated in and provided travel support for participants in a June 14-16, 2005, meeting held at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to discuss the international Master's Degree program. The program will be a collaborative effort between VCU, Kings College at the University of London, and The University of Adelaide in Australia. During the meeting, representatives from the three educational institutions explored the need for a cross-cultural degree program; described their institutions' existing campus-based and distance learning programs; discussed the kind of curriculum that would most benefit the communities, participants, and the addiction field; and identified next steps. NIDA-supported participants included Drs. Jason White and Olga Lopatko, University of Adelaide; and Drs. John Strang and Kim Wolff, King's College London. Drs. Charles O'Keefe and Robert Balster led the VCU contingent. Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, World Health Organization, and Ms. Dale Weiss, NIDA IP, discussed their respective organizations' educational plans. Ms. Weiss described how the International Program is developing a set of distance learning products and web-based research resources tailored to NIDA's international constituencies; NIDA has since issued two Phase 1 SBIR awards:

Drug Abuse Research Training for International Investigators was awarded July 15, 2005, to Danya International, Inc., to develop an interactive and user-friendly Web site for the international drug abuse research community that will include training modules and links to other resources, including funding opportunities, a partnering database, and a roadmap to NIDA resources tailored for an international audience.

International Drug Abuse Researcher E-Learning Program was awarded July 18, 2005, to Medical Directions, Inc., to develop effective, science-based, drug abuse training modules that meet the linguistic, cultural, and technological needs of NIDA's international research collaborators and to provide a versatile and robust E-Learning delivery technology.

NIDA International Forum Draws an Accomplished Crowd
More than 300 registrants from 51 nations participated in the NIDA International Forum June 17-20, 2005, before the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) meeting in Orlando, Florida. Nearly half of those registered presented their research findings at a joint NIDA International Forum poster session and CPDD workshop that has allowed attendees from both meetings to learn about drug abuse research conducted outside the United States. Participants were enthusiastic about the Forum symposium, workshops, and the joint poster session. The one-day symposium, Linking Drug Abuse and HIV/AIDS Research, featured a presentation by NIDA Deputy Director Dr. Timothy P. Condon, who summarized the Institute's current research priorities and funding constraints, and a discussion of emerging issues, responses, and research priorities to address the intertwined epidemics of drug addiction and HIV/AIDS by NIDA AIDS Research Director Dr. Jacques Normand and Dr. Paul Griffiths, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addictions. NIDA staff members who discussed the Institute's international drug abuse research activities included Dr. Steven W. Gust, IP; Dr. David Shurtleff, DBNBR; Dr. Yonette Thomas, DESPR; Dr. Frank Vocci, DPMCDA; Dr. Betty Tai, CCTN; and Dr. Steven Goldberg, IRP.

Participants in international research collaborations discussed how to create and conduct collaborative research programs by using varied support mechanisms. Dr. Joseph E. Schumacher, University of Alabama at Birmingham, described collaborative research with Ukrainian researchers that grew out of a Fogarty International Center (FIC) ICOHRTA award. Dr. Jan M. van Ree, Rudolf Magnus Institute for Neurosciences, described collaborative research fostered by the U.S.-Netherlands Binational Agreement. A panel of Middle Eastern scientists coordinated by Dr. Rick Rawson, University of California, Los Angeles, described how they use funding from the U.S. Department of State to supplement research awards supporting a cooperative network that operates in Egypt, Israel, and the Palestinian Territory. Representatives from organizations that support international drug abuse research and training who discussed their activities and funding mechanisms included Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, World Health Organization; Dr. Robert W. Eisinger, NIH Office of AIDS Research; Ms. Flora Katz, FIC; and Ms. Daria Tuetonico, Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program. Workshops featured interactive discussions about writing journal articles, adapting the Addiction Severity Index across cultures, and prioritizing HIV/AIDS research needs in drug abuse treatment settings.

U.S. - Netherlands Binational Meeting Reviews Research Proposals and Results
As the first joint research teams are publishing their results and the second group of scientists are completing their projects, representatives from NIDA and the Dutch Addiction Program (DAP) met May 19-20, 2005, in Baltimore, Maryland, to consider applications for new funding and assess the status of the unique binational agreement between NIDA, The Netherlands Health Research and Development Council (ZONMw), and The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). The meeting was co-chaired by IP Director Dr. Steven Gust and Drs. Jan van Ree and Nick Ramsey, University of Utrecht. During the meeting, participants toured the NIDA Intramural Research Program and met with scientists at Johns Hopkins University. In addition, Dr. Dirk Ruwaard, Counselor for Health, Welfare and Sport, Royal Netherlands Embassy, briefed participants on agreements between the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Netherlands Ministry of Health to collaborate on drug abuse issues, including supply- and demand-reduction.

The joint scientific reviews conducted by the separate U.S. and Dutch funding agencies ensure that each binational research project meets the individual nations' research criteria and priorities; the joint funding permits NIDA, ZONMw, and NWO to expand the impact of their scarce financial resources. The newly proposed collaborations include research on neuroimaging to assess the effects of marijuana use on adolescent brain development, the connection between ADHD and substance abuse, the effectiveness of community-based versus institutionalized introductions of a system to evaluate and select empirically proven prevention interventions, improving decision-making skills to prevent drug abuse, and comparative studies of training activities.

One of the first binational projects funded under NIDA-DAP agreement has helped narrow the search for specific genes linked to nicotine dependence (Pharmacogenomics Journal, 2004, 4, 345-346). Dr. Geoffrey Hunt, Institute for Scientific Analysis, described how research teams examining the international youth dance club scene in Rotterdam, San Francisco and Hong Kong adopted a global perspective in their research, integrating qualitative and quantitative methods to adapt to differing customs and developing culturally appropriate prevention and intervention strategies. Research teams at the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of Maastricht are comparing the power of independently developed measures of implicit cognition to predict substance abuse in high-risk adolescents. Dr. Susan Ames, USC, outlined the research results and their impact on scientific understanding of assessment, theory, and intervention feasibility. Leading researchers from each country conduct productive collaborative research by sharing data available in only one of the two countries, assembling teams with complimentary skills, and investigating new research topics.

U.S., Spanish Scientists Build Collaborative Research
Building on their introduction at the 2003 U.S.-Spain Binational Workshop, Dr. Flavio Francisco Marsiglia, Arizona State University, and Dr. Maria Angeles Luengo, University of Santiago de Compostela, have exchanged research visits and completed a pilot study on drug abuse prevention among 917 Spanish students. The researchers are preparing an R01 application, and their respective universities have agreed to support further cooperative activities.

NIDA, State Department Select Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows
NIDA and the U.S. Department of State have selected six international drug abuse professionals as 2005-2006 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. The new Humphrey Fellows include: Dr. Fadi Hammal, Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies; Ms. Alexandra Hill, Anti-Drug Foundation of El Salvador; Dr. Danesh Kumar, Indian Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences; Dr. Stephen Nsimba, Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences, Tanzania; Dr. Anna Tkachenko, Far East Center of Mental Health, Khabarovsk, Russia; and Ms. Nataliya Yuirievna Vlasova, STEPS Treatment Center, Ukraine.

International Meetings/Conferences

Drs. Eve Reider and Beverly A. Pringle, DESPR, co-chaired a symposium August 20, 2005, during the American Psychiatric Association Annual Convention that focused on research being conducted under the U.S.-Netherlands Binational Agreement. Dr. John Lochman, University of Alabama, presented research he conducted with Dr. Walter Matthys, University of Utrecht, on the impact of early intervention for aggressive behavior on future substance abuse; Dr. Geoffrey Hunt, Institute for Scientific Analysis, described research he is conducting with Dr. Dike van de Mheen, Rotterdam Addiction Research Institute, examining the international youth dance club scene in Rotterdam, San Francisco and Hong Kong; and Dr. Susan Ames, University of Southern California, discussed research conducted with Dr. Reinout W. Weirs, University of Maastricht, on the value of implicit cognition to predict substance abuse in high-risk adolescents. Ms. Dale Weiss, IP, was the discussant.

NIDA cosponsored a conference, Delivery Systems for Substance Abuse Treatment: Integration with Primary Care, Mental Health and Social Services, held September 5-8, 2005, in Istanbul, Turkey, and organized by the Integrated Substance Abuse Programs at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In addition to NIDA and UCLA, the conference was cosponsored by the United States Institute of Peace, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the International Society of Addiction Medicine, and the International Association of Addiction Journal Editors. Dr. Jack Stein, DESPR, served on the conference steering committee, co-chaired a session on research and training opportunities, and presented about NIDA-supported research and training programs. NIDA also supported the participation of four grantees at the conference: Drs. Christine Grella and Walter Ling, UCLA; Dr. Jeffery Samet, Boston University; and Dr. Constance Weisner, University of California, San Francisco.

NIDA provided travel support to Dr. Nancy Jainchill, National Development and Research Institutes, for participation in the International Therapeutic Communities Conference, held May 10, 2005, in Madrid, Spain.

NIDA supported three researchers who participated in the scientific meeting, Alcohol, Drugs, and Violence: Youth Risk Taking Behaviors and Prevention, held May 27 to June 3, 2005, at the University of California, Riverside, by the Kettil Bruun Society for Social and Epidemiological Research. Dr. Katarzyna Okulics-Kozaryn, Warsaw Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Poland, discussed research on the validity of screening tests for problematic cannabis and other drug use among adolescents. Dr. Ifeta Licanin, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, reviewed drug-induced risk behaviors among adolescents; and Dr. Adriana Tucci, UNIFESP/EPM, Brazil, presented research on the effectiveness of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire to evaluate childhood neglect and abuse in alcohol- and drug-dependent patients and in patients with depression.

NIDA supported the participation of three international researchers at the Transportation Research Board Summer Workshop on Drugs in Traffic, held June 20-21, 2005, Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Dr. Johannes G. Ramaekers, University of Maastricht, the Netherlands, reviewed the effects of drugs on drivers; Dr. Alain Versraet, University of Ghent, Belgium, described the legal framework for dealing with drugs in traffic; and Dr. Phillip Swann, VicRoads, Australia, outlined enforcement issues with regard to drug-impaired drivers.

NIDA supported the July 10-13, 2005, visit by former INVEST Drug Abuse Research Fellow Dr. Marco Bortolato to the NIDA IRP in Baltimore to work on an on-going multidisciplinary collaborative study between the University of Cagliari, Italy; the University of California, Irvine; and the NIDA IRP on levels of the endogenous cannabinoid anandamide and levels of FAAH enzyme activity in selected brain areas of squirrel monkeys.

NIDA supported the participation of three international researchers at the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT) meeting, held August 29 to September 2, 2005, in Seoul, Korea. Dr. Serap Annette Akgur, Ege University of Medicine, Izmir, Turkey, discussed her research on drugged driving; Dr. Tasduq Abdullah, Sagar University, Jammu, India, presented his research on the health benefits of Indian natural drugs that protect against tissue toxicity with excessive free radicals; and Mr. Juan Manuel Triszcz, University of La Plata, Argentina, described his study of the kinetics of ethanol degradation in forensic blood samples.

NIDA provided travel support to Dr. Deni Carise, Treatment Research Institute, University of Pennsylvania, to conduct Addiction Severity Index training at the Brazilian Conference on Drug and Alcohol Abuse (ABEAD), held August 31 to September 3, 2005, in Ouro Preto, Brazil.

NIDA provided conference support for the 27th Annual Substance Abuse Librarians and Information Specialists Conference, held May 3-7, 2005, in Chicago, Illinois.

International Visitors

Dr. Nathan Appel, DPMCDA, attended the 10th Annual CyberTherapy Conference/1st International Conference on Applied Technologies in Medicine and Neuroscience in Basel, Switzerland organized by the Interactive Media Institute. He chaired the Addictions session on June 8, 2005. Speakers, including a NIDA SBIR award recipient, reported on how they have applied or plan to apply virtual reality technology to treat cocaine and nicotine craving and to reduce risky behaviors.

At the invitation of the School of Medicine, International American University, St. Lucia, West Indies, Dr. Jag Khalsa, DPMCDA, presented a symposium on HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse. NIDA/NIH-supported researchers including Drs. Royal, Kumar, Nair, and Sopori presented current research on various aspects of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS. Dr. Khalsa discussed medical/clinical consequences of drug abuse and co-occurring infections, funding opportunities and possible collaborations at NIDA/NIH.

Dr. Frank Vocci, Director, DPMCDA, attended the International Association of Law and Mental Health meeting in Paris, France from July 1-4, 2005. He presented on The Treatment Efficacy for Addictive Disorders: the Policy Implications of Expectations and Realities on July 2, 2005.

Dr. Wilson Compton, Director, DESPR, presented a paper on the epidemiology of drug abuse at the NIDA-sponsored pre-conference on drug abuse at the International Academy of Law and Mental Health, Paris, France, July 2-3, 2005.

Dr. Meyer Glantz, DESPR, represented NIDA at the 2005 World Mental Health Consortium annual meeting in Amsterdam. The Consortium is a collaboration of the World Health Organization, NIMH and NIDA, and other mental health institutions. The Consortium members sponsor and conduct the World Mental Health Survey, a multi-site investigation of the prevalence and concomitants of mental and substance use disorders in 28 countries. The United States component of the survey, the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication, has completed data collection and is currently analyzing and publishing its findings.

Drs. Eve Reider, PRB, DESPR, and Bev Pringle, SRB, DESPR, collaborated with Dr. Steven Gust, International Office in organizing a symposium for the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, August 20, 2005, Washington D.C. Drs. Reider and Pringle chaired and Dr. Gust led the discussion for the symposium "The United States-Netherlands Bi-national Collaboration on Drug Abuse." Presenters included: 1) John E. Lochman (University of Alabama) and Walter Matthys (University of Utrecht, The Netherlands), 2) Geoffrey Hunt, (Institute for Scientific Analysis, Alameda, California), and 3) Susan Ames (University of Southern California).

Drs. Elizabeth Robertson and Wilson Compton, DESPR, met with Davide Antognazza and Alberto Terzi of Italy to discuss strategic planning for prevention programming in Italy. Italy has recently translated the NIDA publication Preventing Drug Abuse among Child and Adolescents into Italian and is basing their programming plans on the Principles of Prevention presented in the publication.

On June 8, 2005, Dr. David Thomas, DBNBR, gave a presentation at the Cybertherapy 2005 meeting, in Basel Switzerland, entitled NIDA's Virtual Reality Pain Research Program as part of the Pain and Pathological Grief Symposium. Dr. Thomas also served as chair of this session.

Dr. Melissa Racioppo, DCNDBT, participated in a meeting of Dutch-American research collaborations sponsored by NIDA's program on international research held in Baltimore, Maryland on April 19-20, 2005.

Dr. Jag Khalsa, DPMCDA, presented a mini-symposium on Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders and Interventions in Drug Abusers Co-infected with HIV and HCV at the XIII World Psychiatry Congress, in Cairo, Egypt, September 10-15, 2005. Speakers (Dr. Adrian Dobs of JHU, Dr. Tim Flanigan of Brown University, Dr. Charles Hinkin of UCLA, and Christine Wanke of Tufts) presented current research findings on the subject. A brief summary of the symposium will be placed on NIDA's website.

Dr. Frank Vocci, Director, DPMCDA, presented on international research funded by the Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse at the NIDA International Satellite Symposium in Orlando, June 18, 2005.

Dr. Betty Tai, Director, CCTN, presented an update of the CTN research at the NIDA international Forum in Orlando Florida on June 17th, 2005.

Dr. Yonette Thomas, DESPR, presented at the International Forum at the CPDD Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida in June 2005.

Dr. Peter Hartsock, DESPR, served on the conference committee of the Fourteenth International Conference on AIDS and Public Health, St. Petersburg, Russia, May 23-27, 2005.

Dr. Peter Hartsock organized and chaired a special symposium titled "Multi-Disciplinary Research on the Epidemiology of HIV/AIDS and Evaluation of the Public Health Impact and Cost Effectiveness of HIV/AIDS Interventions." The symposium was part of the Fourteenth International Conference on AIDS and Public Health, St. Petersburg, Russia, May 23-27, 2005.

Dr. Peter Hartsock participated a special meeting held by the Council on Foreign Relations titled, "HIV and National Security: Where Are the Links." The meeting took place in Washington, D.C., July 18, 2005 and was co-chaired by Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director, UNAIDS; Richard C. Holbrooke, Former U.S. Representative to the United Nations; and Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

Dr. Peter Hartsock participated in a meeting held by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Council on Foreign Relations title "Post G8 Briefing on Future HIV/AIDS Financing," Washington D.C., July 21, 2005. The meeting was held to discuss the key outcomes of the G8 Summit as they related to HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Amina Woods, Cellular Neurophysiology Section, IRP presented data on the instrumentation and technical development of their MALDI Ion Mobility orthogonal time of flight instrument at the "3rd Conference on Mass Spectrometry Applied to Chemical and Biological Warfare Agents" in Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands on April 18, 2005.


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

In Memoriam

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