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NIDA Home > Publications > Director's Reports > September, 2006 Index    

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - September, 2006

International Activities

NIDA International Forum

Global Drug Abuse Research Community and NIDA Staff Focus on Drug Control, Regional Networks, and Priorities
More than 289 registrants from 53 countries participated in the NIDA International Forum, which was held June 16-19, 2006, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Drug abuse research being conducted around the world, international drug control debates, regional and treatment-based drug abuse research networks, Web-based tools for drug abuse scientists, and updates on NIDA research interests and funding priorities were the highlights of the 2006 NIDA International Forum: International Trends and Needs in Drug Abuse Research. The meeting, which was held immediately before the Annual Scientific Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, was organized by the NIDA International Program and featured plenary, workshop, or poster presentations by the following NIDA staff members: Steven W. Gust and Dale Weiss, IP; David Shurtleff, DBNBR: Kevin P. Conway and Joseph Frascella, DCNBR; Wilson M. Compton and Jack Stein, DESPR; Jag H. Khalsa, Ivan Montoya, and Frank Vocci, DPMCDA; Jacques Normand, AIDS Research Program; Betty Tai, CCTN; Mark Green, OEA; and Steven R. Goldberg and Barry J. Hoffer, IRP.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Willem Scholten, World Health Organization, who summarized international drug control policies and described how efforts to prevent abuse and trafficking can interfere with legitimate medical access to controlled substances. He discussed the public health benefits of treating opioid dependence with methadone and buprenorphine, and argued that all countries should permit access to these medically necessary controlled substances as an essential human right. NIDA International Program Director Dr. Steven W. Gust reviewed the Institute's research portfolio and described how NIDA is strengthening and stimulating research networks, collaborating with other international funding organizations, and creating Web-based research and training tools. CPDD International Committee Chair Dr. Gabrielle Fischer, Austria, introduced the 2006 WHO/NIDA/CPDD International Travelling Fellows, Dr. Konstantyn Dumchev, Ukraine, and Dr. Min Zhao, China. Representatives from NIDA, the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Pan-American Health Organization, the U.S. Department of State, and the National Hispanic Science Network reviewed efforts to address drug addiction and its consequences in Latin America, discussing projects designed to promote regional cooperation on drug abuse research, surveillance, clinical trials, and training programs.

During the poster session, more than 160 drug abuse scientists from around the world presented their research to NIDA Forum and CPDD participants while NIDA representatives presented posters summarizing the goals, research interests, international focus, and international funding priorities of 9 Institute components. Forum participants also received copies of the NIDA International Program supplement to Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The peer-reviewed supplement, Drug Abuse and HIV/AIDS: International Research Lessons and Imperatives, provides an international perspective on research exploring the intersections between drug abuse and HIV/AIDS.

Workshops focused on submitting competitive grant applications, including a mock grant review and updates on electronic submission requirements; Web-based tools for researchers, including NIDA's forthcoming online Manual on Opioid Substitution Pharmacotherapies and the International Society of Addiction Journal Editors online resource for addiction publishing (; building a Latin American research network, which was conducted in Spanish; and the UNODC international capacity-building and training network on drug abuse treatment.

NIDA Components Outline International Focus
During the June 2006 NIDA International Forum poster session, representatives from nine NIDA components presented posters summarizing the units' goals, research interests, international focus, and international funding priorities. The posters were prepared for the Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research; Division of Clinical Neuroscience and Behavioral Research; Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research; Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse; International Program; Intramural Research Program; AIDS Research Program; Center for the Clinical Trials Network; and Special Populations Office.

International Program Summarizes FY 2005 Activities
NIDA International Program activities both foster international cooperation on biomedical and behavioral research into drug abuse and addiction and promote the research priorities of other NIDA components. Current initiatives focus on high impact priority areas, and resources are leveraged through partnerships with other NIH Institutes, international governments, and affiliated research organizations. The International Program now leads a network of scientists who function as full partners with their NIDA-supported U.S. peers to collaborate on drug abuse research nationally, regionally, and globally. A summary of FY 2005 activities supported by the NIDA International Program demonstrates the ways in which international efforts successfully contribute to the NIDA research mission.

First NIDA International Awards of Excellence Presented
The NIDA International Program has inaugurated an award program to recognize mentors, researchers, binational collaborative teams, and individuals who have demonstrated sustained support of the NIDA International Program mission through outstanding contributions to international cooperation in drug abuse research and training. The awards will be presented each June at the NIDA International Forum; two-page written nominations may be submitted to the International Program by March 1. The 2006 NIDA International Program Awards of Excellence were presented to Robert L. Balster, Virginia Commonwealth University, for excellence in mentoring; Flávio Pechansky, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, for excellence in international leadership; George Woody, University of Pennsylvania, and Edwin Zvartau, Pavlov State Medical University, Russia, for excellence in collaborative research; and to Judy McCormally, IQ Solutions, Inc., for special recognition.

NIDA-Sponsored Meetings

NIDA Supports Latin American Participants at CEWG
As part of its Latin America Initiative, NIDA supported the participation of Latin American scientists at the June 2006 NIDA Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG) meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A panel on drug abuse in Latin American countries featured reports on drug abuse patterns, trends, and emerging problems in the region. NIDA-supported speakers included Dr. Fernando Salazar, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Peru; Dr. Leonel Valdivia, University of Chile; and former NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellow Dr. Vladimir de Andrade Stempliuk, Brazilian Observatory on Drug Information. In addition to their presentations, the Latin American representatives observed the CEWG meeting, including reports by 21 regional representatives, discussions with Federal officials about data sources, and local initiatives such as sobriety high schools and treatment programs. Ms. Marya Hynes Dowell, Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) at the Organization of American States, also participated in the meeting.

NHSN Summer Research Training Institute
NIDA supported two Latin American participants at the National Hispanic Science Network Summer Research Training Institute, which was held June 13-20, 2006, at the University of Houston, Texas. Juan Enrique Huerta-Wong, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Mexico, and Pablo Dragotto, Programa Cambio, Argentina, participated in the week-long graduate student-training institute in drug research methods. Students learn about drug research issues, receive guidance in producing a publishable manuscript on Hispanic-focused drug research, and are introduced to leading Hispanic drug abuse researchers who could serve as mentors.

Research Training and Exchange Programs

NIDA HHH Fellow Earns Doctorate
Former NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellow Evodia Mabuza-Mokoko (South Africa, 1999-2000) has earned her doctoral degree. Dr. Mokoko is now the Social Work Manager for South Africa's Central Drug Authority.

International Visitors

Visitors from Turkmenistan came to NIDA on May 17, 2006. Their visit was part of a U.S. Department of State sponsored program entitled, "Substance Abuse Education, Treatment and Prevention". The visitors are NGO managers working mainly with youth in Turkmenistan. Ms. Kim Zink, International Program contractor staff hosted the visit. Meeting with the visitors from NIDA were Dr. Liz Ginexi, DESPR and Mr. Brian Marquis, OSPC.

On June 5-9, 2006, NIDA staff met with Dr. Shu-Fen Liu, Epidemiology and Education Division Chief, National Bureau of Controlled Drugs, Taiwan Department of Health, and Dr. Liu's assistant, Ms. Chun-Jung Liao. Dr. Liu and Ms. Liao, who were in the United States to attend the June NIDA Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG) meeting, met with Dr. Wilson Compton and Ms. Moira O'Brien, DESPR; Dr. Steve Gust and Ms. Dale Weiss, IP; and Dr. Betty Tai, CTN. NIDA also arranged for Dr. Liu and Ms. Liao to visit officials at the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, NIDA grantees at the University of Maryland and Research Triangle Institute, and with CEWG contractor staff.

Dr Leonel Valdivia from the University of Chile visited NIDA on June 8, 2006. Dr. Valdivia discussed his current projects and planned work and heard about NIDA international work in particular its Latin American initiative. Dr. Valdivia met with Dr. Steve Gust and Ms. Dale Weiss, IP.

Two visitors from Romania, Ms. Ramun_ Visockyt_, Member of Parliament and Mr. Saulius Vitk_nas, Director General of the Prison Department, visited NIDA on June 26, 2006. Staff from NIDA met with the visitors to learn about NIDA's prevention and treatment programs.

Mr. Robert George Kroeker, Executive Director, B.C. Crystal Meth Secretariat, Canada visited on July 14, 2006. Mr. Kroeker was in the United States under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program to learn more about the U.S. response to treating crystal meth users among other topics. Meeting with Mr. Kroeker from NIDA were Ms. Jan Lipkin, OSPC, Dr. Jim Colliver, DESPR and Dr. Roberta Kahn, DPMCDA.

Dr. Hulya Yuksel from the University of Dumlupinar in Turkey visited NIDA on July 17, 2006. Dr. Yuksel is interested in smoking/tobacco prevention and treatment programs for her country of Turkey. She met with Ms. Debra Grossman, DCNBR, and Ms. Dale Weiss, IP from NIDA.

Other International Activities

Dr. Frank Vocci, Director, DPMCDA, presented on medications development for cocaine dependence at the European Association for Addiction Treatment in London on July 8, 2006.

Dr. Dionne Jones, DESPR, presented on "Research Opportunities at the National Institute on Drug Abuse" at the Caribbean Health Research Council Annual Meeting, St. Kitts, West Indies, April 28, 2006.

Dr. Thomas Hilton, DESPR, participated in a three-day conference April 12 through 14, 2006 in Sofia Bulgaria entitled: "Bridging the Gap Between Science and Practice," during which he presented several papers. He also met with Dr. Valeri Tzekov, Deputy Minister of Health; Dr. Dorita Krasteva, Director of the Sofia Municiple Centre for Addictions and her staff; and Dr. Tsveta Raycheva, Director of the National Centre on Addictions and her staff during which plans were discussed for moving to a case-based patient management system, development of a medical residency program in addictions, and developing a Bulgarian language version of the Addiction Severity Index.

The Prevention Research Branch hosted Dr. Gregor Burkhart of the European Monitoring Centre for Drug and Drug Addiction, Lisbon, Portugal on June 7, 2006 at the Neuroscience Center . Discussion related to the translation of interventions proven to be effective in the United States for use in Europe.

Dr. Rao Rapaka, DBNBR, co-chaired a session titled "Bioactive Lipids and Analytical Lipidology," at the International Cannabinoid Research Society's Annual Meeting in Budapest, Hungary, June 18-24, 2006. He also was a discussant on a panel on European/American Funding Initiatives.


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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