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NIDA Home > Publications > Director's Reports > September, 2010 Index    

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - September, 2010

International Activities

Tanzania and U.S. Launch Medication-Assisted Therapy Program for Drug Users Based on NIDA-Supported Research
The governments of Tanzania and the United States have begun the first medication- assisted therapy (MAT) program for drug users in sub-Saharan Africa at two sites in Dar es Salaam and one in Zanzibar. Recognizing that high-risk practices related to drug use contribute to HIV transmission, the Tanzania Drug Control Commission (DCC) has promoted and adopted novel and evidence-based interventions to facilitate improved access to services that prevent HIV among drug users. Working with colleagues from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, former Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellow Dr. Amani Msami Kisanga, who leads the DCC Education, Information & Statistics Section, helped draft five documents outlining Tanzania's response to HIV among drug users, including policy guidelines, an outreach service guide for HIV prevention among drug users, healthcare facility standards for MAT programs, clinical guidelines, and a substance abuse screening and brief intervention protocol for primary care settings. The documents were based in part on research conducted in Dar es Salam by NIDA IP grantees Dr. Sheryl A. McCurdy, Dr. Michael W. Ross, and Dr. Mark L. Williams, University of Texas at Houston, and their Tanzanian partners Dr. Gad P. Kilonzo and Dr. M. T. Leshabari, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences. The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supported the DCC policy development and implementation efforts.

NIDA-Funded Researcher Mixes Ethnography With Art Installation
As part of his research into preventing HIV and hepatitis C infections among injection drug users, Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, Ph.D., National Development and Research Institutes, noticed that drug dealers in New York were creating heroin brands by labeling the glassine envelopes in which they distributed the drug. Working with the Social Art Collective in New York City, Dr. Mateu-Gelabert and his colleagues interviewed drug dealers and users, as well as an artist who designs the brand images, while collecting the empty envelopes to create an art project that the New York Times said "is meant to examine the intersection of advertising and addiction and provoke questions about how society addresses dependence and disease." In addition to 150 decorated envelopes collected from city streets, the exhibit includes 12 large-scale prints of the brand designs, 1,800 empty envelopes (representing a heavy heroin user's annual consumption), and information cards describing injection drug use risks. Proceeds from the exhibit will be shared with a local needle-exchange program.

NIH-Supported Meetings

NIDA Symposium, Workshop Featured at AIDS 2010; New IAS-NIDA Fellows Announced
Two NIDA-supported meetings featured international drug abuse research during the XVIII International AIDS Conference, which was held July 18-23, in Vienna, Austria. The International AIDS Society (IAS)/NIDA Symposium was organized by ARP Director Dr. Jacques Normand and featured presentations by NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow on the neurobiology of drug use and HIV risk behavior; U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Dr. Eric Goosby, on PEPFAR's evolving strategy to prevent HIV among persons who inject drugs; Dr. Charles O'Brien, University of Pennsylvania, on substance abuse treatment as HIV prevention; and IAS President Dr. Julio Montaner, on HAART as prevention for injecting drug users. IAS-NIDA Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in HIV and Drug Use were announced during the symposium, supporting 18 months of training for:

  • Elena Dukhoulinova, Russia, who will study with Dr. Ronald I. Swanstrom, University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill;
  • Jonathan Claude Ipser, South Africa, who will work with Dr. Igor Grant, University of California, San Diego;
  • Shusen Liu, China, who will train with Dr. Zunyou Wu, Chinese National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention;
  • Brandon Marshall, Canada, who will study with Dr. Sandro Galea, Dr. Anna Cheskis Gelman, and Dr. Murray C. Gelman at Columbia University; and
  • Former NIDA INVEST Fellow Adhi Nurhidayat, Indonesia, who will work with Dr. David Metzger, University of Pennsylvania.

The NIDA Workshop on Building International Research Capacity and Collaboration on Drug Abuse and HIV/AIDS informed drug abuse and HIV/AIDS researchers about current and planned NIDA research funding opportunities, online networking and collaboration tools, and research training programs available to foster the development of regional research networks and collaborations. Participants had opportunities to establish new research collaborations and provide feedback to NIDA regarding research opportunities and mechanisms to establish regional research networks. Speakers included IP Director Dr. Steven W. Gust, who chaired the workshop, ARP Director Dr. Jacques Normand, and CTN Deputy Director Dr. Mary Ellen Michel. Dr. David Metzger, University of Pennsylvania, facilitated a panel discussion with Dr. Clyde B. McCoy, University of Miami, and Dr. Jeffrey Same, Boston University School of Medicine, on building effective regional research partnerships and networks.

NIDA International Forum Focuses on Research to Inform Drug Policy and Public Health
IP Director Dr. Steven W. Gust chaired the 15th NIDA International Forum, which was held June 11-15, 2010, in Scottsdale, Arizona, as a satellite to the Annual Scientific Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD). More than 240 participants from 49 countries participated in the plenary session, workshops, and networking activities. A joint CPDD/NIDA International Forum poster session featured presentations by 140 U.S. and international researchers as well as representatives from 11 NIDA components.

IP Presents Awards of Excellence
During the 2010 NIDA International Forum, the IP presented its 2010 Awards of Excellence to honor mentors, researchers, and binational collaborative teams whose efforts support the International Program mission, including:

  • Excellence in Mentoring: Dr. Walter Ling, University of California Los Angeles;
  • Excellence in International Leadership: Dr. Evgeny Krupitsky, Pavlov Medical University and Bekhterev Research Psychoneurological Institute, Russia; and
  • Excellence in International Collaborative Research: Dr. Thomas F. Babor, University of Connecticut, and Dr. Robin Room, University of Melbourne and Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Australia.

SPR Launches International Good Behavior Game Network and Features International Networking and Poster Session
The Society for Prevention Research (SPR) 18th Annual Meeting, which was held June 1-4, 2010, in Denver, Colorado, featured the inaugural International Good Behavior Game Network meeting as well as the SPR International Networking Forum and an international poster session cosponsored by the NIDA IP and DESPR.


DISCA Team Examines PTSD and Substance Use Disorders
Kathleen T. Brady, M.D., Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), will use her NIDA Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Award (USDISCA) to extend her research collaboration with Maree Teesson, Ph.D., Australian National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), University of New South Wales. The team will collaborate on statistical analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of research findings on treatment of co-occurring post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders in preparation for publications and a 2011 international symposium on the topic. Drs. Brady and Teesson also will explore capacity development in multisite clinical trials, translational research, and concept development. Dr. Brady directs the Clinical Neuroscience Division at MUSC, focusing on substance use disorders and co-occurring psychiatric and medical conditions, is the principal investigator of the NIDA Clinical Trials Network Southern Consortium Node, and is MUSC Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research.

USDISCA Team Builds HIV Prevention Effort for Young Russians
Kenneth W. Griffin, Ph.D., M.P.H., Weill Cornell Medical College, and Irina Pervova, Ph.D., St. Petersburg State University (SPSU), used Dr. Griffin's U.S. Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Award (USDISCA) to conduct key informant interviews and focus groups on the epidemiology, etiology, and prevention activities regarding adolescent substance use in St. Petersburg; to conduct a local prevention needs assessment; and to obtain government and university approval to adapt, test, and refine evidence-based family prevention programs that address differences between the United States and Russia in culture, language, and organizational structures. The pair, who met while planning a 2006 NIDA-funded conference in St. Petersburg, has already submitted one grant application, a feasibility study for drug abuse prevention trials, and is developing two others. While he was in St. Petersburg, Dr. Griffin also presented at two SPSU conferences, met with U.S. consular officials, participated in a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime seminar, and met with kindergarten through 12th-grade educators.

INVEST Fellow To Investigate Opioid Maintenance Treatment Adherence
Perrine Roux, Pharm.D., Ph.D., French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), has been selected as a NIDA INVEST Drug Abuse Research Fellow. She will work with Sandra D. Comer, Ph.D., Columbia University, to better define the concept of nonadherence to opioid maintenance treatment with buprenorphine/naloxone and to validate a tool to measure nonadherence using a self-administered questionnaire. The researchers predict that identification of factors associated with nonadherence will provide important information on how to improve clinical management and outcomes in patients abusing heroin or prescription opioids, with or without chronic pain symptoms. At Inserm, Dr. Roux has participated in a longitudinal study of drug treatment for marginalized populations, a national trial of hepatitis C risk reduction interventions for prisoners, and a trial of methadone in primary care for hepatitis C prevention.

INVEST-CTN Fellow Focuses on Family Therapy
INVEST-Clinical Trials Network (CTN) Fellow Mario Zapata, M.D., M.Sc., focused primarily on brief strategic family therapy and ended his fellowship year by submitting a grant application to fund a pilot project testing the effectiveness of the brief strategic family therapy protocol in Colombia. Working at the CTN Florida Node at the University of Miami, Dr. Zapata also helped develop protocols testing the effectiveness of rapid HIV testing and counseling; 12-step behavioral interventions; Web-based treatment delivery; and emergency room screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment. He enrolled in academic courses about clinical trials and child and adolescent psychology, participated in scientific meetings, and presented his research to the CTN Steering Committee.

Former Humphrey Fellow Named to Top University and Research Posts
2010-2011 Humphrey Fellow Muzafar Razali received his doctoral degree from the University of Malaya in August 2010 and was appointed head of the Psychology and Counseling Department, Faculty of Education and Human Development, at Sultan Idris Education University July 1, 2010. He was also named a teaching and research Fellow at the Asian Centre for Research on Drug Abuse (ACREDA) at the Islamic Science University of Malaysia.

International Visitors

As part of the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program a group of visitors from Mexico came to NIDA on July 20, 2010. The purpose of the trip was to familiarize the participants with effective drug abuse prevention and treatment programs in the U.S. Meeting with the visitors from NIDA were Dale Weiss, IP, Dr. Jag Khalsa, DPMCDA, Dr. Ruben Baler, OSPC and Dr. Jacqueline Lloyd, DESPR.

On July 22, 2010 health professionals from Namibia and South Africa visited NIDA. The groups were sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Windhoek and the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program. While at NIDA the visitors met with Dale Weiss, IP, Dr. Jag Khalsa, DPMCDA, Dr. Petra Jacobs, CCTN and Dr. Lula Beatty, SPO.

Other Activities

Dr. David Shurtleff, Director, DBNBR, gave a presentation entitled: "Basic Neuroscience Research at NIDA: An Update" at the Annual Meeting of The International Narcotics Research Conference. Malmš, Sweden, July, 2010.

Dr. John Satterlee, DBNBR, gave the keynote address entitled "Large Scale Epigenomics Projects" at the "Epigenetics, Environment and Health Consultation Workshop" at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario on April 7, 2010. The purpose of this Canadian Institute of Health Research sponsored meeting was to develop a framework for a potential Canadian epigenetics research program.

Dr. Jonathan D. Pollock, DBNBR, attended the International Knockout Mouse Consortium Meeting and Mouse Models of Human Disease, Royal Society, London, UK, May18-21, 2010.

Dr. Ivan Montoya, DPMCDA, participated in a meeting of the European Presidency organized by the National Drug Abuse Plan of Spain. The meeting took place in Santander, Spain on June 28 and 29, 2010. Dr. Montoya presented the research collaboration between NIDA and European countries as well as a lecture on Translational Research in Drug Abuse.

Dr. Nicolette Borek, DCNBR, represented NIDA and the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study and the Adolescent Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions at the 2nd International Workshop on HIV Pediatrics, July 16-17, 2010 in Vienna, Austria. This meeting served as a pre-conference event to the International AIDS conference.

Dr. Wilson M. Compton, Director, DESPR, presented on "Abuse of Pharmaceuticals in the USA" at an experts' meeting on prescription drug abuse, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna, Austria, June 22, 2010.

Dr. Meyer Glantz, DESPR, attended the 2010 World Mental Health Consortium meeting as NIDA's representative and scientific collaborator. The WHO meeting was held in Lisbon Portugal from July 6 through July 10, 2010. Dr. Glantz collaborates with the Drug Dependence, Nosology, Suicide and Global Burden of Disease analysis workgroups. The WMH Consortium is a multinational set of coordinated community psychiatric epidemiology surveys. The U.S. implementation was the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Survey.

Dr. Meyer Glantz represented NIDA at the World Psychiatric Association Epidemiology Section held in Lisbon Portugal from July 10 through July 14, 2010.

Drs. Eve Reider, Belinda Sims and Wilson Compton, DESPR, Ms. Dale Weiss, NIDA International Program, and Dr. Nicholas Ialongo, Johns Hopkins University, met with Dr. Jorge McDouall, from Mentor Colombia May 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. Mentor Colombia is a national not for profit non-government organization working as a national family member of the Mentor Foundation. Mentor seeks to undertake, identify, support and share information on proven and promising practices that effectively prevent or protect children and young people from the harm that drugs cause and which make drug misuse less likely.

Dr. Eve Reider presented on "Challenges for Application of Effective Prevention" at the meeting "International Drug Abuse Prevention: Opportunities & Challenges" that was held by the Mentor Foundation on May 18, 2010 in Washington, DC.

Dr. Eve Reider was an organizer and theme reviewer for the 3rd Annual NIDA International Poster Session, held June 1, 2010 at the 18th Annual Society for Prevention Research Annual Meeting, Denver, CO.

Drs. Kathy Etz, DESPR, NIDA, Sheila Caldwell (NCCAM) and John Lowe (Florida International University) conducted a Grant Development Workshop at the International Network of Indigenous Health, Knowledge, and Development (INIHKD) Conference on May 24, 2010 in Poulsbo, Washington.

Dr. Peter Hartsock, DESPR, served on the Scientific Committee of the Nineteenth International Conference on HIV/AIDS, Cancer and Public Health held May 22-26, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Dr. Peter Hartsock chaired a symposium on NIDA's AIDS modeling research at the Nineteenth International Conference on HIV/AIDS, Cancer and Public Health, May 22-26, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Featured were analyses of substitution therapy and ART therapy for IDUs in Ukraine with potential applications for Russia and past and future research related to the "Seek, Test, Treat, and Retain" paradigm.

Dr. Peter Hartsock participated in a kick-off meeting on HIV "Seek, Test, Treat, and Retain" initiatives in Russia, May 27 and 28, 2010 in St. Petersburg and in the Leningrad Oblast (northwest Russia). These initiatives are a continuation of collaborative work between Dr. Hartsock's AIDS modeling research program and Russian researchers, planners, policy makers, and providers.

Dr. Peter Hartsock met with Russian scientists from St. Petersburg State University concerned with drug abuse and child trafficking, May 29, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Russia, to discuss research on the scope and nature of the drug and child trafficking problem there, and to enlist organized crime efforts to reduce trafficking and the distribution/sales of dangerous drugs.

Dr. Peter Hartsock represented NIDA at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) conference, "Meeting the Millennium Goals on Health: The Challenge for Africa." June 24, 2010, Washington D.C., which was also attended by health ministers from 9 African countries.

Dr. Peter Hartsock represented NIDA at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Statesman's Forum with Valdis Dombrovkis, Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia, June 15, Washington, D.C. Dr. Hartsock presented on NIDA's drug abuse and HIV epidemiologic initiatives in the Baltic states—Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia—and in adjoining Russia and Ukraine.


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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