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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

Media and Education Activities

Media Support of Events & Meetings

NIDA's eighth Blending Conference April 22-23, 2010 in Albuquerque NM received significant national, local and trade media coverage. Stories about the meeting ran on several outlets, including CNN, UPI, KOAT-TV, HealthDay, Medical News Today, and others. Of particular interest to reporters was the ongoing development of NIDA-sponsored vaccines to treat addiction to nicotine and cocaine. To capitalize on the growing importance of social media, an interview was scheduled during the meeting with Dr. Volkow and three influential addiction and health bloggers: Addiction Inbox, Psychology Today's "All About Addiction" and Addictions. In addition, Dr. Cindy Miner "tweeted" throughout the two-day conference on the @NIDAnews Twitter account. In total, 34 tweets were posted; of these, 30 were "retweeted" by NIDAnews followers, reaching more than 5,000 people. The @NIDAnews Twitter stream now has 281 followers, with re-tweets reaching up to 250,000 readers.

NIDA also promoted its participation in the annual American Psychiatric Association meeting May 22-26, 2010, in New Orleans which received national, local and trade media coverage, including Associated Press, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Weekly and APA Daily Bulletin. Of particular interest to reporters was NIDA's latest research track highlighting a wide range of topics, including how disruptions in brain circuitry are linked to mental illness and addiction, what overeating and obesity have in common with drug addiction, promising treatments for addiction to marijuana, cocaine, nicotine and methamphetamines and how a web-based video doctor approach may help soldiers and their families deal with drug abuse related to combat stress.

NIDA once again co-sponsored an addiction science award at the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) held May 9-14, 2010, in San Jose, CA. Intel ISEF is the world's largest international pre-college science competition for students in grades 9-12. Over 1,500 high school students from over 50 countries, regions, and territories showcased their independent research at the annual event. NIDA staff and grantees served as judges for the addiction science award, and Friends of NIDA provided funding. The three winners came to NIDA Headquarters in August 2010 to present their projects and were given a tour of the NIH campus. NIDA continues to nurture the careers of the ISEF Addiction Science winters. 2009 winner Jada Nicole Dalley, who won first place for her project on third hand smoke and recently graduated from Keystone School in San Antonio, spent five weeks as an intern in NIDA's Office of Science Policy & Communications before attending Elon University in North Carolina. Ethan Garrett Guinn, whose project on video games addiction won a second place Addiction Science Award in 2008, spent the summer of 2010 at Boston Children's Hospital working with Dr. Michael Rich and Dr. David Bickham to complete his data analysis and prepare for publication of his research.

Dr. Volkow, NIDA AIDS Program Director Jacques Normand, and a team of NIDA scientists traveled to Vienna, Austria, July 18-23, 2010, for the XVIII International AIDS Conference. Dr. Volkow sat on the stage while former President Bill Clinton spoke about how far we have come in the fight against AIDS. The Vienna location represented a gateway to the east — as the conference theme "Rights Here, Right Now," represented a fight against the stigma of addiction. A compelling body of evidence was presented at the conference demonstrating that Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) is not only highly effective at preventing HIV-related morbidity and mortality, but also dramatically decreases HIV transmission from all routes. Dr. Volkow was interviewed by the New York Times and Voice of America (Russia) during the conference, and NIDA grantees were interviewed about their research for short video segments that will be posted on NIDA's website. NIDA's communications chief Carol Krause was at the conference to coordinate the video project.

NIDA Wins Plain Language Awards

Three NIDA products, including the Sara Bellum blog, the NIDAMED initiative, and NIDA's video series for teens, received NIH Plain Language Awards at a ceremony held on May 26, 2010. The annual NIH Plain Language Award ceremony honors outstanding NIH communication products, including websites, fact sheets, multi-media presentations, and other materials. Check out these excellent products at

Upcoming Events

Partnerships have been secured with the Discovery Channel, MTV, and the MusiCares/Grammy Foundation for National Drug Facts Week (NDFW), to be held November 8-14, 2010. The event is an extension of NIDA's annual Drug Facts Chat Day, during which thousands of teens ask questions about drugs via a Web chat. NIDA developed NDFW to encourage teens, schools and community groups all over America to hold their own "Q and A" events, with local experts. Throughout the week, teens will participate in a variety of NDFW activities such as hosting movie nights and book club meetings, contacting their members of congress, holding school assemblies and sponsoring music and art contests. NIDA will hold its annual Drug Facts Chat Day during the week, on November 9, 2010. The NDFW web site can be accessed directly from the NIDA home page.

Press Releases, Media Advisories & Notes to Reporters

Press Releases & Media Advisories

April 15, 2010 — A media advisory about NIDA's Blending Conference titled "From Theory into Practice: NIDA's Blending Conference Highlights the Latest in Drug Abuse Treatment" was distributed, which highlighted research to be discussed during the conference.

April 22, 2010 — A press release titled "NIDA Blending Conference Launches New Training Approach for Young Adults Addicted to Opioids" was distributed regarding NIDA's Blending Conference in Albuquerque. This eighth meeting in the series brought together researchers and clinicians so their latest findings could be immediately applied to the needs of patients and their families dealing with addictive disorders.

May 14, 2010 — A press release titled "Computer Modeling to Identify New Medications for Nicotine Addiction Wins First Place NIDA Addiction Science Award at 2010 Intel ISEF" was distributed announcing the 2010 INTEL ISEF awards winners. INTEL ISEF is the world's largest science competition for high school students.

May 20, 2010 — A media advisory titled "Neurobiological Circuits of Addiction: Significance for Psychiatric Practice" was distributed announcing the highlights of NIDA's Special Research Track at the American Psychiatric Association's Annual Conference.

July 7, 2010 — A press release titled "NIH-Supported Finding on Cocaine Addiction: Tiny Molecule, Big Promise" was distributed highlighting NIDA-funded research on cocaine addiction.

July 18, 2010 — A press release titled "HIV/AIDS Treatment Curbs Spread of HIV Among Drug Users, According to NIH Supported Study" was distributed highlighting how NIDA-funded research about highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), currently known for its therapeutic benefits against HIV, also reduced the spread of the virus among people with a history of injection drug use.

Notes to Reporters:

April 12, 2010 — A note was sent to reporters announcing NIDA's launch of its Twitter account, NIDAnews. Tweets from NIDAnews announce important new studies, link to comments by NIDA scientists discussing drug-related topics in the news, and provide the latest facts about drug use and its consequences.

April 27, 2010 — A note alerted media about a NIDA-funded study in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure. The article titled "Long Term Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Use is Associated with Left Ventricular Dysfunction" by Baggish, et al. summarized research from the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston that looked at the risks of long-term anabolic steroid use on the heart.

May 18, 2010 — A note to reporters was distributed regarding a NIDA-funded study in the journal Brain. The article titled "Decreased cerebral cortical serotonin transporter binding in ecstasy users: a positron emission tomography/ [11C] DASB and structural brain imaging study" by Kish, et al. discussed the effects of chronic ecstasy abuse and found that ecstasy users have low levels of serotonin transporters.

May 23, 2010 — Reporters were notified about a NIDA-funded study in the journal Nature Neuroscience. The article titled "Cortical DNA methylation maintains remote memory" by Miller, et al. discussed a mechanism that makes memories last, such as those underlying PTSD or the cravings that drive drug addiction.

May 30, 2010 — A note to reporters was sent out announcing the May issue of NIDA NewsScan, a monthly newsletter sent to trade press that highlighted NIDA research on a variety of issues affecting drug addiction/abuse.

June 10, 2010 — A note informed reporters about highlights of NIDA's presentations at the 72nd Annual Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) in Scottsdale, Arizona.

July 9, 2010 — A note to reporters was distributed highlighting a NIDA-funded study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that examined a single-question screener for use in primary care settings to identify drug use and drug use disorders.

Research News

Full NewsScans can be seen at

May 2010 - NIDA NewsScan #66 - Research News

  • Potential viability of HIV medications for HIV prevention in high-risk populations, but not for standard use
  • Understanding more about the needs and expectations of patients seeking outpatient substance abuse treatment
  • Individuals with substance addiction, bipolar disorder share overlapping genetic profiles
  • Low dose naltrexone + methadone during detox eases withdrawal symptoms, reduces cravings
  • Predicting risk and resilience in children of opiate-dependent parents
  • Key receptors, brain areas in nicotine withdrawal identified
  • Drug prevention programs during adolescence may have long-term benefits against risky sexual behavior
  • Consistent behavioral outcomes and neural activity shown in real and hypothetical discounting

July 2010 - NIDA NewsScan #67 - Special AIDS Issue Research News

  • A Note from NIDA's AIDS Research Program Director
  • Rapid HIV Testing May Be Useful in Jails with Frequent Turnover, But More Research Needed
  • Buprenorphine - Promising Treatment for Preventing Relapse in HIV-Positive Released Prisoners
  • Community Plasma HIV-1 RNA Concentrations are Predictive of HIV Incidence Among Injection Drug Users
  • Methadone Maintenance Therapy Promotes Use of Antiretroviral Therapy Among HIV-Infected Injection Drug Users
  • Substantial Global Health Crisis—High Prevalence of HIV-infected Injecting Drug Users Worldwide
  • Global Coverage of HIV Services for Injecting Drug Users Inadequate to Prevent HIV Transmission
  • HIV-infected Injecting Drug Users Benefit from Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapies

Highlights of Interviews: April - July, 2010

Discovery Magazine — Dr. Nora Volkow was interviewed about nicotine and cocaine vaccine research. — Dr. David Epstein was interviewed about GPS/digital devices tracking.

Family Practice News — Dr. Geetha Subramaniam was interviewed about her presentation at the Blending Conference on a young adult opioid treatment program.

Prevention — Dr. Joseph Frascella was interviewed about research that has linked overeating to other addictive behaviors, such as drug abuse.

Washington Post — Dr. Marilyn Huestis was interviewed about K2/Spice or fake marijuana.

NPR — Dr. Steven Grant was interviewed about mephedrone.

Web MD — Dr. Kevin Conway was interviewed about inhalant abuse.

Washington Post — Dr. Nicolette Borek was interviewed about children born to crack addicted women.

Reuters — Dr. Nora Volkow was interviewed about anabolic steroids.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review — Dr. Wilson Compton was interviewed about overdose from prescription drug abuse.

Good Morning America — Dr. Nora Volkow was interviewed about digital devices and addiction.

Reader's Digest — Dr. Nora Volkow was interviewed about teens and prescription drug abuse.

The New York Times — Dr. Nora Volkow was interviewed about research in Tanzania on the link between drug abuse/HIV.

Parent Magazine - Dr. Liz Robertson was interviewed about talking to kids about drug use.

Voice of America — Dr. Nora Volkow was interviewed about the link between HIV and drug addiction.

Detroit Free Press — Dr. Eve Reider was interviewed about drug abuse and the military.

Wired Magazine - Dr. Steven Grant was interviewed on the topic of brain changes after treatment for substance abuse.

Recent and Upcoming Conferences/Exhibits

National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NAADAC: the Association for Addiction Professionals Annual Conference)
September 9-11, 2010 -- Arlington, VA

15th Annual Latino Behavioral Health Institute Conference (LBHI)
September 22-24, 2010 -- Los Angeles, CA

American College of Emergency Physicians Scientific Assembly 2010
September 28 - October 1, 2010 -- Las Vegas, NV

American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Scientific Assembly
September 29 - October 2, 2010 -- Denver, CO

American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD) National Conference
October 23-27, 2010 -- Chicago, IL

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
October 26-31, 2010 -- New York, NY

National Middle School Association (NMSA) Annual Conference
November 4-6, 2010 -- Baltimore, MD

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exposition
November 6-10, 2010 -- Denver, CO

Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting (SfN)
November 13-17, 2010 -- San Diego, CA


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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