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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse
September, 1995

Program Activities

NIDA Research Center Grant Program Guidelines

As a followup to discussions at the May 1995 Council meeting, NIDA's center grant guidelines will be available on September 22. A notice stating their availability will be published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, on that date. These Guidelines will apply to new and competing continuation center grant applicants. NIDA's policies for its center grant program are delineated in the guidelines. Major changes include the following:

  • NIDA will support all NIH center grant mechanisms (P20, P30, P50, P60).
  • Center grant applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis in any of scientific areas of NIDA. (This eliminates the former requirement to have a program announcement or RFA that specifically solicits center grant applications.)
  • Center grant applicants must be able to demonstrate "centerness" and the concept that the "whole is greater than the sum of the parts."
  • Receipt dates for center grant applications are October 1 and June 1 only. (Applications submitted for February 1 will be held for the June 1 receipt date.)
  • NIDA center grants must be or demonstrate the potential to be significant regional or national resources.
  • Funds can be requested for pilot projects.
  • Center grant directors will generally be expected to spend a minimum of 25 percent time on research and administration related to the center.
  • Pre-application consultation will be strongly encouraged and provided by NIDA staff.
  • Center grant review criteria have been enhanced.
  • A separate center grant review committee will be established.
  • Meetings with center grant directors will be convened on an as-needed basis.

NIDA Initial Review Group Restructure

NIDA's restructure plan has been approved by the Office of the Director, NIH and is being implemented for the October/November initial review round (February 1996 Council). The National Institute on Drug Abuse Initial Review Group is chartered, with 10 subcommittees designated. The sub committees are also listed in table form.

Neuropharmacology Research Subcommittee - NIDA -A

Administrator- Syed Husain, Ph.D., Basic Sciences Review Br. Rm. 10-42, #301/443-2620
Replaced- DABR/1

Research Areas: Neurobiological mechanisms underlying various behaviors including physical dependence, tolerance, developmental and reproductive functions, as well as neuroendocrinology

Molecular, Cellular & Chemical Neurobiology Research Subcommittee - NIDA -B

Administrator- Rita Liu, Ph.D., Basic Sciences Review Br., Rm. 10-42, #301/443-2620
Replaced- DABR/2

Research Areas: Molecular and cellular biology, receptor biochemistry, as well as synthetic, organic, analytical and biophysical chemistry

Neurophysiology and Neuroanatomy Research Subcommittee - NIDA - C

Administrator- Gamil Debbas, Ph.D., Basic Sciences Review Br., Rm. 10-42, #301/443-2620
Replaced- DABR/3

Research Areas: Neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, cardiovascular pharmacology, and neuroscience mechanisms of non-behavioral manifestation of developmental, toxicological, and teratological effects. This subcommittee will also review proposals dealing with pharmacokinetics and metabolism

Basic Behavioral Science Research Subcommittee - NIDA - D

Administrator- William C. Grace, Ph.D., Clinical Epidemiological/Applied Sciences Rev. Br., Rm. 10-22, #301/443-9042
Replaced- DACB

Research Areas: Basic/clinical interface of basic animal models and human laboratory biobehavioral studies including the areas of pharmacology, neuropsychology, cognition, perception and motivation

Treatment Research Subcommittee - NIDA - E

Administrator- Kesinee Nimit, M.D., Clinical Epidemiological/Applied Sciences Rev. Br., Rm. 10-22, #301/443-9042
Replaced- DACB

Research Areas: Behavioral and/or pharmacologic treatment, medication application, and marketed medications clinical trials

Health Service Research Subcommittee - NIDA - F

Administrator- William C. Grace, Ph.D., Clinical Epidemiological/Applied Sciences Rev. Br., Rm. 10-42, #301/443-2620
Replaced- DACB

Research Areas: Health services research including the organization, management, financing, delivery, effectiveness, and impact of the drug abuse health services delivery system

Epidemiology and Prevention Research Subcommittee - NIDA - G

Administrator- Raquel Crider, Ph.D., Clinical Epidemiological/Applied Sciences Rev. Br., Rm. 10-22, #301/443-9042
Replaced- DAPA

Research Areas: Epidemiology, prevention, and studies of risk and protective factors

Human Development Research Subcommittee - NIDA - H

Administrator- Kesinee Nimit, M.D., Clinical Epidemiological/Applied Sciences Rev. Br., Rm. 10-22, #301/443-9042
Replaced- SRCD-G

Research Areas: Pre/postnatal exposure to drugs of abuse in humans. This subcommittee will also review research concerning the maternal/infant dyad, early childhood and adolescent development, and interventions for women and their offspring

AIDS Biomedical and Clinical Research Subcommittee - NIDA - I

Administrator- Mary C. Custer, Ph.D., Basic Sciences Review Br., Rm. 10-42, #301/443-2620
Replaced- DAAR-I

Research Areas: Biochemistry, immunology, virology, and associated areas of neuroscience

AIDS Behavioral Research Subcommittee - NIDA - J

Administrator- Raquel Crider, Ph.D., Clinical Epidemiological/Applied Sciences Rev. Br., Rm. 10-22, #301/443-9042
Replaced- DAAR-2

Research Areas: Epidemiology, prevention, counseling, behavior change, and health services research

HHS Drug and Alcohol Prevention Strategy

The Department has initiated a Drug and Alcohol Prevention Strategy involving all relevant HHS components. A senior-level steering committee, co-chaired by Peter Edelman, Counselor to Secretary Shalala and Nelba Chavez, Administrator, SAMHSA are providing overall guidance to this effort. Dr. Leshner is a member of this steering committee. In addition, two working groups have been established: a Public Affairs Working Group of which Robin Kawazoe and Susan David are members and a Policy/Managed Care Working Group of which Tom Vischi and Robin Kawazoe are members. On the public affairs side, new and expanded collaborative activities among HHS components are being identified and implemented, communications opportunities for the Secretary and other senior HHS officials are being identified, and all planned activities are being closely coordinated. Significant events include release of the latest data from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. This press conference will showcase NIDA's booklets on marijuana for parents and teenagers, NIDA's video for parents on the importance of talking to children about marijuana use, and a poster about marijuana and its effects which was produced through a collaborative effort between NIDA and the Weekly Reader. In addition, the Secretary will be speaking about drug abuse and other public health issues at a number of meetings and events which tentatively include: Partners for Change; a meeting involving State alcohol and drug and mental health directors and State Medicaid Directors, the Entertainment Industries Council, and the American Public Health Association. On the policy/managed care side, efforts are underway to identify, develop, and disseminate information about the costs of drug and alcohol abuse and the cost-benefits of treatment as well as meetings and collaborative activities related to managed care.

Basic Behavioral Sciences at NIDA

Staff in the new Behavioral Sciences Research Branch (Division of Basic Research) have been traveling to a large number of conferences and workshops this spring. They are both spreading the word about NIDA's expansion of research in behavioral sciences (see NIDA NOTES March/April 1995, Volume 10, Number 2) and are also learning about newly emerging areas of basic behavioral research. Drs. Turkkan, Erinoff, Shurtleff and Wetherington have attended scientific meetings of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Behavioral Pharmacology Society, the Association for Behavior Analysis, the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, the American Psychological Society, and the American Psychological Association. BSRB staff also attended a workshop on Neural Modeling Techniques at the University of Maryland College Park in June. Particularly notable was the College of Problems of Drug Dependence meeting in Scottsdale Arizona at which a standing-room-only audience attended a productive question and answer session about the new branch. Also, Dr. Turkkan, Chief of the BSRB, addressed the Executive Board of the American Psychological Society in June in New York City about new directions in the basic behavioral sciences at NIDA (see APS Observer articles in the May/June and July/August issues).

NIDA Resource Center on Health Services Research

NIDA recently awarded a contract to Behavior and Health Research, Inc., to establish and operate a resource center on health services research. The center will compile, summarize, and analyze key data bases and selected literatures, and will convene small meetings of experts to consider key topics in health services research. In the first year of the contract, while it is building its data bases and literature collections, the contractor will make its products available only to NIDA staff. In the second and third years of this three-year contract, the contractor may make some of its resources available to other researchers and practitioners as well. The center will not, however, be a national clearinghouse. Rather, it will help sharpen the focus on key research questions, relevant data bases, and relevant literatures, and it will support meetings and develop materials that can advance research and the utilization of research in this field.

NIDA/Department of Veterans Affairs IAAs

The Medications Development Division and the Department of Veterans Affairs are in the final stages of establishing interagency agreements to select a network of 4-6 NIDA/VA Substance Abuse Medication Development Centers. The objective of this VA network is to implement single and multi-center clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy and safety of novel pharmacotherapeutic compounds (i.e., marketed or investigational) for the treatment of substance abuse and addiction. The primary focus will be on cocaine treatment trials.

The site visit team, consisting of NIDA, DVA and ad hoc committee members, has completed its site inspections. The team visited seven candidate Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs). The purpose of the site visits was to evaluate the programmatic capabilities (i.e., due diligence) as reported in the application proposal and ascertain preliminary budget estimates. In addition, the team was assessing each of the proposed centers specialized services which could act as a center of excellence within the network. The purpose of these centers of excellence would be to provide specialized services to support medication clinical trials throughout the network.

NIDA/CSAT Study on Alternative Pharmacotherapies for Opioid Addiction

NIDA and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will co-sponsor a study of the cost of alternative pharmacotherapies used in the treatment of opioid addiction. The goal of the study is to provide State level program officials, substance abuse treatment providers, researchers, and others with data and information on the cost of various medications in a narcotic treatment setting. NIDA and CSAT will jointly plan and participate in the study. The study will be conducted utilizing an existing CSAT contract and is expected to commence this fall.

NIDA/CSAT Policy Symposia

NIDA and CSAT are co-sponsoring a series of policy symposia on various subjects involving pharmacotherapy for opioid addiction. The goals of the symposia are to provide State level policy and regulatory officials and substance abuse treatment providers with information on state-of-the art research and clinical applications of methadone, LAAM, and investigatory opioid treatment therapies. Symposia have been held for the Northeast Region (Boston, April 28) and the MidAtlantic Region (Princeton, June 15). A third symposium will be held November 16-17 in Tampa, Florida.

Program Announcements/RFAs

Basic Behavioral Sciences RFA

The Behavioral Sciences Research Branch (Division of Basic Research) has issued a Request for Applications that aims to encourage research in diverse areas of the basic behavioral sciences. The RFA is titled "Broadening Basic Behavioral Science Research In Drug Abuse" (RFA: DA-96-001), and appeared in the NIH Guide on August 11, 1995 (Volume 24, Number 29).

The purpose of the RFA is to broaden basic behavioral science research in drug abuse. A key feature of basic behavioral research is the use of laboratory and other comparably controlled procedures to elucidate underlying behavioral mechanisms or processes. As a primary goal, basic behavioral research establishes a scientific foundation for later application in treatment and prevention research. Several important research areas in behavioral sciences such as cognitive, motivational, and social processes as well as health behavior research have the potential to address questions of underlying behavioral mechanisms, determinants and correlates of drug abuse, as well as to better characterize the harmful sequelae of drug use and abuse. These and other basic behavioral science areas currently are underrepresented at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The RFA Letter of Intent receipt date is October 13, 1995, and the deadline for applications is November 14, 1995. The full text of the RFA can be viewed and downloaded from the internet at gopher:// 01.

A new Program Announcement, "Local Population/Area Epidemiologic Research on Drug Abuse," (PA 95-059) was issued in April 1995. The purpose of this PA is to stimulate research on local area epidemiology of drug abuse and its correlates and consequences, with emphasis on methodological research and studies of factors which influence local area patterns of drug abuse.

On May 5, 1995, NIDA released a program announcement (PA 95-057) on "HIV Risk Behaviors, Determinants and Consequences." The propose of this announcement is to stimulate research on the social and other environmental factors that influence the drug injecting and sexual HIV risk behaviors of drug users and their sexual partners.

A new Program Announcement, "HIV Risk Behaviors, Determinants, and Consequences," (PA 95-057) was issued in May 1995. The purpose of this PA is to support a program of research on the social and socio-cultural/environmental factors that influence drug injecting and sexual risk behaviors among drug users and their sexual partners.

A new Program Announcement, "Drug and Alcohol Use and Abuse in Rural America," (PA 95-060) was issued in May 1995 by NIDA as the lead agency, in collaboration with NIAAA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The purpose of this PA is to encourage research on drug and alcohol use and abuse behaviors, on the consequences of such behaviors, and on the delivery of prevention and treatment services in rural America.

A new Program Announcement, "International Research on the Epidemiology of Drug Abuse," (PA 95-072) was issued in June 1995. The purpose of this PA is to stimulate international research on similarities and variations in drug using behaviors, factors influencing the initiation, progression, and cessation of drug abuse, and social and health consequences of drug abuse including HIV transmission.

A new Program Announcement, "Women's HIV Risk and Protective Factors," was issued in August 1995. The purpose of this PA is to support research on the HIV risk and protective behaviors of women and on community-level intervention strategies for women who use drugs and practice sexual risk behaviors which increase the opportunity of exposure to HIV. This includes women who are not-in-treatment IDUs, who use crack cocaine, who are sexual partners of IDUs, and/or who exchange sex for drugs or money.

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