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National Institute on Drug Abuse

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

September, 1997

International Activities

The second international satellite meeting, Building International Research in Drug Abuse, was held in conjunction with the annual scientific meeting of CPDD in Nashville June 19 and 20, 1997. Sponsored by NIDA with support from the U.S. Department of State, the meeting included more than 90 participants from 24 countries interested in or engaged in international collaborative research on drug abuse and drug-related health consequences. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Michael Merson, Dean of Public Health, Yale School of Medicine, who examined the role of drug abuse in the transmission of infectious diseases, especially HIV infection. Presentations were also made by Dr. Alan Lopez, Acting Programme Manager, WHO Programme on Substance Abuse, and Mr. William Dant, Division Director, Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program, Institute of International Education. Former and current INVEST and Humphrey Fellows, other non-U.S. and U.S. scientists, NIDA grantees and NIDA staff Frank Vocci, Moira O'Brien, Lula Beatty and J.C. Comolli moderated and presented in a variety of workshops, oral and poster presentations and panels.

In early June, NIDA announced the selection of drug abuse researchers from France, Mexico and Russia as awardees for the 1997-98 INVEST Research Fellowship. Dr. Olivier Manzoni of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Montpelier, has begun working with Dr. John T. Williams at the Vellum Institute for Advanced Biomedical Research at the Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland. Dr. Guilherme Borges, an epidemiologist with affiliations at the Mexican Institute of Psychiatry, the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the National Council Against Addictions, is working with Dr. Ronald C. Kessler, Professor of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, on an investigation of the relationship between substance use, substance abuse disorders, and suicidal behavior within a cross-national framework. For her INVEST Research Fellowship, Dr. Yulia Lyupina of the State Research Center on Addictions, Moscow, will be working in the laboratory of Dr. James E. Smith of the Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on assessing the role of mu and delta opioid receptors in the nucleus accumbens in the self-administration of heroin by rats.

On June 23, 1997, NIDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hosted a delegation from Vietnam for discussions on the scientific development of the Vietnamese detoxification medication HEA(N)TOS. Dr. Frank Vocci, MDD, provided an overview of MDD's mission and activities, and discussed current treatments for narcotic withdrawal and dependence and current efforts in the development of new treatments. The HEA(N)TOS project is in the preliminary stages; additional data need to be collected before a U.S. scientific review can be carried out.

Drs. Richard Needle and William Bukoski, DEPR, and Dr. M. Patricia Needle, International Program, represented NIDA at the U.S.-Spain Conference on Theoretical and Methodological Advances in the Prevention of Drug Abuse and the Prevention of HIV Infection among Drug Users held July 14-15, 1997 in Madrid. Other members of the U.S. delegation included Drs. Gilbert Botvin, Thomas Dishion, Richard Catalano, Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus, Alan Neaigus, and Robert Booth. The binational meeting was cosponsored by the Plan Nacional Sobre Drogas, the USIA office of the U.S. Embassy, Madrid, and NIDA. Dr. Zili Sloboda, Director, DEPR, presented a paper on the epidemiology of drug abuse among adolescents in the United States and on the most recent findings from NIDA-funded prevention models in May 1997 at the International Symposium on Drug Abuse Prevention and Educationin Taipei, Taiwan. The symposium included presentations on the epidemiology of drug abuse in the United States, Hong Kong and Taiwan, on prevention programs and activities in Hong Kong, the United States, Japan, and Taiwan, and an open discussion about the development of a national epidemiologic and prevention research program for Taiwan.

Dr. Zili Sloboda and Mr. Nicholas Kozel participated in the Border Epidemiology Work Group (BEWG) meeting held August 11-12, 1997 in San Diego, CA. The BEWG is a drug abuse surveillance program with the objectives of providing timely quantitative and qualitative data on current patterns and trends, emerging problems and characteristics of vulnerable populations along the U.S.-Mexico border. The program is in the initial stages of development and is attempting to use a "sister city" approach in assessing the status of drug abuse in the area.

Ms. Ann Blanken, Deputy Director, DEPR, represented NIDA at the 26th meeting of the Pompidou Group of substance abuse epidemiologists June 16-17, 1997 at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. She presented information on recent drug use trends in the United States and on NIDA conferences addressing changing patterns of drug abuse in the United States. The Pompidou group includes representatives from cities in nations in the European Union, Eastern bloc countries of the former Soviet Union, and selected other locations.

Richard H. Needle, Ph.D., M.P.H., Chief, Community Research Branch, DEPR/NIDA, gave a presentation entitled "Overview of Research on HIV Prevention among Injection Drug Users", at the Conference on Theoretical and Methodological Advances in the Prevention of Drug Abuse and the Prevention of HIV Infection among Drug Users, held July 14-15, 1997, in Madrid, Spain.

Mr. Nicholas Kozel cochaired a joint meeting of the East and South Asian Multi-City Epidemiology Work Groups from April 28 - May 1, 1997 in Penang, Malaysia. These Work Groups are composed of researchers from Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Burma, China, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Turkey. This is one of a series of regional programs being developed to provide assessment and surveillance of drug abuse with the objective of integrating regional data into a global perspective. The project is jointly funded by the U.S. Department of State and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and is coordinated by staff of NIDA and the Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Dr. Peter Hartsock, DEPR, participated in the annual meeting of the Federal Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee in June. The meeting focused on collaborative research opportunities with the former Soviet Union. At the meeting, NIDA was recognized as the first NIH Institute to sponsor research on HIV/AIDS and drug use in the Arctic (i.e., Alaska). Dr. Hartsock also represented NIDA at the June annual conference of the Arctic Research Council of the U.S.

Dr. Mario de la Rosa, DEPR and Office of Special Populations, presented a paper at the Third International Conference on Drug Abuse sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and held in Barquesimento, Venezuela, on July 17, 1997. The title of his presentation was "Drug Abuse Behavior Among Hispanic Youth in the United States." Dr. de la Rosa also presented a paper on the drug use/crime connection in a drug abuse symposium sponsored by Carabobo University in Valencia, Venezuela.

Dr. Steven Goldberg, IRP, gave presentations entitled "Food Deprivation Facilitates Acquisition of Nicotine Self-administration," and "Facilitation of IV Nicotine Self-administration in Squirrel Monkeys by Caffeine," at the British Association for Psychopharmacology and Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology meeting, Cambridge, United Kingdom, July 13-18, 1997.

Dr. Jeffrey Witkin, IRP, gave a presentation entitled, "A Functional Role for NMDA Receptors in the Control of Cocaine-induced Convulsions," at the September 7-10, 1997 meeting of the Polish Neuroscience Society Third International Congress, Lodz, Poland. Dr. Witkin also made a presentation entitled "A Role for Dopamine D3 Receptors in PCP and Cocaine Intoxication," at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, on September 15, 1997.

Dr. Maciej Gasior, IRP, presented "Does Chronic Caffeine Exposure Change the Behavioral Effects of Psychostimulants?" at the September 3 meeting of the Lublin Branch of the Polish Pharmacological Society, Lublin, Poland, and "Neuroactive Steroids as a Treatment for Epilepsy: Current Status and Future Directions," at the Symposium on Seizure Phenomena and EAA Receptors at the September 7-10, 1997 Third Congress of the Polish Neuroscience Society, Lodz, Poland.

Drs. Edward Cone and Marilyn Huestis, IRP, attended The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists in Padova, Italy, August 24-28, 1997 and made two presentations.

Drs. Robert Battjes and Jack Blaine, DCSR, represented NIDA at the Steering Committee Meeting of the WHO/NIH Joint Project on the Assessment and Classification of Disablements on June 24, 1997 in Bethesda. The Steering Committee reviewed the progress on the reliability and validity study of substance abuse disorders diagnoses made utilizing the CIDI and the SCAN as well as the progress on development of the disability assessment instruments.

Dr. Dorynne Czechowicz, DCSR, represented NIDA at the WHO Working Group meeting on Identification and Management of Substance Use Problems in Primary Care Settings, held during July in San Francisco. The WHO Programme on Substance Abuse is planning an international study to develop and test a clinical screening instrument to identify harmful psychoactive substance use in primary care settings along with the development and evaluation of brief therapeutic interventions for such problems.

Dr. Peter Cohen of MDD presented a paper entitled "Is "Fault" Relevant to the Goals of Medicine? Alcoholism and Drug Addiction as a Paradigm Case" at the International Conference: "The Goals of Medicine. Priorities for the Future" which was held in June, 1997 and was co organized by the Hastings Center and the Instituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici.

NIDA Deputy Director, Richard A. Millstein, attended the Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport's invitational conference on the Monitoring of Illicit Drugs and Health held on May 22-23, 1997 in Amsterdam.

Dr. Jean L. Cadet presented "Regulation of Cell Death-Related Genes by Methamphetamine in Immortalized Neural Cells" at the International Society for Neurochemistry/American Society for Neurochemistry in Hamilton, Bermuda, July 16-18, 1997.

NIDA, in cooperation with the St. Petersburg State Pavlov Medical University, will cosponsor the bilateral workshop on "Prevention of HIV and Other Infectious Diseases Among Drug Abusers" October 6-8 in St. Petersburg. A delegation of nine NIDA staff and grantees and one person from the Office of AIDS Research, NIH, will join Russian researchers and practitioners to identify existing public health efforts to prevent further spread of HIV and other infectious diseases, including drug abuse treatment; to explore potential research initiatives and public health interventions with practical application to preventing the spread of these diseases; and to develop an action plan for further scientific cooperation between Russian and U.S. drug abuse scientists. The workshop is supported by NIDA, the NIH Office of AIDS Research, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, Moscow.

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