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National Institute on Drug Abuse -  NIDA NOTES
Methamphetamine Research
Volume 11, Number 5
November/December 1996

Recommendations to Advance Understanding of Methamphetamine

Several gaps exist in the scientific knowledge about the basic pharmacology, toxicity, and treatment of methamphetamine abuse, according to a satellite meeting of experts on the abuse of methamphetamine held in June in Puerto Rico in conjunction with the annual meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. The meeting was sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in collaboration with NIDA.

The knowledge gaps center around questions about how methamphetamine affects the mind and body, its toxicity, how its abuse might be treated, and its role in the transmission of the AIDS virus.

The 28 meeting participants, including a number of NIDA staff members and grantees, made four recommendations:

  • Evaluate current research programs at NIDA to determine how the gaps in knowledge about methamphetamine can be filled by supplementing existing research endeavors rather than relying on new initiatives. The process of awarding new research grants is often too slow to respond to rapid developments in drug abuse trends.

  • Encourage comparative studies between cocaine and methamphetamine to determine if enough similarities exist to warrant using treatment strategies developed for cocaine abuse as treatment for methamphetamine abusers.

  • Emphasize studies on methamphetamine abuse in a small, well-defined population for keys to curtailing the spread through larger population groups.

  • Develop methods for more quickly communicating new treatment and prevention information from researchers to the clinicians who are treating methamphetamine abusers. Because traditional communication via scientific publications may be too slow to keep pace with emerging trends, use of teleconferences, cable television, videotapes, and special technical reports could be considered.


Lukas, S.E. Proceedings of the National Consensus Meeting on the Use, Abuse, and Sequelae of Abuse of Methamphetamine With Implications for Prevention, Treatment and Research. Washington, D.C.: Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, in press.

From NIDA NOTES, November/December, 1996

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