June 16-19, 2006
Scottsdale, Arizona

Executive Summary

Highlights of the 2006 NIDA International Forum–International Trends and Needs in Drug Abuse Research–featured drug abuse research being conducted around the world, international drug control debates, regional and treatment-based drug abuse research networks, Web-based tools for drug abuse scientists, and updates on NIDA research interests and funding priorities. Organized by the NIDA International Program, the meeting was held June 16-19, 2006, in Scottsdale, Arizona, immediately before the Annual Scientific Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD). The NIDA Forum attracted 289 participants from 53 countries.

During the poster session, more than 160 drug abuse scientists from around the world presented their research to NIDA Forum and CPDD participants while representatives from nine NIDA components presented posters summarizing the units’ goals, research interests, international focus, and international funding priorities. Forum participants also received the NIDA International Program supplement to Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The peer-reviewed supplement, Drug Abuse and HIV/AIDS: International Research Lessons and Imperatives, provides an international perspective on research exploring the intersections between drug abuse and HIV/AIDS.

The NIDA International Program inaugurated an award program at the meeting to honor mentors, researchers, binational collaborative teams, and individuals whose efforts support the International Program mission. The 2006 NIDA International Program Awards of Excellence were presented to Robert L. Balster, Virginia Commonwealth University, for excellence in mentoring; Flávio Pechansky, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, for excellence in international leadership; George Woody, University of Pennsylvania, and Edwin Zvartau, Pavlov State Medical University, Russia, for excellence in collaborative research; and Judy McCormally, IQ Solutions, Inc., for special recognition.

Dr. Willem Scholten of the World Health Organization delivered the keynote address. He summarized international drug control policies and described how efforts to prevent abuse and trafficking have begun to interfere with legitimate medical access to controlled substances, such as those used to manage pain, treat drug dependence, and prevent maternal complications during childbirth. He also discussed the public health benefits of treating opioid dependence with methadone and buprenorphine, such as decreased mortality or morbidity (especially for HIV and other blood-borne viruses) and increased social reintegration. Dr. Scholten argued that access to these medically necessary controlled substances is an essential human right and that all countries should eliminate legal impediments to their use. He suggested that drug abuse scientists could improve medical access to controlled substances through research on access to controlled medications, risk analysis, legal restrictions, and evaluation of specific substances.

NIDA International Program Director Dr. Steven W. Gust reviewed the Institute's research portfolio and described how the Institute is strengthening and stimulating research networks, collaborating with other international funding organizations, and creating Web-based research and training tools. He also identified NIDA's international research priorities: linkages between HIV/AIDS and drug abuse, adolescent tobacco use and prenatal tobacco exposure, methamphetamine abuse, inhalant abuse, and drugged driving.

CPDD International Committee Chair Dr. Gabrielle Fischer of Austria introduced the 2006 WHO/NIDA/CPDD International Travelling Fellows, Dr. Konstantyn Dumchev of Ukraine and Dr. Min Zhao of China; reviewed the accomplishments of the 2005 Fellows, Dr. Raka Jain of India and Dr. Paulo Cunha of Brazil; and invited applications for the 2007 awards.

Representatives from NIDA, the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Pan-American Health Organization, the U.S. Department of State, and the National Hispanic Science Network reviewed efforts to address drug addiction and its consequences in Latin America, discussing projects designed to promote regional cooperation on drug abuse research, surveillance, clinical trials, and training programs.

Workshops focused on submitting competitive grant applications, including a mock grant review and updates on electronic submission requirements; Web-based tools for researchers, including NIDA's forthcoming online Manual on Opioid Substitution Pharmacotherapies and the International Society of Addiction Journal Editors online resource for addiction publishing; building a Latin American research network, which was conducted in Spanish; and the UNODC international capacity-building and training network on drug abuse treatment.