December 22, 2011

The Red Latinamericano de Investigaciones en Drogas (known commonly as REDLA) is making an impact on the sphere of drug abuse and addiction research in Latin America.

A network of academic researchers who share an interest in developing research on the drug problem in Latin America, REDLA is a joint effort between NIDA and the Organization of American States, through their Inter-American Drug Control Commission (CICAD), with the collaboration of the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse.

In the past year, REDLA has completed several analyses highlighting drug abuse and addiction research based on findings shared across national databases. Focusing on such topics as perceptions of risk of drug use, age of onset for alcohol use, and sequence of drug use, REDLA published articles in peer-reviewed journals to broaden the reach of these research findings. One of the reasons why the work is so important says Ms. Marya Hynes Dowell, coordinator of the program at CICAD, is that data findings often remain in the country where they originated. REDLA is an important tool for getting scientific information out to the quorum of researchers in Latin America invested in reducing the social burden of drugs through scientific research.

REDLA also has been actively involved in the peer review of CICAD’s new report on drug use in the Americas, a cross-national analysis of drug use in all 36 CICAD member states. Check the CICAD Web site regularly to learn more about the release date of the report.

Given the success of REDLA, neighboring countries, including Columbia and Argentina, are beginning to build their own national drug research networks using REDLA as a model. In the coming months, CICAD will begin to look for funding to start national networks in Central America.